Baltic cruise: Helsinki

The next day, we sailed into Helsinki, Finland. The weather was grey again, but we disembarked the ship and got straight onto a tour bus that was waiting in the port.

One of the first sights we saw was Helsinki Cathedral. I think the steps and paved area of the Senate Square add to the grand impression it makes.

Helsinki Cathedral

Not far away there is an abstract sculpture in tribute to the composer Jean Sibelius, who studied first law and then music in Helsinki as a young man, before moving to Berlin. At the time it was commissioned, there was debate about whether or not it should include the composer’s face. It was eventually decided that an effigy of Sibelius should be included – sadly you can’t see this in my photo.

The Sibelius Monument

Perhaps the most interesting thing we saw was the Temppeliaukio Church, which has been carved out of rock. The roof is partly made of glass, and the rest of it is made from a single piece of copper wire that has been coiled round, several kilometres in length.

Unfortunately the dim interior coupled with the large windows and bright floodlights didn’t make for ideal photographic conditions, but I took a few pictures nonetheless.

The copper roof of the Temppeliaukio Church
Edmund admires the glass roof
The organ

Just around the corner from the church, there was yet more evidence that the Finns are obsessed with Father Christmas. Santa’s Minimarket is partly a Christmas decoration shop, and partly a Happy Shopper with groceries and newspapers. Strange. Nevertheless, I bought a Snickers and a cuddly moose.

Santa’s Minimarket

The tour guide also pointed out a market where the stalls are held by members of the public – basically a car boot sale, but larger and taking place weekly.

Helsinki market

Finally, as we returned to the ship, I spotted a guy cleaning the windows on the 8th deck, and was immediately glad that it wasn’t my job.

Window cleaner

While it’s great seeing any new place, I couldn’t help but think that Helsinki was the most similar to Coventry out of any of the cities we visited on the cruise.

To be continued…

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