Summer, Day 1, Helsinki

>> Saturday, July 04, 2015

The first day of our summer holiday, and our 9th visit to this wonderful country, nearly didn't get off the starting blocks at all, thanks to the ridiculous situation we arrived at when walking into the airport at Edinburgh this morning at 4.40am.
Several months ago now, a new check-in system was installed and it's fair to say, based on what I've read in the press, and our experiences this morning, that it's nothing short of a disaster. It was only thanks to the fact that we slipped into the front of a massive queue (actually quite unintentionally) that we managed to get through the hordes of disgruntled and angry passengers and up to departures in time for our flight at 7.00am. As it turned out, the flight to Manchester was delayed for over an hour as we waited for 9 passengers who weren't as lucky as us, and who in the end never actually made it to the plane at all. I can only imagine how they must be feeling this evening.

Anyway, although it was very tight, we made it to our connecting flight in time, and arrived to hot sunshine in Helsinki this afternoon. Once checked into our usual hotel, we strolled down to the central area and enjoyed fabulous pizzas in a Sicilian restaurant that we discovered last year. Keith proclaimed his was "wonderful'!

Tomorrow, we head north to Lahti to collect Anna's folks from the train there, and on to our cottage by Lake Palvajarvi, close to Jyvaskyla. Although it's forecast to be cooler, the sun should still hopefully be out to welcome us as we leap into the lake for the first time this year!

View from the balcony of our hotel here in Helsinki.

In the gorgeous sunshine of the Senate Square.

On the steps of the Cathedral, in 30c heat!

Sandy making contact with friends back home!

To say I'm happy to be here again would certainly be an understatement!

A ladybird's eye-view of Helsinki Cathedral!

Down by South Harbour on a gorgeous, hot evening. 


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Silja Line - Sweden to Finland

Silja Line - Sweden to Finland
A fantastic way to arrive in Finland is by using the Tallink Silja service from Stockholm in Sweden. These are magnificent boats which take you overnight into Helsinki's centre, and to travel by car with a good quality sea-view cabin is relatively inexpensive. Buffet dinners are outstanding!

Viking Line - Sweden to Finland

Viking Line - Sweden to Finland
An inexpensive way to arrive in Finland is to take the Viking Line ferry service from Stockholm to Helsinki. This overnight service gives the opportunity to sleep in a spacious cabin, taking your car, and arriving the next morning in central Helsinki. This service operates at the same time as the Silja Line service each day.

Finnlines - Germany to Finland

Finnlines - Germany to Finland
On several occasions over the past few years, we have used the excellent FinnLines ferry service from Travemunde in Germany, to sail right up the Baltic Sea to Helsinki. It's an expensive option, but it is a truly memorable journey on what are very modern and extremely comfortable boats. Highly recommended!

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