Finnish Road trip: Helsinki to Turku (day 1)

The last leg of our Nordic Adventure was our Finnish Roadtrip. This was over seven days (6 nights), which would return us back to Helsinki to fly home. We didn’t follow anyone elses recommended roadtrip. We designed ours as a round trip, with drive lengths between 2-4 hours. We did consider going along the coastline to Oulu and up to Rovaniemi, Lapland to see Santa and that is definetely do-able in 7 days. But when travelling with a toddler who doesn’t like the car, we thought we would leave that for another holiday. Also because we were travelling early in the summer season, we would not be able to see the Northern Lights, which can be seen between mid-August until early April.

We made six stops on this roadtrip, which included Turku, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Savonlinna, and Porvoo. We booked Airbnb for every location except for Turku, so we got to stay in some very interesting locations. We did make a few stops between these towns, but not as many as we did on or Norwegian roadtrip, just because there wasn’t as many tourist stops that we came across.

Something that needs to be mentioned as well, is that we were travelling during the MidSummer holiday or as I like to refer to, as our Midsummer Nightmare. I don’t recommend booking a trip during this time and if you do try to stick to Helsinki. The reason is because all the Finnish leave and go to their summer homes in the country. They enjoy time with their family and friends in their cottage, light bonfires, have sauna’s, which is all very nice. This also means that all of the shops, restaurants and attractions are closed. The supermarkets were open, but it was hard to find restaurants or cafes open and definetely no clothing or sourveir stores. So all my well researched plans to see and eat the best that these towns had to offer were ruined. It’s our own fault not doing more research on this Finnish national holiday. Everything was shut for 3 days and some shut for a whole week to give employs a longer break. So this Midsummer Nightmare affected our trip by day 3 and we also had rainy weather to top it off. We didnt stay in our apartments and complain, instead we made new plans to see what we could. So in the following posts I will detail what we did and also what we would originally planned to do.

Breakfast in Helsinki

Before we started our roadtrip we needed some Finnish pastries. So we began the day at Finland’s oldest bakery, patisserie and cafe. Ekberg 1852 is located on Bulevardi, in Helsinki’s city centre, which is lined with many restaurants, cafes and art galleries. For the past century Ekberg 1852 has been serving Finnish and international pastries and other delicacies.
Now something we didn’t realise when we arrived is that are two parts ot Ekberg 1852, the cafe and the bakery/patisserie. We were expecting to see the bakery, but because we arrived from the left we found the cafe first and didn’t stumble across the bakery until we were leaving. In hindsight I would of prefered the bakery, because they had so much more to offer and we could of got some takeaway items and kept going.

At the cafe they had a breakfast buffet, which included breads, crossiants, cheese, cold cuts, vegetables, porridge, eggs, hot and cold drinks. At the counter they had sweet and savoury pastaries, sandwiches and cakes.

We arrived just before buffet was going to close, so we just ordered a few of the times at the counter. Octavia and I shared the Brioche and Korvapuusti (cinnamon roll) and Marco had a poppyseed roll with tomato, buffalo mozzarella, pesto and lettuce. We also ordered oak milk coffees. Everything was nice enough, but it didn’t wow us and lacked atomosphere I was expecting. I think I would have found that in the bakery next door, but it wasn’t meant to be.

From there we had make our way on foot to pick up our rental car from Eurocar. So we first cross through the Vanha kikkopuisto/Old Church Park. It is also known as Plague Park, as it is the resting place of over a thousand victims of the plague of 1710 and was previously a cemetary. The 40 gravestones and memorials commemorate the plague victims as well as victims of the Finnish Civil War and Estonian War of Independence.

Not far from there we came across the Three Smiths/Kolme seppää monument in the Three Smiths Square, between Kamppi and Kluuvi districts. It was made by Felix Nylund and was unveiled in 1932. The statue represents there smiths and is thought to symbolise human labour and cooperation.

Turku

From Helsinki we drove straight to Turku, which takes about 2 hours by car. We arrived into Turku after midday and checked into the Scandic Hotel. We didn’t get too much time to see the centre of town as we had to have lunch and have enough time to visit the Turku Castle, so these are a few photos I took from the car.

