Helsinki to Stockholm

We arrived in Helsinki for a very quick visit on the morning of June 27th. We started our tour with a drive along the Esplandi, a beautiful tree lined boulevard, and then we toured the Church of the Rock (Temppeliaukio Church), a church blasted into solid bedrock. We walked to the Sibelius Academy Concert Hall where two young students (violinist Viola and pianist Maija) played works by Jean Sibelius and Einojuhani Rautavaara (photos not allowed). Next we went to Senate Square with its striking Lutheran Church. Gary took the bus back to the waterfront, but I walked back and went through Market Square and Market Hall (Vanha Kauppahalli).

On June 28th, we stopped briefly in Visby, on the Swedish Island of Gotland (good land). It was misty when we arrived and then changed to light rain. It’s the only rain we encountered on the whole trip. In Visby, we went by bus to a Hogklint, a cliff overlooking the town, and then into town for a tour of Gotlands Fornsal (historic) Museum, which covers 8,000 years of history. The story/picture stones (runes) were especially interesting. Next we wandered through parts of the town, past remnants of the old wall and, finally, through the botanical garden.

On June 29th, we arrived in Stockholm, Sweden, disembarked from Le Boreal, and checked into the Sheraton Stockholm Hotel for a 2-night stay. We took a bus tour around parts of Stockholm and then toured City Hall and went on a walking tour through Gamla Stan (old town). The morning of June 30th, we were bused to Vasa Museum for a tour. The Royal War Ship Vasa was completed in 1628. It sank in Stockholm harbor a mere 15 minutes into its maiden voyage. It was rediscovered in the 1950s, raised in 1961, and has since been restored. In the afternoon, we had free time, so we took the subway to the King’s Garden, walked to the waterfront and took the 12 Bridges Boat Tour. Then we walked through the King’s Garden and back to the hotel. Later, we took the subway again and went to the Hard Rock Café for our final evening in Sweden. The next day, we flew home.    

© Virginia E. Vail 2012