Day 17: Motherland! Helsinki, Finland

Today we are in Finland. It’s a short tour today. We are not in port very long. However, since this is the homeland of my mother’s side of the family, it’s good to get the kids out on Finnish soil. A brief stop in Senate Square gave us a quick photo opportunity.

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Another quick stop at the rock church. They sure move you fast on this tour. 10 minutes and off you go…

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This one is for you, Mom.

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Always fun to see some vintage records.

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Doesn’t get more tourist than this.

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As I have said before, cruises can be a great way to get a taste of a lot of different places in a short period of time and a way to decide where you would like to spend more time visiting on your next time around on the continent. Right now, Stockholm is on my return list. I’d like to see it in the spring or fall.

Moving on we stopped at the monument to composer Sibelius. I think it looks like digital sound waves. However it is from the 60’s so who knows what the sculpture was thinking.

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I was happy to find ice cream. Did you know Finland won the design capital award for 2012? I guess during those dark cold winters the fine arts still exist here. It’s nice to see they have a cafe life. I’m sure thy make the most of their summers.

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Also, unlike some of the other countries we’ve been in. I see far more alternative culture youth. I would have taken more pics of the pierced and blue haired but I didn’t want to be so obvious.

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Hold your had USA… The 80s are in fact on their way back. Love it!

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Just as we are back to the boat, the rains begin. Time for Ben and I to hit the hot pool and like my kin of Finlandia, I shall enjoy a sauna before dinner.

Ben and I are now sitting in the buffet having a cold drink and looking out the window. Like Minnesota (for new readers, that’s where I was born and grew up) there is a lot of construction during the summer. God knows they have long winters so the window to get outdoor work done is very small. Did you know that most ocean ice breakers are built-in Finland and many live here during the summer months? Did you know many cruise lines are built it the shipyards in Finland? Man, they have to work fast. Even with such high tax, healthcare is national from birth to death, there are pensions for the old, maternity leave is best in the world, education starts at 7 and is mandatory for 9 years. After that you can work or continue your education if you pass the entrance exams. If you make it that far university education is free. There are no private universities. The govt also chips in 100euros a month per child to your income. Ben was fascinated by this system of government and thought maybe the land of the free isn’t so free after all. I wish there was a more open employment exchange between the US and the EU. I’d like to try a different style of life that runs deeper than a vacation stopover. My mother said if I want to experience Finland in the winter…go back to Minneosta.  Its the same thing but cheaper.  lol.

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Here is a Picasa Web Album link to a few more Helsinki photos.

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