Friday, August 8, 2014

More Cruising... Helsinki, Finland

It's now August 6.  I feel like I have been writing blog posts forever about this cruise.  It was an amazing trip but I'm getting tired about blogging it - I think because it was so long ago and with all my computer issues, I delayed getting them done.  Don't get me wrong, I love to write, but I really need to do these travel ones right after the visit or else I lose the drive to get it done.  So just plugging away now.

Helsinki.  It was ok.  I'd say out of all the places we went, this was probably not our favorite.  Of course, it was the stop immediately after a very impressive time in St. Petersburg so there a little let down there I think since it wasn't as amazing as Russia.  Plus we were pretty exhausted after 2 - nine hour days of touring there.  Russia was the only stop where we did a formal tour - in all the other cities we did our own thing since we are pretty used to traveling in foreign countries on our own.  And so that's what we did in Helsinki.

We took the bus from the ship into the main area of town.  To my knowledge there isn't really an old town, or at least they didn't publicize it like most old cities do.  We went right to the market square area after checking out a few of the sights.

According to the bus driver, this is like the Central Park of Helsinki... hmmmm.... I think we have some sizing issues here, but pretty nonetheless.

Helsinki (Lutheran) Cathedral built in 1824

The boys in front of the Cathedral

Uspenski Cathedral

It seemed that every city in the Baltic Sea had some kind of animal barrier instead of normal poles.

We really enjoyed the outdoor market.  My guess is that they only do this in the summer time when the weather is conducive to such things.  The rest of the year I would imagine it would be too cold!!  But the market was full of food, little restaurants and specialty vendors.  My favorite was the one that took old colored beer bottles (my favorite were the green) and somehow melted them down but they kept their shape and were used as serving platters - I wish I'd taken a picture (or bought one)!

Even a market in the water!

Mmmm fresh strawberries!

 It's a small but nice market

Flowers at the market

Those are little fried fish - Aidan at them like they were going out of style.  One fell on the table and I made Josh pick it up - I wouldn't even touch it!

My foodie!

He's pretending he's a DJ...

After the outdoor market we realized there was actually an indoor market too!  While small, we really enjoyed it.  Like the outdoor one, it also had restaurants but was filled with great fresh food products too!!  We actually ended up eating lunch here later in the day.

Pretty indoor market

Interesting... it's like hotdogs, cheese on a giant pita

Gorgeous inside

Has anyone seen Rudolph??????

Cool boat next to the market

Since we didn't see a whole lot to do in Helsinki (or maybe I didn't do good research), we decided to take a boat cruise around the islands.  Like many cities in the Baltic Sea, Helsinki is made up of many islands.  Who knew?  So we did an hour an a half boat tour of the islands which was really pretty.

I think this is my favorite picture of them... ever!!!

Josh showing he can photo bomb too!

I guess this is a famous area where you take your rugs to clean them (yourself)

More rug cleaning

After the cruise and lunch, we were on a mission to find the Angry Birds store.  After all, Finland is the home to Angry Birds!!   I hate to say it, but we were really disappointed by the shop which had next to nothing in it.  The kids were still happy though and each got a new Angry Bird stuffed animal (which we needed like a hole in the head).

By then we were pretty much done with Helsinki.  It was a nice, mellow day after the busy days in St. Petersburg.  But I think this is one we don't need to revisit down the road.

Next up... Stockholm!


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