Upon arrival in Helsinki, Finland, Mark and I took tour D offered by Princess - which is a half day tour allowing you time to explore on your own. Our first stop on the tour was Senate Square, which contains the wonderful "wedding cake" church. It was intially cloudy in the morning, as you can see from some of the photos. It was so beautiful, we actually went back later in the day on our own when all the clouds had passed.
After exploring Senate Square, our tour took us out of the center of town to the wonderful Sibelius monument park. The monument looks something like large pipes from an organ, which makes sense since Sibelius was a computer. It is very impressive in person. Of course, as you can tell from the photos, we couldn't resist having some fun with the pipes (yes, we really stuck our heads up the pipes!).
After visiting the Sibelius monument, we stopped at another "must see", Templaukio Church. The church is actually cut down into a rock hill, and all that you see from outside is the top of the dome. It is indeed very visually striking.
After our tour ended, we decided to take advantage of several more hours in port and we walked around on our own. We strolled down the lower Esplanadi, stopping at another of the 1001 Places to See Before You Die – The Savoy Hotel. Afterwards, we visited Old Market House - a Finnish version of Faneuil Hall in Boston where there are myriad food stalls (including vendors of moose and reindeer, as well as wonderful chocolates). We stopped to view Uspinsky Cathedral, went back to Senate Square in full sun, walked up upper Esplanadi – stopping at another 1001 Places - the Hotel Kamp.
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