Our group assembled in Helsinki to begin our adventure. We have six from Sun City Grand (Corrine, Jerry, Lyn, Frank, Randall and me), three from Sykesville, MD (David, Julia and Laura) and one from Tucson (Deni). Two others from Tacoma, WA (Jacko and Ruth) were supposed to be with us, but were unable to travel on the same dates we are. They will be on the same trip about a week behind us. This blog is for them too, they just won’t be in any photos (unless they E-mail me some).
In spite of having traveled overnight to get here, everyone was up and on the bus by 9:00 AM for a sightseeing tour of Helsinki. This city of about 600,000 is the largest in Finland and its capital. It’s a small city by international standards, but when you figure over 10% of Finland’s 5.5 million people live here, it’s pretty big. It is also surprisingly cosmopolitan – from the HUGE Stockman’s department store to the beautiful performing arts center, this is one lovely city.
Much of the architecture is Empire Neoclassical, built during the time Finland was part of Russia, but in recent years modern architecture has become much more popular.
Tomorrow we fly to northern Finland, Sami country. From there we board the Hurtigruten ship to cruise down the coast of Norway. Our internet access may be spotty, so watch for occasional updates of our adventures!
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