Our time in Helsinki was short, but we saw the major sites during our stay. We disembarked from the cruise ship at around 10:00 AM and headed straight into the city for a quick bus tour. We drove from the harbor down the Esplanade towards the main theater of the city. We then drove through one of the larger squares of the city, Senate Square, which was home to the University of Helsin ki and the Lutheran Cathedral. Then, our bus drove through the site of the 1952 Olympics. We then stopped at the Sibelius Monument which is meant to honor the composer of the song, Finlandia, a song which inspires Finnish pride.
Our bus then dropped us off at the Rock Church – a church that was built into the ground and is considered to have great acoustics partially due to the fact that there is over 20 kilometers of copper wire coiled around on the roof.
We were then dropped off at Central Station for an afternoon of free time. A small group of us walked down to the harbor to grab a bite to eat – they had tents set up with street food, fruit & souvenirs. I tried moose meatballs, but I think they were too well done because they were hard as a rock and had no flavor. I’d like to try moose again at a proper restaurant where I’ll know it is cooked properly.
We then walked to the Usbenish Cathedral which was beautifully situated on the top of a hill. The Cathedral itself was pretty impressive, too, and it provided beautiful views of the rest of the city.
We then walked back towards the harbor to grab a drink under a tent while we waited for a rainstorm to pass. We tried a traditional Finnish drink which is essentially a hard lemonade called Long Drink.
Once the rain passed, we walked to the Senate Square to go inside the Lutheran Cathedral. It was impressive on the outside, but very minimalist on the inside. The walls were pained white and the church was barely decorated – it definitely contrasts the opulence of most churches in Europe.
We then headed back towards Central Station and found an English pub to grab a drink in before going to an American sports bar for dinner. We decided to order chips and dip & a sampler platter for the table. It was surprisingly very good!