Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 8 of our Baltic Capitals Cruise- Helsinki, Finland

I apologize... I messed up when I posted my blog entry yesterday. This is Day 8 of our vacation and should have been posted yesterday. Yesterday I posted Day 9, our time visiting beautiful Stockholm, Sweden. If you would like to visit Stockholm and view the photos from there, please go to the bottom of this blog and go back 1 entry.

This morning we got up and had an early breakfast. We were taking an excursion that we set up through NCL, to go to a small town called Poorvoo along with seeing other sights and the highlights of Helsinki.

Here is how NCL describes this excursion as it is taken directly from their web site:

After an approximately one hour ride along a picturesque coastal road, you’ll stop at the Old Bridge for a magnificent view of Porvoo’s quaint Old Quarter. Porvoo is the second-oldest town in Finland, dating back to 1346. In this popular artists' center you’ll enjoy a walk along cobblestone streets lined with colorful wooden houses. Enjoy some time to explore Porvoo on your own, perhaps browsing the many artisan and handicraft shops, before your short drive to Haikko Manor, where you’ll stop for lunch. After lunch, you’ll ride back to Helsinki for a tour of the city which includes a visit to Temppeliaukio Rock Church and a stop at Senate Square. You’ll also see Market Square, the Uspenski Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, and many other city highlights.

Poorvoo is approximately 30 miles East of Helsinki.

So after having breakfast, we met up with our tour guide and boarded our bus for the days activities.


I apologize for the lack of quality on some of the photos. I was taking photos through the bus windows and I was dealing with reflections and dirty glass.

The harbor was busy first thing in the morning.



We got in our bus and drove through the city of Helsinki. Electric Trolley cars are widely used in Helsinki.


Off to school she goes


One thing that I noticed was that the city was going through some extensive renovations


Photos of the inner harbor

















Finally we get out of the bus so that I can get some quality photos.
Here is a display of bears decorated and representing every country in the world










Veronica with the USA bear

We were getting ready to board the bus again and "bearly" had time to get us photographed together












We were driving on the highway and had this train running right next to us
I think that these are big department stores



Heading out into the country...on our way to Poorvoo








Below is a school with children in the playground
Contemporary housing just outside of Old Town Poorvoo


Our first view of the old section of Poorvoo. This old section consisted of maybe 2-3 streets at the most and each street might have been a city block long...possibly less.
It was not anywhere as big as I thought it might be
Many of the stores that were in Poorvoo were closed up. Some opened after we had been in town for about an hour, while others never opened up. We were disappointed with what we got to see in Poorvoo. I ended up going down back alleys, driveways and behind buildings in order to get some good photos.

Some of the stores might have stayed closed because I think that we were one of the last, if not the last, cruise ship tour of the season.




Below is a really small cafe. The owner was very kind and allowed me to take some photos of his cafe







The streets were pretty much empty when we arrived. After walking around for a while, some of the shops started to open up. I got the feeling that they only opened up because a tour was in town.




There were numerous quaint shops scattered up and down the streets of Poorvoo



Actually...not having lots of people around worked out in my favor. I was able to take all kinds of photos without having to worry about people getting in my shots or me getting in the way of others while taking my photos















I enjoy taking photos of old windows for some reason. Each one has its own character



This is Cafe Fanny where Veronica and I took a break and had something to drink.







Here I am doing my best sign post imitation. You can tell that the lady on the bench is amazed at what a great job I am doing at being a sign post.




On the way back to the bus, I saw this old barn with a chair just sitting in front of it. It was screaming out to me to take a photograph of it. It took me about 4-5 shots to get the photo exactly how I wanted it
Just another nice Finnish neighborhood
The housing in Finland sure was different from that of St. Petersburg, Russia
I saw the name of this place and I knew I wanted a photo of it. Unfortunately it did not come out as sharp as I had hoped but you get the idea
If they can have a Japanese restaurant in Russia, then they can have an Irish Pub in Finland. Whoever made up these rules at least had a sense of humor.


This looks like a plumbing supply store..I think I see a toilet in the window

Pizza is truly a universal language



Maybe its McDonalds that is the universal language
This piece if Finnish art was made out of aluminum


Below are a couple of photos of the Olympic Stadium. Finland hosted the 1952 Summer Olympics. Of course everything has been renovated since then.




Below are several photos of the Rock Church. It was built right into this rock outcropping



This obviously isn't an exclusive practice within the United States
Some sort of transportation terminal. Not sure but could be for the trolleys or buses.



This Department store is the largest in Scandinavia






I noticed that many of the taxi drivers were driving BMWs. Taxi driving must be a rather lucrative job in Finland


After we returned to our ship, the weather began turning for the worse.

Another ferry leaving the harbor
Even though the storm clouds were building up, the windy conditions brought out the sailboats in droves

While I was photographing the sailboats, This guy flew by but I got him before he flew away






The inner harbor of Helsinki


With stormy weather on its way, the waves starting getting rough and this boat was taking a beating

We had left Finland behind, about an hour out and it really started to get really dark out. It was that eery scary dark sky look to it. The clouds we hanging low to the water too.
Eventually it poured outside and the water got rather choppy. Made for a rough ride for a bit.
You knew that the skies were going to break open and it was only a matter of time

Tomorrow we are scheduled to drop anchor (literally) in Nynashamn. Then it will be onto Stockholm, Sweden

To see all of the photographs that were taken in Helsinki, Finland including the ones that did not make onto this blog entry, please view the slid show below. Just click on the picture to enlarge them.

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