from st. petersburg, we took a (much nicer) train to helsinki, which was about six hours away. i was really amazed at how much the landscape reminded me of northern minnesota. : ) we only had two days to see the city, but it was pretty fun. brief impressions: russian influence (the downtown core was built to resemble st.petersburg); awesome streetcar network; small, walkable city. helsinki’s actually not very old, as scandinavian capitals go…it’s only been a “capital” city since 1809. although we didn’t have much time, we did get to see some really cool architecture (finlandia hall, the church in the rock, assorted aalto + saarinen buildings…) and a little bit of the city and around. one of the very first things we ran into on our first day was this great harborfront market:

right on the waterfront!

cute tables for sitting and eating/giant woks of food…i had salmon and potatoes : ) yum!

it was pretty happening…not a bad way to spend a sunday morning! : )


more market photos: craft stands/finnish reindeer!/fruits and berries/assorted produce

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after eating delicious market fish and potatoes, we took a boat to suomenlinna (the one activity that had been almost unanimosuly recommended by my friends who have been to helsinki). suomenlinna an inhabited sea fortress on a collection of islands outside helsinki’s harbor. this was a really fun mini-excursion and i’ll add my recommendation to the others…! out on the islands, you can hike, picnic, fly a kite, see the fortress, get some ice cream…and it was beautiful to see the old fortress ruins with helsinki in the distance.

a perfect day for flying kites : )

old military housing (?) and a bridge between islands

an old bunker (with a green roof!)

beautiful tree/suomenlinna harbor

bikes at the visitors center (though we did see one car on one of the islands…)

aaron investigates a cannon… : )

suomenlinna land- and seascape

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and last, but not least, the helsinki slide show!

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