Sunday afternoon and we went over the Öresund bridge to Copenhagen airport, on a plane for Helsinki in Finland where our son picked us up for our stay in Helsingfors that is the Swedish name for Helsinki. On my wish list was a trip to Sveaborg – Suomenlinna, to Tallinn in Estonia, to Högholmen – Korkeasarri that is the Zoo in Helsingfors and a walk in Kallio. A perfect Christmas as all my wishes were fullfilled.
On Monday we went by boat to Sveaborg – a sea fortress whose construction started in 1748 by Augustin Ehrensvärd who was a Swedish military officer and an architect. Finland was a part of Sweden until 1809 when Finland was occupied by Russia. Sveaborg means “fortress of Svea”. The name “Svea” is female and a symbol for Sweden. Finland became a sovereign state in 1917 and the fortress was renamed Suomenlinna – “castle of Finland”. Sveaborg – Suomenlinna is a UNESCO world Heritage site. More about Sveaborg – Suomenlinna at wikipedia.
On our way back we also visited Tomasmarknaden – the Christmas market on Senaatintori – Senatstorget below the Orthodox Cathedral.
On Tuesday we went to Tallinn to visit another UNESCO World Heritage Site – the medieval town of Tallinn in Estonia. We went around on the medieval streets on Toompea and looked at the old buildings and visited the Christmas market. We also saw skaters on an ice rink. More about Tallinn on Wikipedia.
On Wednesday we went to Högholmen – Korkeasaari and looked at the animals at the zoo. We were lucky and the manul or pallas’s cats were active so we got a good look at them and at many other animals as well.
Christmas eve found us walking around Drumsö beach in the golden hour before sunset. Drumsö is named Lautasaari in finnish.
On Christmas day we mostly rested before visiting Kallio in the evening and on saturday we took a walk in Kallio before we left Finland. Kallio or Berghäll is a dynamic district where many things happen in Helsinki.
We came home saturday evening on a plane from Vanda – Vantaa airport in Helsinki where the snow had begun to fall a little to Kastrup in Denmark, over the bridge to Hyllie station where the police checked our id-cards before we were allowed to enter the elevator taking us to the street and the bus home. We went the last stretch through the park in pouring rain through big puddles of water. But the weather during the rest of the week has been rather fine even though it has been mostly grey and the sunrise has been at half past ten in the morning and the sunset at circa a quarter past three in the afternoon. But from tuesday on the days began to be longer again.
Finland has officially two languages. The majority speaks finnish and a small minority is Swedish speaking. I have tried to give both names above but for conveníence only used one name on several places and I have not been consistent in my use of either Swedish or Finnish. I am a Swedish speaker myself and have used what feels most comfortable for me to use. But I hope all is clear enough anyhow.
Many thanks to Pontus and Maarit for company and guiding and for a wonderful birthday!