Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finnish postboys have capital legs

From Riga, Reval, and Petersburg, steamers rim to Helsingflors, a watering-place greatly frequented in summer; and thence others carry the traveller to Wiborg, Abo, and Stockholm. The Storfursten bore us in six hours, on a sunshiny afternoon, from Reval to Helsingflors. It was a lovely evening when we approached the celebrated harbour, and steamed in past the fortress of Sveaborg, which truly merits its title of the "impregnable," and the Russian emperor is well aware that he possesses in this granite rock a jewel more valuable than the finest in his diadem. The grey-brown rocks, the red-brown wooden-houses, planted upon it with military regularity, the long cannon which peep out from the embrasures, a large hull which has been covered with a roof, and so forms half-house, half-ship—all these are very adapted to a fortress, but at the same time make such a triste impression, that the traveller is glad to escape into the inner harbour out of reach of the many-pounders, and approach the cheerful town of Helsingflors. But before landing we had to endure a highly unpleasant siege from the touts who came on board, of both sexes. The hotels of the second and third class are said to have only woman servants, who receive no wages from the landlord, but depend on douceurs from the guests. The " Societats hus," an hotel of the first class for Finnland, has good attendance, and deserves a word of praise, though it has lost much of its former renown, and is far inferior to German hotels of the same rank as regards elegance and arrangement.

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