27.07.2011 - 27.07.2011 30 °C
So today, let’s start with a piece of trivia.....what does NOKIA, text messages and ‘Angry Birds’ have in common? They are all creations of Finland. Oh the things you can learn when travelling.
We opted for a ship tour today, 7 hours to see Finalnd’s second oldest city Porvoo and get a bit of Helsinki sightseeing in before we sail. The highlight of our tour was Karoliina, our tour guide who was a perfect representation of the Finnish population. She had the most wonderful accent, rolling her r’s, pronouncing willage instead of village, showing us that sauna is really a 3 syllable word and so on.
Enroute to Porvoo we stopped at a medieval Luthern Church – a far cry from the grandeur of the Church of Spilled Blood yesterday. The vegetation in Finland would be very similar to Alberta – all the same flowers seem to flourish here that you can see in Calgary.
The town was small with lots of little ‘nook and cranny shops’! We did enjoy a morning coffee, something Fins seem totally addicted to...can you blame them when it gets that cold for so long?
And then a first for us....the tour bus left without us! In all the years of travelling this has never happened to us. We were forced to join the other bus, enduring their jeers for missing the bus. When we arrived at our lunch stop, just down the road, we were reunited with Karoliina, who couldn’t apologize enough. It seems we didn’t ‘miss the bus’. She miscounted and thought she had everyone and left without us. In true Finnish fashion she apologized all afternoon – at least five times!
We had a typical Finnish lunch in the cave of an old farm distillery. It was somewhat cooler in the cave than outside, where we enjoyed Finnish meat rolls (with an HP Sauce like gravy), rosti potatoes and fruit tarts. I sat with a family from Mexico City. The oldest son was so excited when I said I was rom Calgary - seems he spent two years in Calgary at Mount Royal College.
From there we headed back to Helsinki for a few more highlights of the city before making our last stop at the Temple Square Church or the Rock Church as it referred to because the Finnish name is much too complicated to pronounce. The church is built into the bedrock and is topped with a cooper wire roof that provides incredible acoustics, which was evident as we listened to the organist.
We gain another hour’s sleep tonight, something that seems to be precious to all of us. This is a gruelling 10 day cruise – not for the faint of heart!
Enjoy the photos!