Friday, August 04, 2006

Redux: Helsinki, Finland

Surely you thought I had forgotten about the rest of the cruise albums after a month away, but no. That was a dial-up issue. There was no way I was gonna try another photo album without DSL.

So, I carry on now with the 4th of our 6 port of calls: Helsinki, Finland. The gist of that day was briefly told in my June 1st post. Here it is again but with new photos, in case you don't want to plow through the 200-pic photo album.

Because our all-day coach tour took us through Helsinki highlights and 30 miles east into the countryside, there were several shots I got through the bus windows that were good enough to include, coming and going, of this, that and the other. Sorry to say, our Helsinki guide book is still in Germany, so I can't identify many of the pics I took. Also, you can't think of Scandinavia without thinking of water, of course, so I tried to get as many shots as I could, even though we weren't outside at the water's edge except at the ship.

Our first stop on the tour was the domed Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral perched above Senate Square, a national landmark built in 1830. "Annually more than 350,000 people visit the church, some of them to attend religious events, but most are tourists. The church is in regular use for both worship services and special events such as weddings."

From the city we then drove out into the countryside to see one of Finland's oldest granite churches: St. Sigfrid's old Sipoo church from 1450. They still hold services there during the summertime, when it's not too cold. Then they go to a more modern church the rest of the year, just a stone's throw away.

From the old church, we drove to nearby Porvoo, Finland's second oldest city, first mentioned in texts from the 14th c. (does anyone know what the oldest is??). The sad news that day, midst all the wonderful, qauint shops we saw/visited, was hearing that teenagers had accidentally set fire to the town church just 3 days prior. So if you look at the photo album, you'll see them still working on the investigation and cleanup. So sad, indeed.

Then it was lunchtime, when we were treated to a typical Finnish meal at a nearby countryside restaurant at Kiiala Manor. Besides the good food, we were able to stroll around the grounds to visit the nursery and old farmstead mansion.

Driving back into Helsinki, we stopped at the very modern Temppeliaukio "Rock" Church, built in 1969. "It was designed by the architect brothers, Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen. The church is built into solid rock, therefore, it is also known as the Church of the Rock. Natural light brightens the inside through 180 glasses between the dome and the wall. The church is often used for concerts, because of the excellent acoustics. Temppeliaukio Church is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Helsinki."

I can't have you leave Scandinavia without showing how beautifully springlike it was at the end of May and the beginning of June. We feel like we had THREE springs this year: first in Atlanta, then in Germany a month later and finally in Scandinavia a month after that. It really made us realize how far north this part of the world is in relation to Atlanta!

Now I'll work on my St. Petersburg (Russia) and Tallinn (Estonia) albums. You'll be the first to know when they're done. I repeat myself in saying these albums are for US, Donica and me, but in case you have the time and/or interest, they're also for you.

Today's photo album is Helsinki. Enjoy.


  1. I particularly liked the Stone Church and the flowers you showed after that. But all your pictures are great. That vacation must have been at least a highlight of this year.

  2. I'm enjoying browsing through your albums. You've found a photo-taking kindred spirit in me. How many photos total did you take on your trip?

  3. Tim: Definitely, this cruise was the highlight of our year thuis far. Thanks, Tim.

    Mad: Oh my, I'm paring down each city to no more than 200 pics, so I'm guessing I easily took over 2000 shots. There were 6 ports of call but there is also an album I'll eventually do just of the ship itself. Hey, it's a great way to "hold" the memories, as you know! We don't plan to go back on the same cruise, so you get what you can when you can! Sometimes you get only one chance.

  4. I love the pictures - especially the stone church! It's such a pity though, that those kids set fire to the little church - even if accidentally. :-(

  5. We had been told, CS, by our tour guide that the fire was accidentally caused by teenagers drinking and playing around in the church. I just read that it was
    after all and the culprits were caught! So sad.

  6. The old brick buildings are great. And that modern church! Must have been amazing in person. I'll view the albums at work since dial-up won't let me. :|

  7. how beautiful!!! I'm so ready to go visit! But when....haha..

  8. Ruth: It was ALL amazing. YES!

    ET: So many places in the world; so little time!

  9. Dontcha just love that about digital? Doubt that you'd take 2000+ with a film camera, that'd be at least 83 rolls of 24 exposure film! You have me beat, I took just over 1500 pics on my Alaskan cruise.
    Keep snapping! :)

  10. Yes, Mad, that is definitely one of the biggest pluses about digital--being able to take hundreds of pics and deleting all the ones you don't like. Donica was the one who first started with digital and reminds me that I was not interested in it at all, while I snapped away on my still camera. Man, times sure have changed, haven't they!