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Turku - Helsinki, our first time in Finland

Home -> Europe -> Finland -> Travelogue Finland -> 19 June 2002

Wednesday 19 June, Turku - Helsinki, our first time in Finland

We have gone to bed at one at night (Finnish time) in our luxurious cabin, but at four o'clock Teije wakes up by a call coming from the cabin loudspeaker telling that some people have to disembark now for Åland / Marianhamina. Then he looks at the time and sees how early it was, but from that moment on he doesn't get much sleep, waiting for the next call to disembark. At half past five we have our real awakening call, repeated several times after that, once by someone of the crew who entered our cabin with a key. At 7 we have to leave the ship, so we have to hurry if we want to have breakfast. But no smoking is allowed in the restaurants, so we look for a place in the smoking-allowed area. It is too crowded to get a cup of coffee, so we decide we will take our coffee later.
After disembarking, we first go into Turku, the oldest town of Finland, where a lively market is going on at half past seven. At last we can have our first cup of coffee and then walk through town. It's a nice place but there is not much too see. Like ignorant tourists we drive through streets where only busses are allowed, but soon we leave the town and are on our way to Helsinki. It is not far, and we want to see more of the country, so we turn to the south, away from the highway.
At Kuusiston Linna we visit a 14th century castle, once owned by a bisshop. There we also try to make a cup of coffee with this new machine we got, a battery-charger for all kinds of machines, like our water-boiler, but the fuse snaps and we know we can't boil water, eggs or whatever in the car. But we are prepared and have new fuses with us.
HelsinkiSoon we are back on the way to Helsinki and we are surprised by the number of speed cameras. Everybody is driving very correctly, they all know about the cameras! At noon we have a short lunch at a motorway restaurant. Teije is very tired and has problems keeping his eyes open after the lack of sleep last night.
About two we arrive at Helsinki, a not too big and orderly town. We can park the car near the centre and we walk around for a few hours. Our tiredness prevents us to roam through the whole town of Helsinki and we just stay near the centre.
On the market place we take a look at the prices and we are surprised it is only a bit more expensive than in Holland. Everybody had told us Scandinavia would be much more expensive than Holland, but all prices are in euros so we have an easy way of comparing them. Souvenirs are the most expensive items. (We didn't know then that they would be even much more expensive in Norway, so we should have bought them here...)
Helsinki Old phone boothVanha Kauphalli is an authentic indoor shopping centre near the market and near the harbor, the souk of Helsinki, that we have to visit. The Fins really did their best to make the city as cozy as possible, and they are still trying while the biggest shopping street is being renewed.
Like in Denmark and Sweden, we see an old-fashioned phone box here. A public phone which is still functioning.
The cathedral of HelsinkiThe most beautiful building in town is the Evangelical Lutheran cathedral, magnificently standing on a hill in the centre of town.
Campsite at HelsinkiAfter 3 hours of walking through Helsinki we decide it has been enough, and we drive out of town, looking for our camping. Some time after we have installed ourselves in our cabin, another Dutch car arrives, people we have seen before in Nyköping. A short talk with them reveals that they are following the same route as we do and reservations for the same campings. So we will see more of them the coming weeks, we suppose.


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