Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Batlic Cruise Next Stop Helsinki, Finland

I've been recapping my Baltic Cruise on the blog for the past few weeks and
I'm having so much fun going back through all of the photos.
Today I'm going to share some from our third stop on the the cruise.

The day before in St. Petersburg was pretty full, so we took things pretty easy in Helsinki.
We headed straight to the Market Square. 

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki is the largest city in Finland and the capital.  Its perched on the shores of the Gulf of Finland by the Baltic Sea.  It was founded in 1550 by King Gustav of Sweden and is the northernmost European Capital. 

Helsinki, Finland

As you can tell from that blue sky, we had perfect weather the day we visited.
But, this is not the norm.  In the heart of winter, Helsinki will go more than 50 days with no sunlight at all and will see over 100 consecutive days of snow.  They experience cold and wet weather much of the year.
(I will never complain again about London winters.  Much.)

Helsinki, Finland
  
During our travels, I collect Christmas ornaments.  I try to find something that will remind me specifically of that place, so I bypass the Santas and Snowmen.  I'm particularly happy with the "ornament" we found in Finland.  It's actually a little Kuksa Cup which is a traditional Scandinavian drinking cup carved out of birch.  It's a beautiful piece of folk art and I can't wait to hang it on my tree this year.
Helsinki, Finland

I've mentioned that the meals on the cruise ship were okay but not fantastic.  Helsinki is where I had the best meal of the entire trip.  Just looking at this picture is making my mouth water.  That salmon was so good I almost cried.  Matthew was brave and had the Reindeer Delight with meatballs, sausage and potatoes.  He loved the reindeer meat.  We so enjoyed this simple but fabulous food.  Not to mention how nice all of the people were as we strolled through the market.

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland 
The city of Helsinki is spread out over 300 different islands all connected by bridges and ferries.  So the perfect way to experience this aquatic city was with a sightseeing boat trip around some of the islands.  For less than 20 euros each, we purchased tickets on sight and boarded right from the market square.   Everything was explained with a recorded commentary in both Finnish, Swedish and English.  It's a beautiful city.
Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Passing by these huge icebreakers reminded us that in the winter most of these waterways will have turned to ice as the Gulf of Finland freezes.  The entire Baltic Sea has even frozen over before, most recently in the 80's. 

Helsinki, Finland

Many of the islands are dotted with these adorable little summer cottages.  The boat trip was such a nice, relaxing way to see the city.  I just love being on the water.  Visiting all of these gorgeous cities on the Batlic Sea, made me realize that I need to retire close to large body of water.

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

I would love to hear from someone who has experienced Helsinki in the winter.

Have you visited Helsinki?   How did you spend your time?



28 comments:

  1. Aside from St. Petersburg, Helsinki was my least favorite stop on our Baltic cruise. It was just kind of blah to me. We did find a really great craft brewery and had some pretty fantastic reindeer, but everything else didn't wow me. Everyone was very friendly, though!

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  2. We love reindeer food up here and while I have never been to Helsinki we are at 62 degrees north and they are at 60 degrees north so our winters are not to different!

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  3. It looks a lot like Stockholm! It's also another city we hope to get to while living in Scandinavia - perhaps next summer!

    We also enjoy reindeer on occasion - it tastes similar to other red, game meats.

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  4. It looks like summer is definitely the time to visit Helsinki! Gorgeous blue skies, and the salmon looks delicious!

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  5. I agree with Jay... it does look a bit like Stockholm. I would absolutely love to visit Finland at some point!!

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  6. I always hear really good things about Helsinki! Looks great!

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  7. I would love to go to Helsinki in the winter. It would be so beautiful and different from Los Angeles!

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  8. Oh that last photo is glorious!
    If we had gone, I would have had the salmon, and Gregory would have had the reindeer :)
    And guess what... I collect Xmas ornaments when I travel too!

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  9. Thanks for sharing this with us, I never knew it was spread over all those islands. See blogging is educational!

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  10. Your photos are lovely as always. Salmon is probably one of my favorite foods, but I am not sure if I have tried reindeer. I have tried caribou and elk when I visited the rockies and I am thinking one of those might be similar to reindeer. I remember it being kind of bland, but that might of had more to do with how it was prepared than the meat itself.

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  11. Thank you, Sarah. It was such a pretty day. I did taste the reindeer and it was a little too intense for me. But, oh that salmon!! I would love to visit the Rockies again! Oh, and the Smokey Mountains are just heaven.

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  12. I had no idea either. It was fascinating. Most of the coastal cities we visited on the cruise were spread out over islands, including St. Petersburg.

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  13. We are definitely blogging soul sisters. Texas connections, wine, expats and now the Christmas ornaments. I love decorating the tree every year and remembering all of the special places we been.

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  14. That husband of mine. ::shakin' my head:: He is going to get coal in his stocking this year for sure!

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  15. I'm so glad we got to stop and learn experience it for a few hours. They told us that in the winter the waterways that we toured through will all be frozen over. I can't even imagine that city in the winter. I'd love to go back.

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  16. They had a zoo that is supposed to be really great. It was actually out on one of the islands. I wish we would have had time to visit. I guess we'll have to go back.

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  17. I still dream about that salmon. It was the freshest and tastiest I've ever had.

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  18. Stockholm was our next stop and they were both very similar. I think I preferred Stockholm a little bit. I would love to get back up to that area in the winter. I'm loving your blog, Jay and I'm so glad you're reading and commenting!

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  19. I still can't believe the Baltic Sea actually freezes over!

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  20. It was a quiet day for us since we were so tired from the previous day. I can't wait to read the review of your Baltic Cruise!

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  21. I know, this winter I need to force myself down to the fjord where we live and take pictures of the ice!

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  22. Yes, you must! Because I can not wait to see them!!

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  23. I bet that city is magical in the winter!

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  24. I'm hoping to do a few winter trips in Northern Europe the winter. I say embrace the cold and snow and enjoy!!

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  27. I've been to Helsinki in December and I don't recommend it visiting during the winter. I am used of cold winters with degrees above zero, but I have never been so cold in my life as I was in Helsinki. Despite my good* warm wardrobe, I was so cold, I couldn't stand being outside for more than 15 minutes. (*good = completely suitable for cold winters in the Alps) I deeply regret I couldn't enjoy exploring the city as it was simply too cold to walk around.

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