Baltic Cruise - Helsinki, Finland

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Europe » Finland
September 18th 2015
Published: September 19th 2015
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If I am honest, after St Petersburg, it was a bit of a disappointment – but I think anywhere would be! Someone had told us that the No 14 bus went into town from outside the terminal, so we duly waited for the bus, along with two other people from the ship who had found out that an 8 Euro day ticket, covered all the buses, ferries and trams! We did well as we wanted to go on the trams – one of the oldest electrified tram networks in the world dating back to 1900, and the only one in Finland!

Unfortunately the No 14 bus doesn’t go to Market Square (It goes up Frederinkinkatu & Topeliuksenk) and we didn’t realise this until we were travelling to the outskirts of the city that we realised this and a Finnish lady showed us where to take the No 4 tram, along Mannerheimintie back into the City! Jumped off at Aleksanterinkatu to look at a huge square there before walking to the huge white Lutherian Cathedral of St Nicholas. Very plain interior so walked down, through Senate Square with its statue of Alexander II ( a symbol of Finland’s Imperial relationship with Russia) to Market Square and the Harbour front and had a wander through, past the fountain and bronze statue of the sea nymph, Havis Amanda, the symbol of the City. Walked past all the stalls selling berries, mushroom, reindeer hats etc and caught the ferry (15minute ride) out to another island Soumenlinna ( its actually four islands joined by bridges.) Had an excellent walk to Kings Gate (1753) at end of the island which seems to be just a huge 18thC Fortress with enormous guns looking out over the water. (UNESCO world Heritage Site)

Got the ferry back and looked at the Finnish Orthodox Upenski Cathedral, built in 1868 which unfortunately appeared to be closed on Mondays (Some people said they managed to get in, so maybe its just open in the mornings?) before a quick lunch in Market Square and then a No 2 Tram ride to see Temppeliaukio Rock Church! It was originally a 2nd/3rd Century Church but the interior was now quite modern, topped with a copper dome, although it was quite unusual to have a church quarried out of natural bedrock!

Caught the No 14 bus back to the cruise terminal.

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