Posted: June 30 2019
Vesikko is a World War 2 submarine which has been turned into a museum on the island of Suomenlinna, just off Helsinki, Finland.
If The Suomenlinna Sea Fortress was the highlight of my trip to Helsinki, then the highlight of Suomenlinna was undoubtedly the Vesikko submarine - a WW2 submarine, restored and turned into a museum.
Normally I would have baulked at the thought of such a cost (7€) for an entrance fee (Military museum entrance inc.) not to mention the fact that I gave up doing museums a long time ago, after visiting the one in Shanghai. It was the little index captions displayed with text such as this is a spoon, cup and so forth that killed my enthusiasm.
But this was neat. Very neat. When would I get another chance to go inside a sub?
Previously the Vesikko was known by its manufacturing code, CV 707 and belonged to the German Navy. It was purchased by Finland in 1936 and was given the name Vesikko, after the European mink.
In what is known as WW2, Finland fought in 3 wars:
The Winter War (1939-40) and The Continuation War (1940-44) against the Russians and the Lapland War (1944-45) against the Germans.
Mostly she was on patrol in the Gulf of Finland, protecting convoys. Her only hit was against the Soviet freighter, Vyborg.
After WW2 Finland was no longer allowed to have submarines. All were sold off as scrap except the Vesikko and after being left to decay, restoration work began and was finally completed in 1973.
Inside a sub is basically like a very narrow corridor. At the front end are the torpedoes.
And immediately after comes the crews quarters. 4 sets of bunks, sleeping 8, 4 on either side. The beds are tiny but I was informed that the average height of a submariner was just 1m67.
The little cupboards were for personal effects.
Then you have the officers quarters which was where the navigation and such like went on with the periscope and radio room.
Then came the engine room
And finally at the rear, 4 more bunks. The toilet area was just before the bunks and is now used as the exit. When submerged, crew members had to move around to compensate for someone using the bathroom to maintain stability.
How to get to Suomenlinna:
HSL (Helsinki Region Transport Authority) run daily ferries throughout the year from the market square to Suomenlinna.
JT-Line run ferries in the summer months only
I bought a 1-day travel card for 9€ as issued by HSL (Helsinki Region Transport Authority) from the Cheap Sleep Hostel. A single trip ticket costs €2.90 so a one day card saves you cash as I needed to get to and from the hostel.
Where to stay:
I stayed at the Cheap Sleep Hostel which is quite a ways from anywhere but it was a good place. Big breakfast buffet included. BUT there is a YHA on Suomenlinna, and had I known about it, I would have stayed there a night.
This post appeared on my other, now-defunct travel blog and is based on my travels to the Baltics in August 2018. Extra info and links have been added to this repost. Thank you.
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