Thursday, August 17, 2017

Helsinki, Finland August 15, 2017

There are many advantages of cruising on a small ship and I will tell you about them when we have a day at sea, but one stands out today. We left the big ships behind when sailing into Helsinki and took a position at  the dock, right in the heart of Helsinki, at Market Square!
The big ferris wheel was right outside the ship and it even had one car that was a sauna - the Finns love their saunas! There are actually around 2.2 million saunas in this country, 1 for every 2.5 people. We were told that 99% of Finns take a sauna at least weekly and it is said that in this country, there are more business agreements made in saunas than in actual meetings. I just don't see that happening in Toronto...

Camera Guy and I  did not sign up for tours today but rather followed a walking
tour from the local tourist office.  Azamara invites local tourist offices onboard the ship in the morning when they arrive in  port to advise passengers on things to do,  so we left armed with our maps and some advice from Elliot's friend, Laureline,  who used to live here...but first Market Square for a teensy bit of shopping LOL.  There were some unique hats and gloves (yes I did buy both) and we picked up a viking Christmas decoration- how could we resist????

Our walk took us through the streets of this European capital with its quaint cobblestone streets and grand squares with beautiful buildings.

There is definitely not a shortage of coffee shops and Camera Guy and I stopped into the Cafe Engel for one...and it was deeelicious!
The Finns believe it or not are the biggest coffee drinkers in the world.
On average, per person, they consume 26.4 pounds of the coffee per year!

We also took a tram around the city - not any old tram but one that had a bar so we enjoyed a pint while looking at the sights:)

Here are some pics from our day.

The Three Blacksmiths

At the train station
Fun Facts

  • Finland has obtained a medal at every Olympic Games since 1908.
  • The country has National Sleepy Head day (Finnish: Unikeonp√§iv√§), where the last person in a family to wake up has water thrown on them or is thrown into a lake by the rest of the family.
  • “The land of midnight sun” is another name for Finland because in the summer the sun shines all night and all day. Helsinki enjoys long days of almost 19 hours during summers. Conversely, during winters, the nights are longer with almost 18 hours of darkness. 
  • It hosts the Wife Carrying World Championships (in which male competitors race while each carrying a female teammate) every year.
  • Finland’s Rovaniemi (Lapland), the ”official hometown of Santa Claus,” is one of the main attractions for many people. Lapland is also one of the best places to view the breathtaking Northern Lights.
Next Stop St. Petersburg....
Until tomorrow

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