Before we go on I’ll tell you a little bit about Turku. It is situated on the southwestern coastline/region of Finland and is mostly likey the oldest city in Finland. It was founded as early as the 13th century and remained one of the most important cities over the centuries. Until the 1840’s it was one of the most populated cities in Finland and thus, has had a big impact on the history of Finland. It is also known as the ‘Christmas town’ of Finland, as it has been celebrating Christmas celebrations annually since the 13th century.

Turku Market Hall

On this trip we had seen so many amazing Market Halls, but hadn’t got a chance to have a proper lunch at one. Today we were able to visit the Turku Market Hall with the intention of lunch.

The Turku Market Hall/Turun Kauppahalli was open in 1896 and was designed by the architect Gustaf Nyström, who also designed Helsinki’s Market Hall. It was built to address the unhygienic and disorderly 19th century food trade. Turku’s Market Hall originally had 151 shops, with 53 dedicated to meat products. By 1905, running water was installed, so there were aquariums, with live fish to buy. However, electricity wasn’t installed until 1932, so gas lamps had been previously used. Modern refridgerated counters were installed in 1957, as well as its first florist and stationary store. The hall was nearly removed in the 1960s, to make way for a new market hall and office buildings. This eventually resulted in a renovation in 1976, which replaced the marble counters for stainless steel and reduced the number of stores by half. The front facade of the building remains unchanged.

Inside the market hall today you can find butchers, fish mongers, cheese shops, bakeries, stores selling Finnish and Scandinavian foods, spice stores, resturants and cafes. There are a few international stores/cafes, offering Mexican food, Vietnamese, sushi, hotdogs, kebabs, pizza and vegetarian/vegan food. There is also a tiny little Museo and a text panel with old photographs, so you can imagine what it use to be like and see how much it has changed.

I really wanted to try something Finnish for lunch and preferably with fresh seafood. So we stopped in at Herkkunuotta, which is a fishmonger with a small cafe attached. They had a small menu, which utilised their fresh seafood, cooked right in front of you. Octavia and I shared the Fried Catfish with Roasted Potatoes, Vegetables and Citrus Sour Cream. Marco had the Crayfish Burger Happy meal, which also included a salad with prawns, spinach, roasted potatoes and herb cream, as well as a coffee. These dishes were quite well priced and were very generous portions. The fresh seafood and other ingredients was high quality and so was the presentation. We just loved every bite of it.

Before we left we got some takeaway pastries from the market bakery Hallin Herkku, which we enjoyed at our next stop for afternoon tea. These treats included Raparperipulla (custard and rhubarb), Kotkanwiener (strawberry-apple jam & custard) Kinuskimunkki (carmel donut). They were all so delicious and tasted very fresh, which to be honest I wasn’t expecting from the donut. My favourite was the rhubarb and custard pastry. We enjoyed them at the Turku Castle, which we visited just after this. I will write another post dedicated to the castle as its the major attraction in Turku and a must-see when you visit.

Shopping in Turku

After the Turku Castle, we did a bit of walking and window shopping in the city centre. Turku city centre has a mix of gorgeous old buildings and modern ones. There quite a few shopping malls, filled with Finnish designers and restaurants. One store that I was really excited to see was the PUF Design Market, which offers over 20 eco Finnish brands. I was expecting it to be more of a market, rather then a medium size clothing store. They did have pretty unique stuff though. It is located inside the Forum Kortteli, which has other Finnish designers and International restaurants. We also visited the oldest and large shopping mall, Hansakortteli and walked along the main pedetrain street. Since it was quite late in the afternoon most stores were closing or closed, but it was still worth seeing the centre.

Aura River

Our last stop for the evening was the Aura River. This river runs through the heart of Turku and is lined with museums, city buildings, parks, cafes and restaurants. It is the perfect place to take an evening stroll along the promenade and dine overlooking the water. Even though it looks pretty deserted, the restaurants were all full.

As ususal I had already planned where I wanted to have dinner. It was a beautiful Mediaterrean resturant, Tintå. However, they were completely booked out and we had no luck of getting a table this evening. We did checked out Pub Niska, but ultimately decided on, Ravintola Sergio´s.

