Helsinki, Porvoo, Kiala, Finland....
This morning we awoke to the ship docking in Helsinki, Finland. One-tenth of the population lives within metropolitan Helsinki. The official language is Finnish, but they also speak Swedish (due to the conquering Swedes of old). The traffic and street signs use both languages. The major religion is Lutheran and the populace is expected to tithe 1% to the church yearly. 70% of Finland is forested, they farm wheat, barley, and canola. Fish, beef, pork, and potatoes are staples; reindeer although available in the local supermarket is rather expensive according to our guide. The Lapplanders (Samms) in the north, are only allowed to maintain herds of a certain size and they hunt to cull the herd every year. Finland has many lakes with canals that lead to and from the Baltic. Granite and copper are plentiful resources.
Our tour took us out of the city to a medieval town called Porvoo, some 45 minutes outside of Helsinki. Old town has cobble stone streets (and no sprained ankles or skinned knees to report), wooden buildings, and a cathedral. Very charming little town with many shopping opportunities (don’t expect anything). One side of town is the old section the other is modern and commercial.
We then went on to Kiala, which was a farm, and distillery. We had our lunch in the basement of the distillery, nothing really exotic but we did have a very tasty Finnish beer.
The bus headed back to Helsinki where we proceeded to see the city sights. Senate Square, Lutheran Cathedral, Rock Church, and an open air street market. We sail away at 6pm and have another day at sea tomorrow; be forewarned it is a spa day so there most likely will not be a posting.