Unfortunately, our choice of ATM found on Google maps was much further away than we thought, to the cruise ship terminal where the Silja vessel above had recently arrived, thus making our journey a literal uphill struggle against swarms of disembarking foot passengers. But money was withdrawn, and we made it back down to the ferries with about a minute to spare before it departed.
Immediately after departure we went past the M/S Viking Gabriella on the other side, which brought back memories: this is the exact ship me and my friends got when doing our crazy trip around Europe last summer. I keep swearing to Helen that I’ll take her on the Stockholm to Helsinki overnight cruise one of these days. I will, really I will.
Our first stop was the island of Lonna – pronounced Lonnnnnna, apparently. About 15 minutes ride across the gloriously flat waters, we get off on the small pier to which a disused train line runs.
I think it’s the smallest bona fide island I’ve ever been to. Can’t remember what its purpose used to be, but I know it’s something military. All the islands here are, pretty much. But these days Lonna is mostly visited because it has a restaurant, bar, cafe... and a sauna. Of course it has a sauna. Even Burger King in Helsinki has a sauna.
We get breakfast. Helen has some cheese and tomato and something waffle; I have reindeer with horseradish sauce on bread.
Over on Kuninkaansaari is basically more of the same - derelict military buildings, hilly gravel tracks, lots of trees, hardly any wildlife. There are a few more people on this bit including some annoyingly hyperactive children, one of whom regrets sprinting down a hill when later he has to climb a much longer, steeper one.
This cute sign appears, next to someone’s house. There is one private dwelling here, and a sign written by the owners explaining how they’ve lived here for 40-odd years and act as de facto guides and caretakers, but please respect their privacy and don’t walk through their garden. Indeed, today a lot of them are out having a barbecue and why not.
Weaving round and up hill to the last set of munitions stores, we’re met with a disappointing dead end and have to retrace our steps. We’re kinda done with this place now, and head back to the unexpected cafe bar for some expensive cheap lager in plastic glasses.
To accompany our frankly delicious beer, we bought two slices of pizza. Unbeknownst to us, it was salmon pizza. Who puts salmon on pizza? The Finns, apparently. I reckon it works, but that’s a bit of a guess because to be honest it was a pretty nasty slice.
A man ran from left to right in front of us, with possibly the most ungainly gait I’ve ever seen. And across the way was a moody seagull.
The route involves going past two cathedrals. This is one of them.
Actually, just behind here there’s a bit of town where I remembered there’s this, like, strip of eateries and stuff next to the water. We explore, and all the ones that sell food are shut.
So, into the town centre we go, past the main cathedral. Hefty.