Thursday 28thJune 2018
We weren’t meeting our tour guide until 10:00 am today, so we decided we’d head off the ship at 9:30 am. We got off really quickly and headed over to where the tour guide will meet us. We found Jenny, our tour guide for the day, and got on the bus, ready to wait for the rest of our group. We set off right on 10am. We went for a drive through downtown Helsinki. It looked very pretty. Our first stop was Sibelius Park, which is a monument to the famous Finnish composer. The monument looked like steel organ pipes, but was meant to represent trees as they are all different. It was very pretty, made more so by a violinist playing classical music (I’m assuming that it was music created by the composer).
Our next stop was the Rock Church. This was very impressive. Jenny explained that people who are religious pay a 1% tax and have the right to have a place to worship locally. The original church design was massive and would cost a lot of money to build. Two brothers came up with a design to use the rock that was there, initially to go underground a little so that the roof can be extended. The church was amazing, using the original granite for the walls and then glass and copper for the roof. The acoustics are amazing.
After this, we went to the Senate Square to see the White (Helsinki) Cathedral. It is a Lutheran church and looks very imposing on top of the stairs. We also saw the Senate building and the Helsinki University. We then went to the Market Square. Phil bought an ice cream and I had some strawberries. There were signs everywhere about the seagulls attacking to take the icecream out of the cones / cups. Phil was very vigilant, but we saw one guy who wasn’t and the seagulls got all of the ice-cream.
We ended up getting the bus further back towards the main shopping centre, not far from the central train station. We wanted to check out the Marks and Spencer sales. The other people from our group went back to the bus, but Phil, Kim and I decided to get the tram back. Jenny had told us that Tram number 7 that went west would take us back to the port.
We had a great time shopping, although Kim didn’t find anything that she liked, I did.We went to the tram station and got a ticket, and the tram came really quickly. We got on and went to the ship. It was really easy and cheap – only 2.50 Euro each.
We got back on the ship and headed to movie album trivia. Kim and I lost. We had dinner in the Manhattan Room, with a mini performance by the Burn the Floor dancers (Kim didn’t come last night).
We are having an early night tonight as we are going to St Petersburg tomorrow. We need to be in the theatre in the morning, ready to go by 8am. The tour is starting at 8:30, so hoping all goes smoothly.