Thursday, 12 June 2014

Visit Helsinki - visit Lonna!

For someone who's used to living her suitcase (at least mentally) always packed and ready to go and who's spent so much of her time (especially summers) abroad it is rather peculiar to find herself in Finland so all the time. But it does enable exploring, making new discoveries and falling even deeper in love with my chosen home town. And in summer this place rocks!

Visit Helsinki invited a bunch of bloggers to get to know the island of Lonna located in the archipelago in front of Helsinki. We started the evening off sailing on this schooner. S/V Linden positively oozes old-fashioned elegance.

The Hyacinth Bucket within could barely contain her excitement about the evening as it was: "Do wear something nautical, dear", I heard myself instructing sartorially ever so hapless Boy Next Door. "We're going boating!"

In addition to artsy-fartsy closeups of ropes, the chilled rosé and catching up with fellow bloggers we found time to enjoy the spread, too as we learned about our destination for the evening.

The tiny island of Lonna, previously in military use has an interesting history that I, offspring of a military family, was curious to learn about. As was The Boy Next Door, also the product of military family.

I found these tracks leading to the gates from the harbour a bit creepy. It's kind of hard to escape the obvious concentration camp associations, right? The end of the tracks, the end of all hope... But nope - these have a lot... well, merrier story to tell. They were used for transportation of mines!

I also learnt that some ships need to be demagnetized. You know, degaussed. Which is what the island was used for at its most recent phase. Because of those very mines. Not getting one of those boats, you know. Sounds like far too much work.

There are plans to turn Lonna into a summer paradise for the whole family to enjoy. There will be play areas for children and there's even station where you can build your own bark boat (!). For those of you born in the 90's: that's how we, the generations born before the Nintendos used to entertain ourselves. You know, back in the 19th century. 

The old mine storage will be open next year as a venue that can host events of upto 200 people.

And I mean - just look at it. Could it be any more adorable? The restauration of the area continues as Helsinki is converting this into an archipelago oasis just a hop, skip and a 10 minute ferry ride away from the city centre. More of the historic buildings are finding new uses and everyone's ideas are welcome!

From mid-June onwards the cafe and restaurant will be open during during the week, too (provided there are no storms and gale force winds!) and get this: they actually sell ready packed picnic hampers! Awwww!

Restaurant takes reservations, but some tables will always be set aside for walk-ins, too. Emphasis is on local, organic produce whenever possible.

On the way back it was time to enjoy the view of Helsinki. It is so beautiful, this city of mine. Especially in the summer, seen from the sea. Helsinki  ♥

For the schedule for the ferry to Lonna please see here.

*In cooperation with Visit Helsinki*




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