After breakfast we had a quick chat about what we would do sans luggage and decided to cancel our Air Bnb and stay another night at the lovely F6 Hotel instead. This proved to be the right decision as the staff were excellent and helped us annoy Finnair enough for them to later deliver our luggage.
After breakfast, buying clothes was on the cards for our first day. After a quick Google search we found out that second-hand clothing stores are popular in Finland and our closest “UF Store” was a 5 minute walk away. 15 minutes and €77 later we emerged with two winter coats, 1 scarf, 2 beanies, 2 shirts and 1 jumper. We were now ready to take on a 1 degree day in Helsinki.
Before heading to the nearest shopping centre stock up on a much needed change of underwear, a quick check of the luggage tracker told us that our bags were on the next flight out of Amsterdam based on this information we would have them by that evening. Excellent. Instead of wasting time buying necessities we headed out to explore the city. We stumbled upon the ferry terminal to Suommenlina and the Helsinki Cathedral all within a 5 minute walk from our hotel – the two places we had on our list to visit that day.
After a visit to the Cathedral and a much needed warm cup of coffee we took a ferry over to Helsinki’s island fortress, Suommenlina. Suommenlina has a significant history in Helsinki. Firstly it was built as a defense for the city against Russia during Swedish rule in 1748 until the Russian takeover In 1808 where it was kept as a Russian navy fortress. After Finland’s independence in 1917 it became a POW camp until 1919. It served as a naval base throughout World War’s I and II. It wasn’t until the 1960s that Suommenlina became a tourist destination and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
By the time we had finished walking around the island, the sun had completely disappeared behind cloud and it felt like the temperature had plummeted (it actually only dropped to about 0). A trip back to the mainland called for Poro (Reindeer) Burgers in Market Square.
Later that evening only one suitcase was delivered. It happened to be Ben’s suitcase which was great because his case contained a bottle of wine. A call to Finnair told us that Mary’s suitcase was still in Amsterdam and had no flight allocated to it. This is not ideal when you’re heading to arctic conditions the next day.
A quick walk outside for dinner and Mary’s first snow shower kept our spirits high. The next day we woke up to discover that the missing case had been delivered just in time for our departure to the Finnish Lapland.