Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki

We spent four enjoyable days in Helsinki, either watching and photographing the Tall Ships, or doing the normal tourist thing.

Much of Helsinki was destroyed by fire in 1808. This appears to be a recurring theme in Finland (see blog on Oulu), so if you have any Finnish friends by all means be hospitable, but I suggest you confiscate the matches.

Helsinki was made the capital of Finland whilst the country was ruled by Czar Alexander 1 of Russia, until then Turku had been the capital. The Royal Academy of Turku, now the modern University of Helsinki, was moved in 1827 following, guess what, the Great Fire of Turku!

Finland fought a civil war during 1917 and 1918 with the White Guards clashing with the Red Guards, not dissimilar to the Russian revolution. The war from 1941 to 1944 is not referred to as the Second World War but as the War of Continuation. No matter what it was called I bet there were lots of fires.

Anyway, the final thing I did before departing was to visit the Winter Gardens. Although not very large they do have a good variety of interesting and beautiful plants.

My mind, now, is on our next destination, St Petersburg. The plan, or what passes for a plan, is to cross into Russia on Thursday 25th July. This is dependent on Bridget continuing to function properly and for no problems to arise with the paperwork at the border. It has come to my notice that they rather like to see an International certificate of ownership for private cars! Don’t ask, I don’t know. Anyway I have Bridget’s V5, my domestic driving licence and an International Licence and if they ask for anything else I shall just have to tell them that SPY’s don’t need it.


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