By Peter | October 9, 2007
From my book 1000 Places To See Before You Die I jotted down some ideas for Helsinki, Finland before departing our ship. We spent the morning walking around the city admiring the Finnish architecture. There were a lot of people walking around and enjoying the beautiful summer day. In the summer the days are very long. There are only a few hours of darkness in June and July so many people take advantage of the light and good weather. Our first stop of the day was to walk down to the Market Square. This international market takes place every day and is located at the end of the Esplanade next to the South Harbor. They were selling traditional Finnish food, vegetables, fruit and crafts.
A must see recommendation of mine was the 150-year-old Helsinki Cathedral at the Senate Square. The inside of the Lutheran church was sparsely but beautifully decorated. It was probably one of the most serene and beautiful churches that I have ever been to. The walls were all white and there was very little if anything hanging on the walls. It was a calming place to come and worship. There are a lot of narrow steps to get up to the church so be ready for a climb. The next stop was the very ornate Uspenski Cathedral, which was completed in 1868 and is the largest Orthodox Church in Europe. It was built for the Russians at a time when Finland was part of the Russian Empire.
Our only requirement for a lunch spot was that they had to have reindeer on their menu. We stopped by the Savoy which was a recommendation from my book. The Savoy is one of Finland’s most important eating establishments. It was commissioned and designed in 1937 by Alcar Aalto one of Finland’s most famous residents. It was a favorite dining place for Finland’s president of the first republic Carl Gustav Mannerheim. The Savoy was serving lunch and had a reindeer carpachio salad on the menu. We had a nice window table looking out over the tree lined Esplanade. I found the reindeer to be delicious and we had an excellent lunch.
We spent the rest of the afternoon window shopping and eating ice cream. I stopped in the Tumi store and checked out their selection. The store didn’t have anything that you couldn’t get at Luggage n’ Leather in Minnetonka, Minnesota or online at www.LuggagePros.com. In fact, I think we have a better selection! Our ship left port that evening and we were heading to the country of Estonia.