There and back again

As foreshadowed earlier, Honeybuns and I have been on a cruise to Helsinki. We don't need any particular excuse to spend time holding hands and looking at each other, but it was nice to be able to go away, not have to cook dinner and get up early to make breakfast.

As we arrived in Helsinki the weather wasn't the most welcoming, just enough above freezing that there was a thin sleet and we had to jump over slushy puddles as we walked towards the city centre with trams trundling past us, their sound indicating an immense weight not to be hit by. There was still lights in the trees along the Esplanade, but the Christmas market was long gone.

Finland still considers Sunday to be a day of rest, so we had few opportunities for shopping, though we visited the SOKOS S-Market where I was fascinated and embarrassed by this food store managing to (presumably) turn a profit with manual service and a much larger assortment than similarly sized shops around Stockholm.

A 1/10 model of a class Hrl steam engineNaturally, I had to pay my respects to the Ukko-Pekka model at the railway station. Sadly, you can no longer put in a coin to make the wheels spin (achieved by rollers hidden in the tracks, I now found).

Lamps in the form of fliesWe trudged up Mannerheimintie, peering through shop windows at cleverly designed lamps and furniture.

The Opera House was closed, the Finlandia House likewise. But the National Museum was welcoming as always, with a brand-new exhibition on the War of 1808–1809 and the loss of Finland. It wasn't flawless, but it absorbed us completely until we had to head back to the boat. (Later, I realised that the corresponding exhibition at the Army Museum in Stockholm had just closed.) On the way back we passed through the celebration of the Chinese New Year at the Glass Palace.

On the way home the sea was as calm as a glass floor.

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