|One of Mr. Putin's airplanes|
|The end of our ride|
|Waiting for a glimpse of the presidents|
|We did walk past this beautiful Orthodox Cathedral|
We stayed at Hotel Katajanokka when we visited Helsinki two years ago. It used to be a county prison. A prison has been on the site since at least 1749. Parts of the building are over 170 years old. The prison was closed in 2002 and converted to a hotel in 2007. The remodeling left many reminders of the old prison. Each of the four wings is open to the top floor with the old iron railing along the openings. A few of the old iron prison doors remain in place in the hallways. In the basement one of the isolation cells was left intact for visitors to enjoy the experience. It is small and windowless as expected. What surprised me was that the pull chain to flush the toilet was not accessible to the prisoner, leaving him to the mercies of the guards.
The rooms are very nice. Most of them are the size of three cells so they are quite spacious and outfitted with all the modern amenities. More windows were cut into the walls to allow more natural light. The restaurant in the basement is cool on the hot summer days and serves excellent food. The prison yard has an outdoor bar where one can also get small plates and snacks on a pleasant afternoon. And the tram stops right outside the front door so we have easy access to public transport even though it is just a short kilometer walk to the main part of town. It’s a good place to stay.