Today we arrived in Helsinki, Finland. What a beautiful city. It reminded me a lot of Newcastle as it has similar population and is a major port in the Baltic Sea.

Our tour today was for Helsinki highlights and Finnish food tasting. We first took a quick bus tour around the port and harbour before being dropped at Senate Square for photos. The church in the photos is a Lutheran church – something like 85% of the population is Lutheran. Not many windows in the church – more in the roof, I guess to warm it up. It got to around 22 degrees Celsius here today which is very unusual. There were many locals sunbathing in the balmy weather!!! The Statue in the Square is of Alexander II, the Russian emperor. The Russians ruled Finland for over 200 years.

Back on the bus, we were taken to the restaurant for Finnish food tasting. The restaurant was a smoking house and they use a lot of tar in their products. We tried all sorts of fish including salmon and herring with much of it smoked. We also tasted deer – was unusual but nice. We got to try some local beer as well which was extra good – very similar to the German beer we had.

After leaving the restaurant, the bus took us around the city to see the Olympic Stadium (Helsinki hosted the Olympic Games in 1952). However, they are more famous for their ice hockey team and other Winter Olympic type sports. Next visit was to the Church in the Rock. The church was built into the side of a hill and has a massive copper roof. Very beautiful. This marked the end of our tour.

We headed back to the ship and for some shopping at the pier. We then relaxed by the pool with some cocktails. This was a great day – nice and relaxed after having had so many long tours.

Tomorrow we are at sea as we head back to Germany. Not long now!

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