We landed to blue skies, sunshine, and 1 degree, but by the time we got into the city it had really ‘hotted’ up to 4 degrees - just as well; we brought our thermals, scarves, and gloves. Helsinki is such a pretty city, and it doesn't appear to have been discovered by a huge number of tourists. The buildings are very nice, with a combination of old and new, quaint, cobbled streets criss-crossing everywhere. We walked around the city, then took the city tour bus, but then we had to go back to the hotel, as we had been awake for 23 hours and just crashed at 5pm. Sunday dawned very grey and overcast, but thankfully, there was no rain. We caught the ferry to Suomenlinna Island in the bay, which was really interesting and was a fortress built in the 1700s – very impressive - the walls are so huge.
We then went back via the ferry to Market Square, where the Annual Herring Festival was taking place, a very carnival-like atmosphere with lots of stalls, selling all manner of fish, etc., and a lot of the boats were backed up, selling their wares - this is a very fish-oriented society. Gerry got a plate of what looked like paella, rice with all sorts of fishy creatures in it - he said that it was very nice. I had a sausage that had a coating of potato, and it tasted good. Market Square also had a handicrafts, food, and a flea market on Saturday morning where they had the most magnificent flowers on sale.
We really liked Helsinki, even though the language is incomprehensible, and there aren't too many signs in English. Actually, breakfast was a bit different - they seem to have lots of cold meat, smoked fish, and salad-type items, as well as porridge and lots of bread, mainly rye.