I took these photos in the Finnish capital Helsinki on our Baltic Cruise in the summer; of course the Midnight Sun means it doesn’t really get dark, but the mornings in Scandinavia and Russia at this time of year are particularly spellbinding, with a beautiful soft light that accentuates the region’s beauty and gives way gradually to astonishingly clear blue skies and bright, hot sun (it was a balmy 88F when we were there).
Helsinki was a revelation. I’m a huge fan of Stockholm and Copenhagen, and I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with another Scandinavian capital, but it’s an absolutely stunning city, with wonderful old buildings, designer shops (including of course that perennial Finnish favourite, Merimekko), and a picturesque harbour, close to the Market Square with its array of stalls (including a lot of fish stalls).
Like the rest of Scandinavia, Helsinki is also gloriously laid back and child friendly, making it perfect for families. We ambled along Pohjoisesplanadi, one of the main shopping streets, and enjoyed coffee and doughnuts by the harbour, watched by hungry seagulls; we saw statues (including the Havis Amanda mermaid statue, and also the giant statue of a woman which was erected to symbolise Russian/Finnish friendship); we sat in a few of the beautiful parks; we looked at bottles of Coke with Finnish names; we strolled along by the sea and managed to find our way back to the wrong cruise ship: this was quickly followed by a panicky dash to the right one.
Helsinki was another highlight in our perfect Baltic cruise adventure. I would love to go back someday. *This is my entry for The Gallery – the theme this week is ‘morning.’