Last night I dreamed of prison. Not in an Orange is the New Black kind of way nor in a really scary way but more as a gentle nudge that I still need to tell you about the time I went to prison.
When I came back from Kakslauttanen and before I went off to China I had a night in Helsinki due to the flight schedules. I was set on using that time on putting together the perfect 24-hours guide to Helsinki for you. Alas, I had forgotten though that in reality 24-hours guides are never done in 24 hours (that's just something we travel bloggers want you to believe because we are such efficient little travelers!). I was also utterly tired and exhausted when I got to Helsinki, somehow more mentally than physically. I really didn't want to leave Kakslauttanen and seemed stuck between two worlds, now having to wrap my head around traveling to China. Talk about a 360.
But I had set out with the intention of bringing you a Helsinki guide and so I started looking for the perfect accommodation. Honestly, it was hard. As my friends from 12 HRS had mentioned in their guide - Helsinki may be full of great design and style, but unfortunately, that ain't reflected in the accommodation options.
Somehow though I got lucky because I stumbled across Hotel Katajanokka. Mind you, I was mainly intrigued by the fact that until 2002 Katajanokka it was a fully functioning prison right in a very fancy part of Helsinki. I do like the idea of theme parks so why not have a theme hotel?
When I arrived the weather was fitting my mood - gloomy and not very inviting to explore a new city. And once I stepped foot inside I knew I wasn't gonna come out again. Voluntarily of course!
Do you ever get travel fatigue? I do. While it may sound ironic I cannot remember the last time I went on holiday. I travel all the time, sure, but holidays are different. Travel is work and while I am not complaining one bit, sometimes I get tired and that tiredness caught up with me in Helsinki. So I wish I could tell you that I dropped my bag only to run out and explore the city a moment later but I didn't. I felt like paralyzed, not in a bad way but I just knew that I would have to simply give in, rest and as my mother would call it 'make a silly face and do nothing'.
Just like I love long distance flight I love hotel rooms. They give me a little bubble to adjust between destinations. They give me moments when I don't have to absorb or sort or do but can just be and breathe. Does that sound a bit strange? Probably but I actually really like a hotel room for its anonymity, for its no-mans-land-ness. A refuge that is somewhere new yet it is not the destination, sometimes more sometimes less representative of the place you are at. And sometimes that is exactly what I need to adjust. In addition, I usually need comfort food, some sort of exercise and good wifi to either Skype with my friends or watch series.
Katajanokka was just that for me on that night in Helsinki. A
cell room with a comfortable bed, a sauna all to myself and a really great burger with some red wine for dinner. I called my mother, caught up on writing posts watching the latest Outlander (seriously, how awesome is this series?!) and slept for ten hours before eating copious amounts of berry crumble for breakfast. My energy almost restored I explored the former cells – spooky! – before heading back to the airport. At this point, I was happy that I could leave (unlike the poor guys who had to stay here before...) because there is simply nothing better than traveling for me. Except of course to have the option of staying in for 24 hours if I need to catch my breath.
Thank you for having me and letting me out again, Katajanokka! If you want to check out a truly awesome guide about Helsinki, check out 12 HRS here.