Dinner

Ravintola Sergio´s is an Italian restaurant located along the promenade, in an old wooden house. They are known for their authentic Italian pizza, which won the Pizzamest championship in Finland in 2017. They menu offers a selection of pizza, pastas, traditional Italian starters and mains, as well as an imported wine selection. I was quite impressed with the offerings and the atmosphere inside was also very authentic.

Marco and I ordered a couple of dishes to share and Octavia had her favourite Margherita pizza with sugo, buffalo mozzarella and basil. We had the Lasagne with veal ragù, white wine and parmesan cheese sauce and the Capricciosa pizza with sugo, mozzarella, ham, artichoke, salami and mushrooms. I was a bit unsure how the lasagne was going to be since its usually a hit or miss dish and when it came out I was suprised to see the sauces underneath the lasagne. Well, it was to die for. It was just perfectly made and the sauces just added to the favours hit. The pizza was also excellent and was the same quality that I would expect from a good pizzeria in Italy.

Well thats part 1 of our first day in Turku. Next I will take you to the Turku Castle and then on day two we will visit the Turku Cathedral before driving to the city of Tampere. I just thought I would mention that we only scratched the surface of what Turku has to offer. Two or three days would of been idea to visit some of the many museums, such as Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum (historical and contemporary) or Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum (pre-industrial open-air museum) and see the Turku Archipelago.

Tallinn: Medieval Baltic Fairytale

Today I will share with you one of my favourite cities that we visited on our Nordic Adventure. Tallinn wasn’t a place we intended on see, but with it’s close proximity to Helsinki, it wasn’t a difficult journey to make.

Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It has one of the best intacted medieval hanseatic old town in the world and retains it old world flair through both its architures, crafts, cuisines and residents. Its medieval roots date before 1219, when it was first mentioned in text. However its been a human settlement for over 5000 years. Today it is under independent Estonia, but it had previously been under the rule of the Danes, Swedish and Russian, who have all left their own mark.

Since we only had the day we couldn’t see everything. The highlights include Sadama district, Old Town, the Town Square, Town Hall Pharmacy, St. Catherine’s Passage,
Danish King’s Garden, Toompea Hill, Freedom Square, Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform, a few interesting old churches, a Medieval feast and Estonian sweet treats. There are plenty of free experiences to be had in Tallinn and it was one of the less expensive destinations so far on this trip. If you have the time and are less incumbered, there are so many museums and shopping centres as well.

Travel from Helsinki to Tallin

So to get to from Helsinki to Tallin, we took the Tallinki Shuttle Star, It left from West Harbour terminal 2 and arrived D-Terminal, Lootsi 13. The entire journey takes 2 hours. I was originally a bit unsure about making this journey, because we would loose 4 hours of our day in travel. However, we were able to board the ship at 7am for a 7:30 departure and arrive by 9:30am. The cost was 36 euro per adult and free for 5 and under, one way. We decided to add the buffet breakfast for an additional 21 euro per adult. However, in hindsight I would of preferred to grab a pastry and coffee from the cafe. I wasn’t that impressed by the buffet. On the plus it was free for O to eat and it did make it easy to let her choose what she wanted. On the Star there are a couple of shops, a few cafes and eateries, and a kids play area. You can book in for the lounge areas but its quite unnecessary as there is plenty of places to sit.

Sadama District

Our ship arrived in the Port of Tallin, which is in Sadama or the harbor district. Since it was early in the morning it wasn’t as bustling as I had heard. But it did have a very nautical vibe near the harbor. If you have the time to explore there is quite a bit to see here. You can do shopping at Nautica Keskus shopping centre, Foorum shopping centre, Sadama Market. There are also more boutiques and shopping malls in this area and neighbouring district of Südalinn, which is adjacent to the Viru Gates. There are also museums, including the Steamship Admiral Museum, Museum of Estonian Architecture, Estonian Jewish Museum and the KGB Museum. There are a couple of art installation. The first we came across was Arrival, which represents the Estonian Republic sending its troops overseas to serve for the past 19 years. The other is the Digital Building Block, by the Architecture Museum of The Rotermann Quarter is also within Sadama, so you can see alot of interesting architecture that influenced by its former industrial roots.

Old Town

In the heart of Tallin is the Vanalinn, the Old Town of Tallin. This is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and the reason why we travelled all the way to Estonia for the day. The architecture is like something out of a medieval fairytale and so are some locals who are dressed the part.

