This week I am in Helsinki, Finland with a group of North Carolina teachers. We are studying Finnish culture and history. Right now I am adjusting to a seven hour time shift and sunlight at 3:30 in the morning. Finland is a beautiful place to visit. Today I visited the Suomenlinna fortress which is on an island a small ferry ride from Helsinki. The fortress was started in 1768 as a response to the increasing power of Russia.
It's a gorgeous site with a lot of history. It was nicknamed the Gibraltar of the North. Before the 19th century, it was controlled by Sweden while during the 19th century it was under Russian rule. Finland became independent in 1918. On this island is a school of about 70 students. Unfortunately, staff and students are on holiday. I would have liked to visit inside, but there were renovations being completed. Funny how you can never quite leave school!