Sept. 7, 2017
Helsinki is the capital of Finland and the only European capital
with no medieval past. It was founded in the 16th century by the
Swedes but taken over by Russia in 1809. They gained their independence
from Russia in 1917 but the Russian influence is still seen in the
buildings in the oldest parts of Helsinki. The currency is the Euro.
The official language is Swedish but most people speak Finnish.
we arrived in port, we got on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus for a tour
of the city. Our first stop was the Temppellaukio Church or Church
in the Rock. It was blasted out of solid granite. The church is
capped with a copper dome - a 13 mile long coil of copper ribbon.
Music from the organ filled the church.
second stop was the Sibelius Monument. Six hundred stainless-steel
pipes called "love of Music" are built on solid rock.
It was built by the artist Eila Hiltunen to honor Finland's greatest
composer, Jean Sibelius.
We continued on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus to downtown Helsinki. We
walked to the Stockmann Department Store. It is the biggest, best,
and oldest department store in town and Finland's answer to Harrods
and Macy's. We had a delicious lunch in their top floor cafeteria
which served a wide selection of hot and cold food, reasonably priced.
lunch, we continued walking through town. We stopped at the Helsinki
train station which was designed by Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen
in the Art Nouveau style. He later emigrated to the US where his
son became the architect of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the
main terminal at Dulles Airport. Our walk ended at Market Square
where we caught the Hop-On Hop-Off bus for a ride back to the port.
This was a very cold and windy day so we were glad that we did not
have far to walk to get back to the ship!
To view more photos from our trip to Helsinki, please go to Helsinki
Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to
Locations Visited Photos Map