This morning I get to experience the inside of Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral and it is just as magnificent as the outside. A few moments of being awed and I descend a small hill to Market Square.
As if sensing my temporary confusion, a gentleman approaches. In less than five minutes we are sitting together on a ferry and he is drawing me pictures as we sail away to Suomenlinna.
By the time our journey is over I have a better understanding of Finland and Suomenlinna.
I also now know what that “strange” Finnish fish pastry is, “Kala .. Kukko”.
However, I have a planned detour thanks to my fellow ferry passenger who was so kind to give me some island tips.
This island which is one of eight is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and holds an important part of Finland's history. There is a small amount of inhabitants here year round but this place really becomes popular during the summer months.
Except for an occasional almost freezing wind near portions of elevated coastline it is beautiful and exciting to enjoy this island. The views it gives from the ocean to the mainland are amazing.
Canons from years gone by still stand guard over the sea routes to the mainland but thankfully their glory days are long over. Although signs of Finland war history remains it is nice to be able to relish the tranquility this island now offers.
As I leave Suomenlinna after a few hours of climbing hills and navigating tunnels, I can see how it is so easy to spend a whole summer day here.
With souvenir magnets at 5 Euros, I do not see any real bargains here and move on. Amazingly, a block away in a store I find better souvenir deals like three magnets for 12 Euros.
In a few hours I will leave Finland but there is one more site that I am interested in seeing. About a 20 minute walk away I find a few moments to relax as inspirational music fills the otherwise still air.
Sitting inside of Temppeliaukio, a church carved out of rocks with mostly natural lighting, I reflect on how fortunate I am to see another part of the world and to experience another culture from its people to its food and its religion. My hope is always that more will get to do the same.
Estonia, here I come.