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May 30, 2021

Finland: Helsinki, the View from Above

Helsinki Finland

Searching Google for the best view in relatively flat Helsinki led us to the Ateljée Bar on the top floor of the vintage-looking Solo Sokos Hotel Torni.  We arrived at the hotel around sunset and took a combination of the elevator and a narrow spiral staircase to the top.  After the purchase of a couple of cocktails to justify our presence we took a table and waited for the sun to set. 


May 28, 2021

Finland: Helsinki, Central Library Oodi

Central Library Oodi

Helsinki’s Central Library Oodi had been opened for less than a year when we visited in September of 2019.  Located in the Töölönlahti district near the Helsinki Music Centre and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art the award winning structure is impossible to overlook.  Created by the Finnish architecture firm ALA the exterior shell of the building is unexpected.  Using 99 miles of Finnish spruce timber the library undulates in manner that is both organic and ultra-modern.  Its arched structure is reminiscent of a wave or a ship but it’s not really like either.  The Oodi Library is undoubtedly will be influential, “a calling card for Finnish architecture”, as some would say.


Finland: Helsinki


On our final morning in Tallinn Estonia we loaded our rental car and drove the short distance to the Tallinn’s port.  At the port we checked in and when directed drove into the bowels of “Megastar”, our cross Baltic ferry to Helsinki Finland.  As Baltic ferries go the route from Tallinn to Helsinki is short:  There’s a mere 50 miles of water between the two Baltic coast capitols.  Two hours after we drove up the metal ramp into “Megastar” we arrived in Finland.  If you are keeping track, Finland was our dog Gigi’s 26th country visited.


May 26, 2021

Estonia: Tallinn, Seaplane Harbor

Filed under: 2019 Baltic, Estonia, Europe, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 9:49 pm

Inside the hanger at Seaplane Harbor

Located within Tallinn’s Baltic port area is Seaplane Harbor.  What was once a hangar for seaplanes in the area Peter the Great’s Naval Fortress is now part of the Estonian Maritime Museum.  It is a short trip from Tallinn’s center to the museum, making it an easy visit.


Estonia: Tallinn, Hotel Viru and KGB Tourism

Filed under: 2019 Baltic, Architecture, Estonia, Europe, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 9:33 pm

Becky runs afoul of the authorities in Tallinn.

In 1969, when Tallinn was then part of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Soviets contracted Repo Oy*, a Finnish construction company, to build a skyscraper hotel in the city.  The choice of a company from outside the Iron Curtain seems a bit odd.  After all the Finns fought the Soviet Union during World War II just 25 years prior and the country had been receiving covert aid from the west during the Cold War.  Finland and the Soviet Union were hardly allies.  Nevertheless Finland was then a formally neutral buffer state between the Eastern and Western Blocs and the Soviets were behind on the technology to build a modern high-rise hotel.  And thus the Soviet Union deemed the use of Finnish contractors to do work in Estonia as acceptable.


May 24, 2021

Estonia: Tallinn

Tallinn Estonia

Tallinn on Estonia’s northern coast was our final stop in the Baltic States.  It could be argued that we saved the best for last as this former Hanseatic League city truly is a gem.


May 23, 2021

Estonia: Living on the Edge

Filed under: 2019 Baltic, Estonia, Europe, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 9:17 pm

Framing Tartu

Scattered through South Estonia are 28 large “National Geographic” yellow steel frames.  The rotatable yellow rectangles are part of an installation from the “Living on the Edge” project, a name that refers to South Estonia’s location between Russia and Europe.  The idea is that passers-by will see a nearly six-meter high National Geographic frame, stop, look around, and take pictures.  Once they see a couple, they will then want to seem them all.


Estonia: Tartu, the Cathedral

Filed under: Architecture, Dog, Estonia, Europe, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 12:53 am

The remains of the Brick Gothic Tartu Cathedral and the attached more modern museum

The ruins of the Tartu Cathedral sit on a hill overlooking the city’s historic center.  Construction of a cathedral at this location is believed to have begun in the second half of the 13th Century.  A couple of centuries later, at the end of the 15th Century, the Brick Gothic Tartu Cathedral was finished. 


Estonia: Tartu, the Upside Down House

Gravity challenged hand washing.

We made a visit to Tartu’s Upside Down House.  It’s a classic tourist trap, but a fun one nonetheless, especially if you bring a camera.  Apparently there are more of these misaligned maisons being built in other locations, so you too may be able to turn the world upside down in a place near you in the not too distant future.


May 22, 2021

Estonia: Tartu, Struve Geodetic Arc

German-born Russian scientist Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve set out in 1816 to establish the exact size and shape of the earth.  To do this he established a chain of survey triangulations stretching from extreme north of Norway to the Black Sea in the south.  Completed in 1855 the survey crossed through ten countries and covered 2,820 km.  The original arc consisted of 258 main triangles with 265 main station points.

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