Hello Helsinki ... Hello Rain

Trip Start Aug 23, 2008
Trip End Sep 09, 2008

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Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Our good luck appears to have run out and we have a cool, windy, drizzly day.  We departed the ship and from the looks of things - we were not sure what the day would hold for us.  We have been in a different port each day and have three more days to go with two extensive days in St. Petersberg, Russia - Jim was reminiscing about cold Michigan weather - and after we chatted it up a bit with Santa Claus under a nearby awning - Jim decided that he would stay on the ship and let us go off on our own.
Roseann, Glen and I headed out with maps and umbrellas and after I got us turned around by not knowing which direction we were initially headed - we finally found the main shopping area and located the first stop on our list which was the Café Esplande.  A place to dry off - warm up and indulge in a famous Cinnamon Roll (Korvapuustit) and coffee - and to celebrate that today we are paying with Euro - which seems like a bargain compared to all of the different currencies in Denmark, Sweden and Norway and the high costs associated with them as compared to the Dollar.
By this time it was barely raining and we headed back outside.  We entered an enclosed shopping area where Glen found a very nice Skagen pocket watch.  He has been collecting them on this trip and has acquired quite a collection.  This Danish brand of watch is a perfect memento from this trip in Scandinavia.
We popped into Marimekko and checked out the bright and cheerful Finish designs.  That took away the gloom of the day and we were off to the outdoor market by the marina. 
The wonderful looking forest fruits and the fresh chanterelle mushrooms made us wish that we were staying longer and could find a place to eat them.  The grills were fired up with fresh potatoes, sausages, sardines and salmon with dill and the aroma was heavenly.
I was looking for a reindeer hide and finally found a nice one here - and at a much better price than the other countries that we had visited.  We were originally thinking that it would be a nice cozy addition to Choco's house in Costa Rica - but on second thought - it might be a better idea to display it in a different fashion.  He has been chewing on his goat hide lately and we don't want the reindeer to face the same fate.
I found a nice selection of cheese slicers with juniper handles and found the perfect one for our kitchen gadget collection!
Overlooking the market is the Finnish Orthodox Uspensky Cathedral.  We headed up the hill to the Cathedral which houses a beautiful altar of icons.  We were fortunate to be able to take a few photos of the inside of a church. 
From this cathedral we had a nice view of the Lutheran Cathedral - which was our next stop.  Glen is Lutheran and this was an important stop for him.  I should have counted the steps leading up - but I do not think I could have counted while 'stepping'.  It was very intimidating.  The view to the square below was very nice from the top.
By this time we had to think about heading back to the ship.  We popped into a sporting goods store that was opened by the popular lure maker Rapala and what an impressive store that was.  Glen found a very cool Zippo pocket watch here and I found a very nice butane lighter for Jim and a little something for my dad from Rapala - since he must have a minimum 400 Rapala lures already - I had to find something that he might not have with the Rapala name on it.
We ducked back into the Café Esplande on our way back and got Jim a Cinnamon Roll - so he would at least have a little something to remember Finland by.  He enjoyed his day on a quiet ship - he went to the gym, relaxed on the balcony and started reading a new book.
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5025 on

Dad can't wait to see what you bought him! But he said you could have bought me one too!


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