Early on Tuesday morning we arrived in Helsinki. Once again the approach to the port was spectacular, through islands and inlets, and with views on the waterfront of the two cathedrals, one Orthodox and one Lutheran. We docked close enough to the centre to walk in.

JW and  I had decided not to go on any of the tours here, but had arranged to go on a boat trip around the harbour and its surrounds in the afternoon, so wandered along to explore the market.

I don’t know whether they have different stalls on other days, but I was very glad that we were there for the craft market. It was an Aladdin’s cave of beautifully crafted wares, and I found great difficulty in restricting my purchases.

They had (non pc) stalls of fur items, lots of amber jewellery, wooden goods,art, pottery, knitwear and mixed stalls. All were beautifully made and displayed and usually attended by the craftsmen and women who had made them.

Quayside Market Helsinki

Quayside Market Helsinki

 Everyone we spoke to spoke very good English and they were all only too glad to explain how the things were made etc.

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It would have been easier to buy things for girls, but we did manage to find a few things for our two grandsons, and Jennie  was easy as she likes amber jewellery!

At the far end of the market were the fruit and veg stalls, which were very colourful and tempting.

Beyond the market was a statue of a young girl, who, our guide later in the day informed us, caused a bit of an uproar when erected 100 years ago because the model was “a little bit pregnant!”

The young lady who was "a little bit pregnant!"

The young lady who was "a little bit pregnant!"

Another stone  figure which amused me was the giant tortoise. I took this picture to give Henry a complex 🙂

Henry's large relative!

Henry's large relative!

 We went back to the ship for lunch and then went off for the trip around the harbour. Unfortunately this had to stay in the harbour because the sea outside was getting stormy. This, of necessity, curtailed the guide’s scope, so she told us of the chequered history of the Finns  and the succession of occupiers, before they eventually achieved independence.

She also gave us her views on politics, ecology and the economy, which we found very interesting and reinforced my views , that all the ordinary people in any country want is security for their families and peace to enjoy it. 

Helsinki waterfront

Helsinki waterfront

 We left Helsinki at 5 pm and spent the evening comparing our experiences with those of our friends who had been on the various tours, to the church built in the rock, to Sibelius’s birthplace and many other inviting parts, so once again we decided that we needed at least a week there!

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