A Travellerspoint blog

Helsinki - Monday, 8 September 2014

Visit the open air museum of Seurasaari

sunny 19 °C

Had a great sleep. The bed is so comfortable and the pillows are DIVINE! Big and soft and you just sink into them and float away. It was good to have a sleep in and a relaxed morning. We are meeting at 10.30 am for our visit to the open air museum of Seurasaari.

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A few of the guys are still sick. Harry left the table last night in a huge hurry as soon as his food was placed in front of him. He just made it to the room in time! Peter has been in a huge sweat all night and the bed is sopping. We have never been with a group that has been so sick. Thank goodness for Travel An, but it won't protect us from colds and flu.

My cousin and her husband are in Helsinki on a huge cruise ship and my golfing friend from Canberra is transitting Helsinki today on her way to Singapore. Small world!

This morning we visited an open air museum of old Finnish houses from the 16th century. The homes were built of wood and were very spartan. No electricity for cooking or heating and with such long cold winters, a lot of time was spent in the house. The women would cook and sew and the men would make things out of wood. The animals lived in the house too.

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This is a Lutheran church. What tales the guide told us. The seats were as hard as a rock. Sometimes the sermons went for six hours. A person was employed to keep the congregation awake by ringing a bell in their ear or poking them with a stick. There were also two sets of stocks at the church that were used for punishing the congregation for such stupid things as a woman wearing a dress to church that was too fancy or not being able to pass a reading exam on the bible.

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Then we went to the markets and walked around there for a long time, both outdoor and indoor. The markets sold really good quality stuff, all in euros, but it was a bit expensive. Helsinki is a very lovely city, especially the harbour area.

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This statue on the harbour needs no explanation except to say that it is probably the most photographed thing in Finland! It is a very controversial piece of art and the population is quite divided on its artistic value. I think it's pretty cute. It's nowhere near as bad as Canberra's Centenary Whale hot air balloon. That was atrocious!

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We had lunch in the indoor market, bratwurst sausage and sauerkraut and a beer. It was nice.

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Then we caught the ferry over to Suomenlinna Island. It was 5 euros each for a return ticket and there was no one in the ticket box, only an automatic ticket machine. It only took coins and we didn't have any and we didn't want to put our credit card in a machine so we just hopped on, hoping we could buy a ticket on the other side. There was no one selling tickets on the other side either or for that matter, checking them, so we just walked ashore. Same deal coming back! So we got a free ride to Suomenlinna Island.

We walked for miles on the island, right over to The King's Gate. Had a coffee and then caught the ferry back and we were back in the hotel by 5pm. The weather is lovely, warm, sunny and about 20 degrees.

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Going for dinner tonight to a Turkish restaurant with William and Clare.

We went to a Turkish Meze Restaurant within easy walking distance from the hotel. The food was fresh and very nice and we shared a bottle of red Spanish wine. It cost 50 euros per couple which was quite reasonable. Chatting at dinner, it turned out that William and Phil went to the same high school, Ashfield Boys High, but as William is 7 years younger than Phil, they weren't there at the same time. Small world!

Posted by gaddingabout 23:39 Archived in Finland

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