August 23rd, 2008


Ships were made for cannonades to fire off from inside them

In Finland, word for 'hello' is pronounced 'hey'. It's like I'm Cool Paul all day long. And long it is; the first stars appeared last night after 10pm.

Yesterday, with increasingly blistered feet, Matt, John and I headed off to Suomenlinna, the sea fort of Helsinki.

Short version: it was built by the Swedes to keep the Russians out, but then a tight-wad King didn't keep it well stocked and the Russians laid siege to it and their officers started 'fraternising' with the Swedish officers' wives in Helsinki, so the Swedes gave it up, and the Russians then used it to keep the Swedes away. Then, it was the Tzar's turn not to maintain it and eventually the Poms and Frogs arrived during the Crimean War and shelled it with from 9 kilometers away, while the Russian guns could only shoot 2 kays. Apparently the only winners were the people of Helsinki who started rowing out to the invaders to sell them souvenirs and then laid out the picnic blankets to watch the fireworks. Motto of the story: if you turn out to be an absolute monarch, look after your fortresses. The Russians kept it until 6 months after their revolution, when Germans came to boot the Whites out, and handed it to the Finns, who renamed it because they aren't particularly fond of either the Swedes or the Ruskiis.

In the evening, there was a free concert that all of Helsinki turned up for, after which they all got drunk and trashed their own city. Good times.