Finlandia Hall, Helsinki

Finlandia Hall, Helsinki

"Why Finland?", we get asked. Well, you should try it. Its total population at roughly 5.5 million is only slightly bigger than Sydney's 5.0 million. Helsinki, the capital, is about 700,000. Finland has the lowest population density of any European country (although double that of New South Wales), the roads are quiet, the natives are friendly, law-abiding, multi-lingual (they all learn English from an early stage at school), and the scenery, although generally quite flat, can be breathtaking, especially in Lakeland. Even the cloud formations were often unusually attractive.

We haven't, of course, sampled their cold, dark winter, but our experience of summer was very pleasant.

The Lilla Roberts hotel turned out to be an excellent 'second choice' - there were a couple of major international conferences in town, and we weren't able to book the Haven, where Anne had stayed on her previous visit.

  • Some churches didn't allow cameras at all, but fortunately the Uspenski even allowed my tripod.

  • We saw Sea Cloud II again in Venice in Oct 2018.

  • Day 3, Senate Square, assembling for a Grand Parade to mark the end of a week-long Gay Pride festival. Mine wasn't the only head that was turned!

  • Helsinki (Lutheran) Cathedral

Here's a picture of the "strawberry cake" cocktail at the Lilla Roberts, and a couple of brief videos (trying to be clever), one of a band playing in Senate Square, and the other overlooking the busy open-air market (Kauppatori = Market Square) down by the harbour, viewed from the Uspenski Cathedral.

Mansikkakakku, literally 'strawberry cake', an absolutely 'herkullinen' (delicious) creation of the barman at the Lilla Roberts hotel. We soon learned how to pronounce it, so we could order some more.

Thur 30 June - exploratory walk

I call this "exploratory", but remember that Anne had been here briefly on her way home from Spain in 2013.  Paul was probably here on business in the early '70s, but remembers nothing about it.

The photos in this part of the trip are pretty well captioned, so don't need too much additional commentary.

Fri 1 July - City Red tourist bus, then walking ...

City Red tour bus, Senate Square, Finlandia Hall, the main railway station, and getting lost.

Sat 2 July - Senate Square & Uspenski Cathedral

Senate Square, the Lutheran cathedral, and a gay pride parade.

streetscapes, Harbourside, and the Uspenski (Orthodox) cathedral.

Sun 3 July - Cruising the eastern archipelago

A tip for visitors to Helsinki - Most restaurants are closed on Sundays, and the few that are open are heavily booked in advance.

Mon 4 July - Helsinki


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