Helsinki, Finland - May 30th

We have woken to clear blue skies with temperatures of 12-24 expected. Sunrise 4:11 and set 10:26pm.  A nice entrance.
I should say that the measures to defeat the spread of the norovirus have stepped up another gear. Now all counters are sealed off with glad wrap on the outside so we can't even breath on the food. We can't touch plates or cutlery until it is handed to us.  Salt & pepper and alcohol ads have disappeared from the tables.  It is really quite impressive and when talking to a couple who had been on the Queen Mary when there was a virus outbreak and nothing changed, we are quite happy with the arrangements. No problem for us or anyone we have made friends with and restaurants seem pretty full so can't be affecting too many.

Our walking tour was cancelled for today so we headed in via the shuttle and braved wandering on our own, which, once we gained our bearings, was quite easy with the map.  With lovely weather the feel of Helsinki is so different to St Petersburg. The blurb tells us it is a capital with outstanding examples of modernism, functionalism and art nouveau. We simply snapped what we liked and these buildings aren't anything in particular.
We found our way to Senate Square, known for its Neo-classical architecture. This is the Senate Square Cathedral.
It also includes this statue of Alexander II
There are statues in quite a few places. Garrie took a shine to this one for some reason.
And most are drizzled with seagull poo.
We enjoyed the markets on the foreshore and this also includes The Presudential Palace.
And the two headed eagle, must look up why.
And this building which is the city museum or city hall - sorry not sure which now.
And quite close is this magnificence cathedral - Uspensky Cathedral.
We then headed across town, past the "late Jugend" style Central Railway Station (are you not impressed with my architectural prowess?) 
And this unusual building (Cheryl speak for no info on its architectural style or even what it is) oh it could be in Nationsl Theatre?
Noting that they really do care about both cyclists and pedestrians with dedicated lanes for both on all roads and even some separate areas like this one.
Heading into the Tooloo district we find the Rock Church. Built on and if rock with an amazing copper  dome roof.

It is a nice, relatively clean city.

One unusual thing we spotted was "braised reindeer". You don't see that every day. Also mink and reindeer on sale. Many of the cars were covered in a heavy layer of dust which suggested to us that it's been some time since they had any significant rain.  It was a short stay but quite pleasant as visiting cities goes. I think that's one of issues with this kind of holiday - we are certainly part of a floating town and then much about cities is the same the world over and I really think I am a natural environment girl.

After a bit over four hours we had had enough. Sightseeing is quite exhausting, especially for Garrie who is still in need of his walking stick so we headed back to the ship. We are always greeted with either hot chocolate or, on these warmer days, fruit water and the staff always say "welcome back" as they scan you back in.  When we booked in they took our picture and our card brings that pic up so they can be sure they are getting back the same people they sent out.

Lots of very happy people lying out in the sun and in the pool today. Silly folk, haven't they heard of skin cancer?

For those worried I am taking up too much of my holiday with blogging, please don't be. I'm spending about an hour max on it and it certainly helps us to recall what we have seen.  We are gaining a bit of a routine really. Sightseeing, a leisurely lunch, then take a couple of drinks up to the sky lounge where I download and sort the pics into the blog.  This was my view today - tough but someone has to do it!

So on the way out we spotted the pilot boat. Alas it went around the other side.

We are also followed for long distances, out of port, by the local sea birds.

Stockholm tomorrow.