Friday, August 18, 2006

Fandom Friday

In today’s program was Fandom Friday, a guided Helsinki walking tour for the fen.

Waiting in the hotel lobby for the tour to start

We had some surprise guests for the first part of the tour: the honored guests VanderMeers and Robson joined us for the walk to Paasitorni and a tour of the con site.

The group standing in the Kaisaniemi park
First stop: the Kaisaniemi park.

Sari and the group walking through the park
Sari leading the group to the restaurant Kaisaniemi.

The tour group walking towards the entrance to Paasitorni
—It’s only a model.
—Shh! Besides, it can’t be, because we went inside.

Almost empty tables in the lobby
The place was still relatively quiet.

There was a special treat for the tour: we got to go up to the tower, and enjoy the view of Helsinki from there.
Standing at the top of the tower A view from the tower Taking pictures of Helsinki from the tower Helsinki
And it was pretty.

Looking at the world peace statue, Sari explaining
Sari Polvinen, our tour guide, kept us amused with historical facts and anecdotes about Helsinki.

Military Parade marching by
Just a little parade we arranged in honor of our friends from abroad.

An armored vehicle driving by
Finncon takes its security seriously, make no mistake!

Helsinki Cathederal, with lots of people standing on the stairs
The Helsinki Cathedral.

Coming in through the wall of the fortress
We took the ferry to Suomenlinna island, where we had a short tour of the former fortress, and then had lunch at the brewery restaurant there.

A group photo of the participants, standing in front of some old guns
Some participants had dropped off along the way, but most made it to Suomenlinna and back to the mainland again—even after some very curious loitering (which to the untrained eye might well have looked like a mad dash to make it to an earlier boat).

We took another route back to the city center, and ended the tour there. People went on their separate ways to bookshopping, to the hotel, or just wondering around on their own. Olav, Anders and I decided to have a beer on a nearby outside pub.

Really big thanks to the local guides Sari and Otto who made the tour a success with their knowledge and personal anecdotes! I had fun and hope to do a tour like this in another place at some future con too!

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