I started today with a tiny revelation: the easiest way to get to Lidl for my fresh breakfast bread is to walk down the road and along instead of up the road and along as the bottom end of the road is flat. Then I wanted to cross some more things off my to-do list.
First, Uspensi Cathedral. The 7 tram takes me directly from just up the road to Senate Square and then it’s a short walk across to the cathedral. This one was more what I expected. It’s small, both cathedrals are very small, but it was decorated more or less how I’d expected. Lots of saints, lots of lettering, lots of patterns and colour. Then I walked back up to the nearest tram stop and took the 4 north to the Church in the Rock. I knew it was out of the city centre but I hadn’t realised it’s only three or four stops from the central station. It’s not exactly in a cave, as some places would have you believe. There’s a big dome of rock in the middle of a square with Art Deco apartment blocks on each side and the church has been dug out of that, with a big copper dome over the top held up by concrete supports. Yes, it’s in the rock but effectively – at least as far as the rock is concerned – it’s entirely open at the top.
I took the tram back to town for a little souvenir shopping, mostly for postcards and stickers for my scrapbook although I also invested in a sauna cover of my very own. Then I walked down Esplanade and stopped in the park for an ice cream. When I’d eaten that, I continued down towards the harbour where there were boats doing sightseeing tours. Well, that was on my list so I got on the first one, a city tour leaving at 1.30. The inside was pretty much full but there were only two or three people sitting outside on the top deck and the ladies who were selling tickets assured us that the clouds were disappearing and they had blankets. I claimed a blanket before I’d even picked a seat and was glad I had it. It was chilly on the water, even before we set off, and we hadn’t left the harbour area before it started to rain. Well, I’d say “‘drizzle”‘ but the few raindrops were the big heavy kind. Not enough for those of us on deck to take cover but enough for us to pull the blankets over our heads. By the time we’d made our way out past Sirpalesaari and seen Loyly in the distance, the rain had stopped and we could feel the warm sun again. We went past Suomenlinna, under the new bridge and past Laajasalo and Kulosaari and then did a big circle around Mustikkamaa, the leafy island where most of the embassies live, past Korkeasaari and round to Katajanokka. From Korkeasaari yesterday I’d seen a fleet of large ferries moored off Katajanokka and wondered about them. Now I discovered they’re actually Finland’s icebreakers, who don’t have a lot to do this time of year. As we headed back into the harbour, a freezing wind came up. I wished I had another blanket. Ten more blankets. Funny how the temperature skyrockets when you’re back on dry land.
I walked home (I hadn’t measured any walking today and needed my 2km) to finish off my bread and butter, dump my shopping and pick up my jacket ready for that trip to Suomenlinna I keep saying I’ll do. This was helped immensely by the walk back from the harbour only being 1.9km. I needed to go out to do my extra mileage! So at last I made it to Suomenlinna for a proper late afternoon/evening there, without the worry about the wind warning or the giant threatening cloud. I sketched the swimming bay, ate a korvapuusti I bought yesterday, panicked that the Tallinn/Stockholm ferry was going to plough into the island at speed, finally found the King’s Gate, discovered that Strava didn’t record my walk around the island properly and finally got the 8.40 ferry back. Then it’s five or ten minutes up the road to the tram stop, ten minutes for the tram to arrive and it delivered me to the top of the road.
Tomorrow I need to be on the airport train by about 1pm so I’m going to leave my luggage at the station again and decide what to do later.