Thursday, June 01, 2006

Cruise, Day 7: Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki became the capital of Finland in 1812 and is its largest city with about 500,000 in population. Today’s tour was 6-1/2 hours in the city and the countryside 30 miles east. I hate having time for just a smattering out of a full day, but I know you understand. I figure something is better than nothing!

Our first photo stop was of the domed Lutheran Cathedral perched above Senate Square (below).

We then drove a few miles outside the city to the boonies where we stopped at one of the oldest granite churches in Finland, built in the 15th century (below left). Across the country road, a stone's throw away, was another "normal" church (as our guide called it) for the same parish. The granite church is used only in the summertime.

From there we continued east to Porvoo, Finland’s second largest city, established in 1346 by King Magnus Ericksson. It was the only part of the day when we got a few sprinkles as we walked about town.

2.5 miles from Porvoo we stopped to eat a nice Finnish lunch at the Kiala Manor Distillery, sitting out in the middle of nowhere.

We ended the tour back in Helsinki at Temppeliaukio, one of Europe’s most unusual modern churches. It’s carved out of solid rock, topped with a copper dome, and is called the “Rock Church," one of Helsinki’s landmarks. Because of its magnificent acoustic qualities, it's also used as a concert hall.

As some of you have commented, our days are getting very full and tiring, but we wouldn’t miss any of what we’re seeing. We really are trying to see as much as we can without over-doing it. Tonight the time moves ahead another hour (the second night in a row—now 8 hours ahead of Atlanta!).

And for the next two days, we’ll be in RUSSIA! Besides losing an hour tonight, our first of 2 tours tomorrow starts at 7:30a! But the thing is, you can’t get off the ship in Russia without a Visa or a tour….

So shut up Ginnie and say Good Night!


  1. I am taking in those pictures like a glutton! It all looks so beautiful. You have a visa, don't you?? ;-)

  2. I have not been to Finland, and don’t know anything about Finland. So, your today’s news is very very interesting. White and green of “Lutheran Cathedral” is so beautiful, but I feel gentleness and warmth in granite churches.
    Well. At last, RUSSIA is coming! Wooow♪ I am looking forward to St. Petersburg as very much as you! ;)
    Have a nice trip and take care of you.


  3. Am loving your travelblog Ginnie!! Peter and I looked at all the pictres last night ans agreed that we MUST do this cruise one of these days.
    (I just finished "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert and I KNOW you would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. So when you're back home RUN (do not walk) to your bookstore and get a copy!

  4. Ginnie - your photos are incredible! I love the clarity and colors. You chose the best pics!

    And one thing I got confused about was it a tour bus you go on?

  5. I'm really enjoying 'my' tour...great pictures. Thanks :)

  6. Ginnie, I love your pictures.

    Coincidentally, I just put down John Irving's "Until I find you" to visit your blog, two minutes after reading the scene that takes place in 'The Church under the Rocks' in Helsinki!

    That is one book I absolutely have to lend to you.

  7. Again, thanks to everyone for reading and commenting! Each of you individually has contributed to this fabulous experience!

    And Bettina, I am amazed at that "coincidence!" I was thinking about you yesterday and how we need to check in on each other before I leave again next week!