Helsinki, Finland – July 26, 2012 – By Lancelot

We get ready to board the boat to Helsinki the capital of Finland.   While we are waiting to put the car on the  boat  I check out the store next to the boat.  The  store is full of beer,  scotch, wine, spirits, whiskey, …. nothing but alcohol.  I watch as workers load huge crates of alcohol onto the ship.

Finally it’s time to board the ship.   I circle around the ship and looking at advertisements for  Jack Daniels and  beer mixed with coke.  People all over the boat are walking around with big boxes of alcohol.  The store on the boat is full with people buying alcohol.  Walking onto the sun deck  I see bunches of people drinking beer and smoking.

I want to  see the view.  At first I see nothing but the sea…but as we get closer to Finland I see lots of  little islands scattered all around the coast.

Ferry Ride

Arriving in Helsinki

Finally we arrive in  Helsinki,  drive of the boat, and find a 24 hour parking garage at the train station.   Then we go to Kauppatori Market Square.   The market is full of stands selling all kinds of vegetables, fishes, fruits, and meats.  There are  stands making food so we stop at one of the stands and get some Finnish meatballs with round potatoes and vegetables.  We also get some fried squid rings.   It was really good.

The Market

After filling our tummy,  we  walk the harbor and up the hill to the Russian Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral.  It is a beautiful church made with red bricks and classic onion domes.

The Russian Orthodox Church

We chill there and go do some more sight-seeing.

Helsinki

Playgrounds

Finally it is time to go to dinner at the Sea Horse.  We begin our 20 minute hike to the Sea Horse.  The Sea Horse has not been remodeled since the 1930s.  A guy at the door, checking coats,  asks my dad to give him his camera bag.   My dad says “no” because it is full of camera gear.  After a lot of talking my dad says his bag is a purse and he won’t turn over his purse.  🙂  The coat check guy gives up and just takes our coats.

We sit down and it’s really hot inside because they don’t have air conditioning.  To take the bite off, they give us some  refreshing  cold water with free ice.   We ask the waiter what’s good to eat and she says,  “everything, we don’t sell bad food.”   Dad responds, “We will see about that.”   The challenge is on.

We order  1 cream and mushroom soup, 1 hunters sandwich, 1 brewers sandwich, and I wiener schnitzel, and  1 Perch a la mannerheim.  Then we wait.  Finally, the food arrives and it was all great.  They told the truth.  After eating and we go get are coats and the coat check guy  says it will be 2 euros.  We asked him why he didn’t tell us about the charge when we came in,  but my dad didn’t want trouble so he gives him the 2 euros.  We didn’t really care because the  food was really good.

We start our hike back to the garage at the train station. We stop and sit down for a little bit on some steps and enjoy the view of the train station.  There is light for most of the day in Helsinki, even though it is really late.  We don’t know the time, and but we feel tired.

Dad doses off for a second, and some old ladies come up to me and start talking to us.  Dad wakes and they ask him if we are his kids, and if the camera I have on my neck is mine.  Dad says “of course” and after some more chit-chat we restart our hike.  We get to the garage at the train station but the doors are all locked up.   We try the elevator but it is off for the night.  We can’t get in so we try to go down the ramp that the cars take.  Amazingly it opened, I guess the 4 of us weigh us much as one of those tiny European mini cars.  🙂

We get our car and hit the road for Turku.

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