UP CLOSE WITH HISTORY
Stopping for the day in Helsinki, Finland on our Azamara Quest Summer Baltics cruise, the next stop would bring Russia. Just three days in on a 12-night sailing that visits eight countries, most passengers on Azamara Quest seem to support the notion that Russia is the star of the show. Still, first stop Stockholm was a wonderful overnight experience and Helsinki proved to be equally interesting, albeit totally different. At least for us.
Lisa’s father’s family hails from Finland, immigrated to the United States and settled in Wisconsin. When we think of people from Finland, we think Lisa’s dad Ole, a really nice man who we believed to be a typically stoic Finn. I half expected to see a number of locals in Helsinki that emulated is demeanor. I didn’t. Instead we found a city full of people typical of others we had come in contact with in Europe. No stoic Ole Rajala. Not one on every street corner. Instead we found helpful guides of a chatty nature willing and able to provide efficient directions.
Sailing into Helsinki, the place reminded me of other seaside cities, complete with what looked to be reinforced defence positions designed to ward off invaders.
Fast forward to now and this large body of water drew locals to Summer activities as well.
Full of local flavor, merchants were on hand with hand crafted souvenirs, local market specialties and an abundant offering of potatoes and fish-related fare.
It is times like this that lead us to say silly things travelers say like “I wish I lived here so I could bring some of this home” as though the lovely day we experienced was typical of this place year-round.
Lisa commonly says “I could live here” when we travel to European cities. In Germany’s Wittenberg not long ago, we visited the home of Martin Luther. Today we saw another landmark tagged with Luther’s influence on the world.
A unique landmark in the Helsinki cityscape, the cathedral’s tall, green dome is surrounded by four smaller domes, built in the neoclassical style.
Our walking tour of Helsinki covered a number of locations and landmarks, to be highlighted in an upcoming @exposure photo narrative. Those bring us the ability to present the destinations and a very close representation to what we experienced connecting locally on tour with Azamara Club Cruises. Stop by our popular Sailing Azamara version to see what I mean by that.
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