Completed in 1969, Temppeliaukio Kirkko aka Rock Church in Helsinki, Finland is awe-inspiring! It reminds me of a space ship and the ceiling resembles a fried egg. Built into the surrounding rock (hence it’s name), it’s one of Helsinki’s most popular tourist sites.
Kampii Chapel of Silence is also definitely an interesting piece of architecture…
According to the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Fortress of Suomenlinna was built in the second half of the 18th century by Sweden on a group of islands located at the entrance of Helsinki’s harbour and consists of 200 buildings, 6 km of defensive walls, and stretches over six separate islands.
The purpose of the fortress was originally to defend the Kingdom of Sweden against the Russian Empire and to serve as a fortified army base. Sandbanks, barracks and various other buildings were added during the 19th-century Russian period.
After Finland gained independence in 1917, the fortress was renamed Suomenlinna (or Fortress of Finland) and served as a garrison and a harbour. The military role of the fortress declined after World War II, and in 1973 the area was converted for civilian purposes. Since then, buildings have been renovated to serve as apartments as well as workspaces, to house private and public services, and for cultural purposes.
Today, Suomenlinna is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Finland and constitutes a district of Helsinki with 850 inhabitants.
Jing, Paul, and I boarded the 30 minute ferry to the Fortress.
On June 14th, my birthday, Jing and I left our Airbnb in Sibiu, Romania at 4:45am to walk 1/3 of a mile to the train station to catch our 5:25am train bound for Bucharest. It was a six hour train ride and we met a nice Romanian man that upon learning it was my birthday, gave me a sealed bag of coffee and helped me with my luggage when we arrived in Bucharest. He also negotiated with the taxi drivers to find the best rate to take us to the airport for our flight to Helsinki. We encountered many rude people in service oriented jobs while in Romania, but like anywhere, there are people like him that make up for it!
Our flight left at 3:00pm (15:00) and arrived at 7:40pm (19:40) in Helsinki. We then took a 40 minute bus into central Helsinki, and walked 15 minutes to our beautiful Airbnb, arriving after 9:00pm (21:00). The apartment is owned by a very special lady named Pirkko, who was there to welcome us. Here is the living room…
The dining room…
and the kitchen where Jing was making us something to eat for dinner later the next day…
This Airbnb was by far the best-stocked place I’ve stayed at and Pirkko is such a sweet and generous person! She knew ahead of time it was my birthday and had prepared a delicious cake for me and had a bottle of champagne. She also let us use her bicycles while we were there and took us to the harbor three days later when we left by overnight ship for St. Petersburg, Russia. Hugs to Pirkko!
Anyway, the following day, Jing and I set off on the bicycles to explore Helsinki…
This statue is hilarious!