Day 21 Helsinki, Finland

Trip Start May 18, 2013
Trip End Jun 14, 2013

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Where I stayed
On board the Norwegian Star
What I did
Helsinki City Hall (Kaupungintalo)
Read my review - 3/5 stars
Sibelius Park & Monument Helsinki
Read my review - 3/5 stars
Suomenlinna Castle Helsinki
Read my review - 2/5 stars
Saint Nicholas Church
Church in the Rock

Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Sunday, June 9, 2013

Helsinki is the largest city and capital of Finland. It is located in southern Finland on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. Helsinki has a population of just over 600,000 making it the most populous urban area in Finland. In 2009 Helsinki was chosen as the World Design Capital narrowly beating Eindhoven.

Helsinki was very disappointing. After taking a bus from the port into the city we walked through a small market, selling clothing and food, up to the Saint Nicholas Church. A very attractive church sitting on a hill overlooking the city of Helsinki. When we went inside we realized that there was a service on the go, so we left. What astounded us was the tourists who were walking around the church taking photographs while the service was being held.

Our next stop was at the Sibelius Monument a weird looking construction made from stainless steel pipes with holes cut into them and deposits of weld metal in some form of a pattern. We were told not to touch the pipes because of the sharp edges but of course this did not stop some of our co-travelers pawing the monument. Apparently a tourist had previously stuck his head up one of the pipes and the fire department had to cut him free. Some people.

We then went to the Church in the Rock which was billed as one of the major attractions of Helsinki. If this is one of their major attractions then they are lacking in serious tourist attractions. After a relatively short time in the church we left seeking some serious cultural enrichment.

This left us with our trip to Suomenlinna Island, something that I had been looking forward to, being a UNESCO world heritage site and all. After a short boat trip we arrived at the fortified island and started our tour. What a disappointment. The island is seriously run down and besides the very ordinary castle there was very little else to see. We decided to head for home and enjoy an early dinner on the ship. So much for Helsinki.

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