At last, land fall. After three and a bit days at sea, we finally reach dry land at Helsinki, the Capital of Finland. Although our arrival was delayed by a medical airlift the previous day we made good time and from a going ashore perspective, made little or no difference to anyone’s planned itinerary.

Our planned itinerary was to take a tour showing us the highlights of Helsinki and then for us to visit the Ice Bar and Hotel. This billed as having been made out of ice in which could sample the delights of sleeping on an ice bed, eating at an ice table and, more importantly, drinking at an ice bar. Naturally therefore, it was going to be cold: it was cold: it was –4 inside: it was +25 outside: we were dressed for +25. So, we were given snow boots, extra socks, gloves and a thermal suit to wear. We did look attractive.

Once inside, we were greeted by an Arctic, or is it Antarctic, landscape with Reindeer, Igloos, plus Sledge and Toboggan runs. Outside of the Igloos, was a restaurant carved out of the ice and a bar, which incidentally was serving complementary vodka. Now, me being well ‘ard, I hadn’t bothered with gloves, and boy didn’t I know it when I picked up the glass only find that it was actually made out of ice, jeez, it was cold. The nice lady behind the bar said I could take the glass home as a souvenir if I wanted then she gave me another shot of vodka [cos I was a nice man].

After that we checked out the ‘huskies’ who were taking people round on a sledge to give them the feel of travel in the Arctic. The dogs weren’t actually Huskies but they were lovely doggies anyway but we passed on the sledge ride. We checked out the igloos and ice beds then we found Santa’s house.

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All too soon we had to return to the ship though we did get a chance to stop on the way at a souvenir shop and Cathedral carved into the rock. Here we found why Santa wasn’t at home. He was at the souvenir shop having a rest with a couple of trolls.


After dinner we ‘retired’, again, to the Observatory Lounge for a couple of rather large brandy’s. And then it was off to bed. Tomorrow we take on Russia via St Petersburg and on the way we put clocks forward another blooming hour. Worse still, we have an early start for a tour to Peterhof Palace.

Maybe, I’ll lose some weight tomorrow.

Go to St Petersburg >>>>

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