Scandinavian Holiday:  Summer 1999

We took the overnight ferry from Stockholm to Turku and then took the train across to Helsinki.  We were hoping that this would allow us to see a little more of Finland.  In Helsinki, we spent the majority of our time in the area of the harbor.  The market there was always lively and many of the sights were only a short walk (or boat ride) away.  One of our favorites was the Upensky Russian Orthodox Cathedral on the hill.
The Temppeliaukio Church is one of the interesting sights we saw on our bus tour of the city.  This "Church in the Rock" was blasted out of the side of the hill, then topped with a copper dome.  It's an interesting place to visit, but its effect is diminished by the graffiti that decorated the entranceway.
We also visited the park that contains the Sibelius Monument.  I've seen pictures of the monument before and have always assumed that the pipes represent those a pipe organ, thus giving the monument some relationship to music, but we learned that the artist intended the monument only as a purely abstract statement.  As a matter of fact, she was forced to add a "face" of Sibelius on one side to ease the harshness of the abstract.
We were only in Helsinki about three days altogether, and we spent one of them on an all-day trip to Tallinn, Estonia.  We were really glad we did.  There we got to see a city that is working diligently to preserve its historical past, remove the remnants of the Soviet domination, and move rapidly into the Western European community.  
Although our guide told us that the Mafia has a huge influence in Tallinn, there was still evidence that a much larger percentage of the population is enjoying the fruits of the growing prosperity than we would later find in St. Petersburg.  One of the people we talked to told us that "St. Petersburg is Tallinn ten years ago."
In this photo are two of the ships that we took while on this vacation.  The larger of the two is the ferry of the Silja lines that travels between Helsinki and Stockholm.  It is a huge, floating hotel that is attached to a mall and a parking garage.  The smaller ship is the "Kristina Regina."  It was our home for the visa-free trip to St. Petersburg.

Norway - Denmark - Sweden - St. Petersburg
 Pack Your Bags HomepageTravel Albums