Not much to record about Helsinki. The guide was a nice young man with a loudspeaker so the whole group could hear him. we began with a drive through the suburbs, in particular the art-deco suburb of Eira which we went back to, so more photos later. He talked about the history of the town - it's only 80km from Tallinn across the water so they speak very similar languages and have had very similar pasts, though Helsinki's big threat was Sweden, as it was also Russia's. They've been owned by Sweden several times and all the street signs are in both Finnish and Swedish. Swedish was the second language and all learned it at school, but it is now being replaced by English.
Finland has been an independent country only since 1917. They looked at having a king again in 1918 but they had chosen a german (von Hesse) and because of the war they shelved that idea and now have a President who is very popular, we were told.
The bus dropped us in Senate Square, where the Cathedral is.
We then walked to the Helsinki Design Museum, housed in an interesting building
We then walked to the Parliament House, and then, through parks and past the National Gallery, to the Rock Church. Apparently a contest was held to design a new church on this site and a winner was chosen, but the war intervened and the funds ran out so nothing was ever done.
In the 60's, I think it was, the project was revived. A new contest was held, and the winner had said 'let's blow it up!' So the city did blow it up and in the hole in the ground they built the new church.
We then began a long walk around the lake where the Olympic rowing was held, until we came to the Sibelius monument.
From the Sibelius Monument we hopped back on the bus, but asked to be dropped back in the city. We got off at the centre of town and walked for a bit, looking at the shops, until we found a cafe with a buffet and had a lovely lunch with hot salmon and a sauce with salad and wine for 9euros each!! Plus fre wifi!!! We stayed here for a while and got emails and posts and managed to buy some more internet time with Telstra.
We then went to the Boulevard (Bulevarden in Finnish) and bought ice creams and wandered down here until we got back to Eira. This is a Art Deco suburb (art aficionados may wish to comment) and there are some lovely buildings. Many of the consulates are here.