Arriving in Finland

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May 29th 2016
Published: June 13th 2017
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We pulled into a cloudy Helsinki, Finland at approximately 8am and were fully disembarked by 9:30am. At the ferry terminal, we caught a taxi to take us to our nearby hotel, Glo Hotel Kluvvi, just off Helsinki's main pedestrian thoroughfare, the Esplanadi. I had figured that at this point in the trip, we would all be tired of sharing the same room in such close proximity. So for our final destination, we all got our own separate rooms! It was still too early in the morning to check in so we dropped our bags at the hotel and set out to explore. We walked over to the nearby Helsinki Cathedral, one of the most visited sites in Helsinki. This Lutheran church is well known for it's tall green dome which is very distinctive in Helsinki's skyline. We noticed one of those Hop on Hop off tour buses stopped just outside the cathedral. With our sightseeing here in Helsinki pretty much limited to just today, we decided to take advantage and purchase a ticket. We rode through some upscale residential areas of Helsinki before deciding to get off at Temppeliaukio Church. This is another well known Lutheran Church in Helsinki which is most famous for being built directly into solid rock. We went inside to have a look and the first thing I noticed was the large number of Chinese tourists talking extremely loudly. They were extremely annoying and a bit disprespectful as there were actually some people in here attempting to pray. There wasn't anything too exicting or interesting at this church so we didn't stay very long. We realized that we were quite hungry by now and decided to get back on our bus. We rode the remainder of the route without getting off as we wanted to return to the Market Sqaure to grab some lunch.

With the sun now shining brightly, we explored the stalls of the Market Square looking for something delicious to have for lunch. Mom and I decided on the grilled salmon with potatoes which we very much enjoyed. While walking around the market, I realized just how undecipherable the Finnish language is. Trying to read the signs left me with absolutely no clue as to what was being said. With most European languages, I am able to figure out a few words as they are similar to other European languages. With Finnish, this language is so unique and unrelated to most European languages that I don't think I was able to decipher any words. However, with most people here speaking English, this really didn't present any issues. After exploring the market, we got back on our hop on hop off bus to continue with our sightseeing, stopping at Sibelius Park to have a look at the Sibelius Monument. This unique monument consisting of about 600 steel pipes was dedicated to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. We lingered around for a while to enjoy the sunny weather as the temperatures approached 70 degrees, a far cry from the weather we experienced in Stockholm. After the Sibelius Monument, we were all starting to feel a little low energy so we headed back to the hotel for a bit of a rest.

After a quick nap, I was ready to do a little exploring but also have a little time alone to just walk around by myself. It was such a warm sunny day here in Helsinki and many of the locals took advantage by taking an early evening stroll. I walked over to the nearby Esplanade Park and just sat around to people watch. The time was approaching 8pm and I had forgotten how much later it stays light in this part of the world at this time of year. I had been so relaxed just sitting here watching people that I had forgotten that I should get Mom and Shea so that we can eat dinner.

Enjoying the cool evening air, dinner tonight was at an outdoor restaurant along the Esplanade. Afterwards, we walked over the the nearby Uspenski Cathedral. An Eastern Orthodox Church, Uspenski Cathedral and it's signature onion domes are a well known feature of Helsinki's skyline. As it was late in the evening, we weren't able to enter for a quick look. Instead, we settled with just walking around the perimeter, taking our photos, and enjoying the sunny Finnish evening. On our way back to our hotel, we walked over to the nearby ferry terminal. Our plan was to take the first morning ferry in order to cross the Gulf of Finland for a full day trip to Tallinn, Estonia. It was an early night for all of us as we just returned to the hotel to crash for the night. Tomorrow would be a big day as we would be off to the former Soviet Union.

Additional photos below
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Market SquareMarket Square
Market Square

Grilled salmon for square

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