Tallinn origin city plan is still intact from the 13th-16th centuries. Many of the buildings were home to wealthy merchants from Germany, Denmark and beyond during the Hanseatic period. Today many of the shops and restaurants have a medieval flair, selling traditional Estonia product, arts, crafts and foods, which you may of found back then. The buildings are typically painted in pastel colours and most retain terracotta tile roofs.

The old town is divided between the lower town and upper town (or Toompea), which today is no longer sectioned off by the city gates. We entered via the Viru Gates, which is part of the lower town. These gates give you a idea of what the 14th-century extensive defence system would have looked like. Just before entering the gates there are flower markets on the left, which back onto the Musumägi park. On the left you can find souvenir shops and restaurants. Just inside the gates there are markets selling clothing and wooly accessories along the wall. You can actually climb and walk along the the 3-story Hellemann Tower and Town Wall (for 200m). Its also an inexpensive and child-friendly. We didn’t do it because we didn’t realise we could.

From the Viru gates there is a main pedestrian road (Viru), which takes you nearly all the way to the Town Square. Along the road there are plenty of little boutiques, cafes and as you near the town square there are also many Medieval themed restaurants. One that stood out to us was Olde Hansa, which we did return to later for lunch. Here you will also see many locals dress in Medieval clothing who are selling things on the street or working in these busy restaurants. You can also find the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments, which we so would have visited if we didn’t have a small child, who would find it scary or worse, boring.

The Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats) is a massive public space, in the centre of Old Town Tallin. It is lined with restaurants and Estonia souvenir, craft and Baltic Amber stores. The space is often used for festival and concerts. One of the most popular events is Tallin Old Town Days, which is an annual five day event, celebrating local cultural heritage.

The most icon building in the square is the Town Hall, which originally built in 1322 and then rebuilt in 1402-04, which is the current form you see today. It is the only surviving Gothic Town Hall in all of Northern Europe. It was used as a seat for local government and is today still used ceremonial and cultural purposes. You can go inside the Town Hall from October to June by appointment, Monday to Friday. During the summer (May- Sept) you can also visit the Tower for only 3 euro adult/1 euro child (included with Tallinn Card). Since its cash only we couldn’t visit the tower. You can see some photos of interior here.

Another significant building in the Town Square is the Town Hall Pharmacy/Raespteek (Raekoja Plats 11). It is the oldest pharmacy in Europe and the oldest continually working apothecary in the world. It is unknown how old it is since it wasn’t mentioned in text until 1422 and it was already up to its third owner. During the plague years it was the only place to seek medical care, when there was no doctors left in town. It was also a place where people met to catch up and the latest news and drink wine together. The pharmacy didn’t just sell medicines, ointments, tinctures and medical teas. They also sold cakes, spices, gun powder, playing cards, paper and ink. Some more peculiar items include burnt bees and hedgehogs, earthworm oil, human fat and blanched dog faeces. From 1582-1911 it has been owned by ten generation of men from the Burchart family. This was followed by the Lehbert and Schneider families between 1911-1940. One of the most significant medicial advances was created by Rudolph Lehbert in 1907. He produced anti-anemia preparation for Ferratol and today known as a pioneer of the Estonian pharmaceutical industry.

Inside the first room of the Pharmacy there is a large counter where you can buy medical items and there are a few item around that room. There is a door way which leads to a second room, which is a mini exhibit. It was quite interesting to see what kind of objects were used in medieval medicine and to see how far we have come. It is free to walk around and have a look. You can also do a guided tour, herb or marzipan workshop. Underneath the building there is an antique store, where I bought some Amber souvenirs.

Another building in the square, near the pharmacy is the Püha Vaimu kogudus
(Püha Vaimu 6). It began operations as a social service welfare building for housing and hospice for the crippled and sick in the 13th century. It later became a retirement home and contained a sauna and other buildings. The hospice was connected to the Holy Spirit Church, which it backs onto, which was a chapel for the City Council. It was converted into a girls school after 1620 and later became the Theological Institute of Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church. Today there is a shop in the front and the church still holds sermons. It amazing how many lives a little building could of lived.

