A small Swedish island then capital of Finland

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July 4th 2016
Published: June 22nd 2017
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The ship moored off Gotland ,a small Swedish island which Egburg called home. We were only there for the morning so we did not expect to see much. However it was a very bustling place mainly because a big conference was going on and the whole front was full of tents with people giving lectures and speeches. Apparently it was all political and happens in the first week of July every year. I do not think this would happen in the UK. The ship was moored just outside the main marina of the town Visby and so we were tendered across to the mainland. The sea was quite choppy so the crew had to help every person onto the lifeboat as it went up and down along side the ship. As you can imagine those with disabilities did not leave the ship. We wandered through the marina and into the town and made our way to the main church of Santa Maria which has beautiful modern stained glass windows. There are several other churches in Visbe but they all fell into ruins at the time of the Reformation in the 16th century. The streets are narrow and cobbled and lined with some quaint buildings. The town is surrounded by an old city wall and also has a lovely small botanical garden, so it was a pleasant stroll especially as the sun had finally emerged. Back on the ship we were able to go and sunbathe on the pool deck for the first time.We won the Trivia quiz later and then had dinner with our quiz team and 2 others we have got to know, 10 of us in all. It was good fun and we were last in the restaurant again and missed the "Name that Tune" competition at which we are no good any way.The following day we are docked at Helsinki and it was only a short walk into the centre. Not a huge amount to see especially as we did not fancy going into any museums. We had a look at the main Orthodox church which was very beautiful inside. By contrast the Cathedral of Helsinki was beautiful on the outside but plain on the inside. After further walking round we stopped at a lovely café and sat outside in the sunshine which was welcome after a cloudy start. 10 euros a cup for a cappuccino is expensive. We declined going on the City tour bus as this would have cost nearly 90 euros and there isn't a huge amount to see. We did go to HAM, the Helsinki art museum which was cheap at 8 euros each but contains some pretty weird art. The clouds had come over again by the time we came out so it was time to grab a cab and go back for lunch and a kip.

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