20 June, 2012


We arrived in Helsinki, Finland on May 31, greeted by perfect weather for walking and exploring; bright and sunny, but cool. On our own, we plotted a route and took off in search of The Lutheran Cathedral of St. Nicholas which was described in the literature as being impressive and dominating the Senate Square area, sounds easy enough... right? We weren't disappointed by the lovely sights and floral abundance that we encountered along the way.
This church looks impressive and dominating...

It is indeed impressive, but it is St. John's church; built to accommodate the overflow from The Lutheran Cathedral of St. Nicholas, it is the largest stone church (seating capacity) in Finland.

We stopped for directions and to use the facilities at a Picnic; super clean and ultra modern, 
think of it as Finland's equivalent to McDonald's... real dishes though, no paper or plastic.

The tulips and Cherry trees were blooming, the public areas were well landscaped and pristine.

Helsinki's famed Seal Fountain with the city's symbol: "The Daughter of the Baltic" at Market Square; we're still in search of the Lutheran Cathedral... Martin, where are you?

Market Square... the flowers were, literally, prolific!

...strawberries, too!

One stop shopping... really, what more could you want?

Built on a rock... could this be the church we're looking for?

The Helsinki Orthodox Church.
Our search for Martin continues.

These "Hop On - Hop Off" buses were plentiful throughout Scandinavia;
offering one price for a whole day of sightseeing, they are quite popular.
Could this be The Lutheran Cathedral of St. Nicholas? It's impressive and dominating...

The vast interior beautifully displayed large, soaring, domed ceilings and a magnificent pulpit...

... and an equally magnificent pipe organ...

...as well as a statue of Martin Luther! 
Yes, this is the Lutheran Cathedral;
at long last, we had found Martin.

Closed pews (incredibly straight-backed, hard, and uncomfortable) to trap heat in the winter.

I found this interesting... the prayer time is posted as occurring between 11:45 until 12:20
but the clock icon shows 11:00. Hmmm.

Adorable display in the toy store window... it looked like a step back in time.

Oh, look... a toy store for me, too!

These posted sidewalks are for real... don't even think about walking in the bike lane, you'll be run over!
Ask me how I know!

Life is Good!

Observances from my journal:
1. There are fifty three granite steps up to the Lutheran Cathedral.
I did not see an elevator, ramp or any handicap entrance anywhere.
2. We covered seven miles walking from the ship, around the city (in search or Martin Luther) and back.
3. The best meal so far (it's all been incredible) was tonight's dinner: 

scallops in a delicate lemon-cream sauce.
4. The best entertainment on the ship so far: 

Kyle Esplin, a Scottish pop-classical pianist, amazing talent!

Tomorrow's port: Stockholm


Quiltdivajulie said...

Helsinki was one of my favorite cities during that long-ago summer orchestra tour . . . the flowers were incredible then, too. Beautiful photos that even show the clean, crisp air!

LizA. said...

What a beautiful day for sightseeing. I'm enjoying your trip narrative very much. A welcome break from painting and other tedious chores.......

Janet O. said...

Looks like a beautiful city for a walking tour (albeit a long one). Gorgeous buildings, flowers and McDonalds!
How many reindeer skins did you bring home? : )

AnnieO said...

Gorgeous! Glad you had so much to admire and photograph on your trek to Martin :) We had some Finnish neighbors growing up who were such great people. I sure miss them.

Charleen said...

I am enjoying being a virtual tag-along on your trip! Each day I think that's my favorite place and the next day, I find a new one!! Thank you so much for sharing.

Michele Bilyeu said...

Being half Finnish (my father) and half French (my mother) this is as close to Finland as I'll every get. Made me sad to know that, but very happy to see photos of a beautiful place. I can hear Sebilius' beautiful sounds of Finlandia playing in my mind!

It would have meant the world to my father to have gotten the chance to visit Finland even once before he died. He was so proud of his heritage, and his pioneering parents traveling to homestead in Alaska. Thank you for this!

Ancestor Collector said...

Although large and beautiful,the Lutheran Cathedral seems very plain in comparison to some of the other churches you've seen up till now. You and Martin make a cute couple. ;-)

Carrie P. said...

oooo! I like Helsinki.
sounds like you got your exercise.

Jeanne said...

I really enjoyed this post! The area is beautiful.