Day 9 – Helsinki

After the panic of the last 24 hours we had a more calming day planned in Helsinki. Absolutely nothing planned for here we were just going to catch the shuttle to town and simply mill about. When we arrived in the industrial port I wasn’t expecting much, when we looked around the ship we could see the aerodrome where the souvenirs were and all of a sudden out the corner of my eye I could see something waving at me, when we looked I was a Finnish woman dressed in native dress waving a flag and a husky dog soft toy at me, nice touch I thought. When we were allowed off the ship we got the shuttle and headed to town.
Once we got of the docks the first thing that struck me was the cobblestone roads which looked very nice. I only thought it was the little road we were on but it was most roads and it looked really nice. We got off and after spending ten minutes looking quizzically at the map we decided to head straight on. What we found was rows of shops either side of the road but directly down the middle running all the way along was this park which was really pretty and at the end of it was a fountain which lead to the harbours. Helsinki was what I expected Copenhagen to be like. I was very impressed by it all. At the harbour we found the local market which was really good and we picked up a few bargains, Debbie loves looking round local markets so she was in her element. We could see the Russian Orthodox Church in the distance so we took a wander round to find it, again it was very beautiful, we couldn’t go in as it was locked but the outside was stunning. I’ve noticed a lot of these churches are on the tops of hills and they certainly dominate the skyline, in the distance we could see another cathedral as well. We headed back towards market square and waited for the sea cruises to start running. These took you all around the islands surrounding Helsinki so we thought it would be a great way to see them, the weather was really hot so it seemed like a good idea. The cruise took an hour and a half and it really was enjoyable. The islands are very scenic and like little communities of there own, the postman must hate it unless on his round he has a speedboat!!!. The hour and half seem to go quite quickly as they took us past the island zoo, past the icebreaker ships that are docked for the summer. Helsinki truly is beautiful. When we got off we treated ourselves to a waffle and also tried some local biscuits.
Whilst walking through the market again we spotted a characture drawer and deb decided she wanted one of me done!! Turns out this bloke was Bulgarian and apparently best friends with dimitr berbatov and other famous Bulgarians,!! Bless him I didn’t buy it for a minute but the drawing was really good and something I had wanted to get for a while. We found the other cathedral which was at the top of about a thousand steps (50!!), Debbie looked at them and said she’d wait down here and quite frankly she was right, although it definitely was a rocky moment when you reached the top. What was quite amusing was trying to get money out of he ATM machine, it was inside the bank which was locked but outside by the door is a place where you put your card in and it reads it and let’s you in, however getting out seemed to be the trouble as we were faced by three American tourist frantically pushing and pulling every door trying to escape!!, Debbie had the bright idea of keeping the door open for me as I went inside.
Finally we headed back to the ship but we had had a wonderful day in Helsinki, the one port that I wasn’t expecting much from but got a great deal from. It really is an amazing place one I would highly recommend do all, like most places on the Baltic cruise.

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