Tuesday, July 25, 2006

2692 Trip Tale: Visiting Suomenlinna, the Fortress

When Peter the Great built St. Petersburg in 1703 so he'd have a port on the Baltic, the Swedes decided to fortify Finland (which it ruled) and built Suomenlinna on the islands. The fortress was lost to the Russians in 1808. It fell into disrepair, but now is a historical preservation site with cobblestone and brick streets, old walls, ramparts, cannons, a working dock for repair of wooden ships, a museum, art shops and a nice little town library. About 800 people live on the islands, but at one time it was quite a bit larger. The ferry there is part of Helsinki's city transportation so it is very accessible and a delightful spot for either tourists or residents.

With the long summer days, the island was filled with picnickers and families, sunbathing even as late as 8:30 p.m. We had dinner at a lovely white tablecloth restaurant called Walhalla, Charr with lobster mousse.

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