Sunday, June 13, 2010

Our first weekend in Helsinki

Last weekend, was our first weekend in Helsinki.  Saturday was beautiful - around 60 degrees and bright blue skies!  We (read Nathan) thought it would be a great idea to bike into the city center and explore.  I was a good wife and agreed, but as you can tell from this post - I'm not a huge fan of biking.

First we biked to Nathan's work to find the route that he could start taking to work.  It isn't that far from our place AND I found the Alko (wine store) so part one of the excursion got an A+ from me. 

Then onto the city center - it was only about 6.5 km (we probably rode 10 km the whole day) but it seemed like forever - I had obviously gotten out of shape during my month long break in North Carolina!

When we FINALLY got there we decided to break for lunch (thank goodness).  We had a nice little picnic in Esplanade Park which was a great place for people watching.  My question is "Where's the Chikfila?  I want one of those new Spicy Chicken Sandwiches!"

Follow me to Chikfila!

From there we biked down to the harbor and checked out Market Square.  Lots of cool Finnish handmade crafts and food that smelled really tasty - we'll have to come back here for a snack for sure! 

From Market Square we caught a boat over to Suomenlinna/Sveaborg, a sea fortress that was built, starting in 1748, on the islands off the coast of Helsinki.  The boat trip took about 15 minutes and for the first time I got to see how beautiful the Gulf of Finland truly is. 

We just bought the new Sony Cybershot with panarama cabilities and this is our first shot - pretty cool!  (Of course this would have been an awesome feature in Egypt but I going to try NOT to dwell on that!)

When we landed, we followed the blue tourist path around the Suisaari and Kustaanmiekka islands to all the historical sites.  We also ventured off a couple times just to take in the scenery - I definitely want to come back and have a picnic here - all the locals were doing it - probably becauase the views were amazing!

Map of the area so you can visualize where we are.

Suomenlinna Church

Vesikko Submarine

The Courtyard

View from the Fortress

Nathan at Kustaanmiekka ready to kick some commi ass!  (Too bad the guns are still facing east towards Sweden from when Finland was a part of Russia during the 19th century - it was still a good try though honey - the Finnish army might try to recruit you!)

Both pics above are of me at King's Gate - which is the symbol of Suomenlinna and the entrance gateway to the fortress.

Not sure why, but I'm slightly obsessed with getting a good picture of Nathan and I with the flags of the countries we are living in.  Here is our first attempt at geting one with the Finnish Flag... obviously we are going to have to go for round two!:)

I went ahead and pointed out the flag - just in case you couldn't find it!:)  Obviously NOT the money shot!

Theb we took a boat back to the mainland and checked out some of the cool shops.  I am DEFINITELY going to have to spend a day shopping (preferably without Nathan:)).  And finally I begged Nathan to take the train home - he is such a good husband and said yes!  Thank you honey - my butt greatly appreciated it!

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