Just around the corner behind the Town Square we came across the St. Peter and St. Paul’s Cathedral (Tallinna Peeter-Pauli katedraal). This is a Catholic church and it was built in 1920-1924. Previously, this site was home to St. Catherine’s Monastery, which was built in 1841 after the Great Northern War, when relgious freedom was granted back to Estonian. Since it’s of the main road it was a little more quiet and very peaceful.

Our next stop was the St. Catherine’s Passage/Katriina käik, which we found as we passed through a little tunnel where you can also find a nice little European restaurant, Munga Kelder. St Catherine’s Passage is a half-hidden walkway from Vene Street, which pass St. Catherine Church through to Müürivahe street, where you can find the famous knit market.

This passage is special because it was home to St Catherine’s Guild of artisans. Here a collection of craft workshops continue to operate today, selling glassware, hats, ceramics, dolls, jewellery, quilts, hand-painted silk, etc. Another thing that is special about this guild today is that the artisans are all women. This was one of my favourite places in Tallinn. I just loved seeing the handmade crafts and seeing the woman work in their studio.

Something else that was interesting were the 14-15th century tombstones. They were from the Church of St Catherine of Alexandria, which you can see below. The deceased were members of the Magistrate of Tallinn, the Brotherhood of Blackheads and the Great Guilds. When the church was restored in the mid-19th century, the best tombstones were placed on the wall.

As we passed through St Catherine’s Passage, just before the end to Müürivahe street, we came upon the 13th Dominican St. Catherine’s Monastery Claustrum. It was first mentioned in text in 1246 and was specifically built in this spot, to facilitate preaching to large audience and easy access to the fish trading. They actually use to produce four types of beer and were also renowned for their scholarship. During the Reformation in 1524, the monastery was destroyed, so only part of the originally complex remains. These photos are from the entry courtyard and of the first room. I did not venture inside, as again I didn’t have cash. You can do an individual or group tour.

Medieval Feasting

For lunch, I had a few places on my list include Olde Haus (medieval themed), Pannkoogipubi Kompressor (budget cafetaria) or Must Puudel (allergy, vegan, kids menu). However, once we saw the Medieval themed restaruant, Olde Haus, we had to choose this place for our lunch. This restaurant is modelled after the 15th century in terms of decor, music, dress of staff and food. In fact, all of the furniture and glassware have been handmade and the ingredients are local sourced, as they would have been back then. This has to be one of my top restaurant experiences that had on this trip. It really transported us to another time and the food and drink was really splendid. The restaurant also has a medieval shop, selling handmade ceramic bowls, glassware, iron works, alcohol, honey, jams, soaps and candles.

It was hard to choose what to order, I just wanted one of everything. They do offer a 17 course Master Cook’s Feast, but that would have been too much for the three of us. Instead we ordered drinks and a few meals to share. I ordered the Spiced Wine and Marco had the Honey Beer. They were as delicious as they sound and if we weren’t feeling like we were in Medieval Europe, the drinks relaxed our sense enough to transport us there. For lunch we ordered the Earl’s Forest Mushroom Soup, which was so creamy and infused with delicious mushroom magic flavour. I ordered the Wild Boar Plate, which included sauerkraut, onion jam, cooked spelt with saffron, pickle and juniper berries. Marco ordered the Game Sausages made of Bear, Wild Boar and Elk, which came with most of the same condiments and sweet root vegetables. Both of the meats were exceptionally tasty. The sides and condiments were also nice and made the entire dish feel more traditional.

After lunch we wanted to see the upper town of Tallinn. The weather took a turn and it was pouring down rain. We wanted to go to the interactive museum, Tallinn Legends, however there was a wait time and an age limit, which was a shame. So when the rain stopped a little we made our way up. We walked past the 13th century St Nicholas Church, which is the only other Catholic parish in Tallinn. It was one of the wealthiest churches in the town, however was badly damaged during WWII. Today it is also a museum, so it does cost to go inside, which we couldn’t do. So up we continued, through the small pedestrian street, Short leg/Lühike jalg. There is also a passage built between the lower and upper town (Toompea) as a shortcut for pedestrian. It was once governed at the gate, to control the movement of people.

Once we got to the top of Short leg street, we found the Danish King’s Garden. It is both beautiful and a little creepy, with the large hooded statues. It also gives you a great look at the wall that divides the lower and the upper city.

