Helsinki Summersound Festival and Suomenlinna

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July 27th 2012
Published: July 31st 2012
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While waiting for the trip to Helsinki Summersound Festival, I also decided to see Suomenlinna fortress and looked up information about it. The Unesco World Heritage list came to the fore and so I had an idea that the aim of my trips could be to see all the almost a thousand sites (enough for my lifetime, I guess, if not for several ones). It is true that I have already seen a lot of them, such as St. Petersburg, Kazan Kremlin, Yaroslavl City centre, Altai Mountains, Moscow Kremlin and Red Square, Riga centre, Baku Icheri Sheher and some others. But later I realized that I’ll have to be selective about the sites, because, for instance, not all sites could be easily accessible and imagine how much money would that require.

Helsinki Summersound Festival was all about electronic dance music lasting three days beginning in the evening (for myself) and ending at 01.30 at night. On the first day, from 18.00 till 01.30. There would be some interesting djs.

Day one

I reached Helsinki by a small bus paying about 20 Euros; the drive was not quite comfortable and land border seemed so inconvenient as compared to any airport passport control; but it was fine weather, sunny and hot in Helsinki and the Stadion hostel, located in the Olympic Stadium, gave me an unusual feeling to be in the sports heart of Helsinki, this vibrant and attractive city, though having a comparatively small number of sights. It’s a city I will be regularly returning to. The hostel has a big canteen with free wi-fi, the room was also big and spacious but its door did not have a lock so thieves might find this an advantage. I reached the stadium by a tram from Rautatieasema; after several stops, the driver decided not to go to the final destination but to turn back to the centre, making me walk the remaining hundreds of meters in the heat (the next tram came just in a second, but I noticed it too late). At first, the driver made an annunciation in Finnish, which I naturally understood, but after a couple of minutes he repeated it in English. I’m going to study Finnish again.

At 8 o’clock in the evening I went to the party; there was a long queue because tickets were exchanged for bracelets; the venue was Messukeskus; two arenas of interest, one playing house music under a tent and the other, a large exhibition hall, intended for Hardwell, Tiesto on the first day and for trance djs on the next two days (I did not like the house music much and Tiesto, though playing a banging selection of tracks, better spray a couple of more melodic tunes throughout his sets). At 1.00 I went away.

Day two

I translated the whole day and did not eat anything almost till half past five, save juice and cookies, then bought a sandwich, ham, and yoghurt and ate it on my way to the party. I loved the area, it was so green, quiet, and peaceful, especially in the evening. There was little traffic on the road and I occasionally met cyclists and a few pedestrians only. I listened to Richard Durand, W&W, Andy Moor. Crowds of people outside were seemingly doing nothing, just eating, drinking, smoking, chatting, or anything, seemingly taking no interest in music. House music seemed more popular but I guess people were also waiting for Marcus Schulz and Dash Berlin who were playing later but I missed them. Weather was colder in the evening and the sun disappeared.

Day three

This was a day of reviving the impression of city sights; I went on foot along Mannerheimintie to Opera via Finlandin Talo to Rautatieasema, saw the two cathedrals, and bought a boat ticket to Suomenlinna – it was my primary sightseeing aim on this journey. Somehow the urban atmosphere made me feel energetic, while the fortress, though rather crowded with tourists, was a retreat from the metropolis. The fortress was included in the world heritage list as an example of military architecture of its time, and it was of importance for three different countries, Russia, Sweden, and Finland. It is possible to walk inside the fortress walls, dark and damp with quite low ceilings where one could imagine getting lost or being imprisoned for political views or writing piercing sarcastic verses about the King or what else one could imagine… Just imagine if someone decided to hide there and scare you.

The fortress occupies a large area on several islands and includes all sorts of establishments and entertainments like museums, cafes, parks, bastions, cannons, etc. It is an impressive place. There is a very small beach between granite rocks where plenty of people bathed and took the sun on rocks, I did the same but the water was refreshingly cold.

I returned to the hostel risking a free ride on the tram, saving 2.70 Euros for food (I had only 13 Euros left).

The party continued with Chris Lake and Axwell but I was not dancing until nine because I was fed up with house music; Armin Van Buuren took charge of the decks for me to enjoy some uplifting trance; people were very cheerful, shouting, jumping, so did I.

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party reaches its summit

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