This garden was perhaps named after the King of Denmark, Erik VII Menved, after he gave the orders in 1311 for this area of land to be given to the lower town and for a city wall to be erected to divide between the lower and upper town. It is also legend that this is the exact place that a flag came down from the sky and landed during the Danish invasion. This flag supposably had something to do with King Valdemar II winning the battle and the it became the national flag of Denmark. The three sculptures of the hooded figures are monks who prayed for the Danish King for God’s help during when they were seeming to lose the battle. The waiting monk was Ambrosius, the praying monk Bartholomeus and watching monk was Claudius.

Upper Town

Up past the garden is the upper town, also known as Toompea or Toompea Hill. From up here you get great view of the lower town This exact spot wasn’t the best, but you will see more views as you travel around up here. Just nearby there is a nice view from the Neitsiton Museum (Maiden Tower Museum-Cafe), plus you can pay a small fee to use the toilet. We also came across the beautiful Russian Orthdox church, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It is in typical Russian Revival stle and was built between 1894-1900, when Tallinn was part of Russia. It is dedicated to Saint Alexander Nevsky, who was also a Prince. He is remembered for Battle of the Ice on Lake Peipus in Estonia. We weren’t able to take photos of the beautiful interior, but you can see some here.

Next, we headed to the Freedom Square, which is the southern end of Old Town, but is accessible also from Toompea. On the way we passed this Happy Chimney Sweeper statue, which honours the men who use to climb peoples roof tops and bring them luck. Apparently, back in the day it was lucky to touch the buttons of a chimney sweep, which use to be gold. It was also more lucky if you took the button from him, so many of them had buttons missing.

Freedom square is a popular meeting place and also hosts military parades and concerts. It has gone by many names and took this name between 1939-48 and then again 1989. The large cross is the Victory Column and it represents the War of Independence. The buildings in the square and surroundings are functionalist and art deco in style.

St. John’s Church is a Lutheran parish dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist. It was constructed in 1862-67 and is a three-nave church in neo-Gothic Style. The altar painting, Christ on the Cross, by Karl Gottlieb Wenig and the chandeliers are older than the building. It also contains the oldest church bell with an Estonia text in its tower.

In the corner of Freedom Square is the Carved Stone Museum, which is part in the tunnels of the Kiek in de Kök Fortifications Complex. This museum has over 600 decorated fragments that were part of the buildings of the Old Town. This museum can also be entered Neitsiton Museum (Maiden Tower Museum-Cafe). If you plan to go make sure you bring something warm, as its 10-12 degrees all year around. Just behind the square and museum is the Harjumägi/Hill of Harju Gates park. It is on the embankment of the former Inger bastion. This park is significant because its ancient European lindens were planted there in the 1750s, in a crescent formation.

Next walked up to the Toompea Castle. This building complex was built between 1767-1733, on the foundations of 13th-14th century the eastern wing of the fortress. All that remains from its medieval past is the Tall Hermann Tower. The Riigikogu building is located in the central courtyard and was built in 1920-22. It is in expressionist-style, which makes it unique for a parliamentary building. Unfortunately we couldn’t see it from the front or sides of the building. Today the Toompea Castle serves as the seat of Parliament of Estonia. Previously it was the residents of heads of state and working offices of the Government of Estonia. Running along the right side of the building is the lush, green Kuberneri (Governor’s) Garden or Palace Garden. It is connected to a larger park, which continues for quite a distance. We didn’t have the time to walk through it but I’m sure it would be a really nice walk.

A couple of minutes walk away is the Cathedral of St Mary’s the Virgin/Toomkirik, which is also called the Dome Church. It is located in the centre of Toompea hill and is one of the most interesting churches to see. It was originally built in 1233 and rebuilt repeatedly, so it consists of many architectural styles. The vaulted main body is from the 14th century and the Baroque tower was added in the late 1770s. This was the church for the elite German nobles and their funereal coats of arms decorate the walls. They are from the 17th-20th century and their burial stones are from the 13th-18th century. You can also climb 69 metre Baroque tower to see a great view of the city for a small fee.

Next we made our way to the Kohtuotsa viewing platform, which is only another 3 minutes walk. On the way we admired the pastel neoclassical buildings. Each have their own story and many have information plaks outside to give you the history of the building.