|Helsinki has been ranked 3rd in Monacle and 8th in EIU as best livable city in the world for 2013!|
|on canal cruise around Helsinki Islands|
|'almost flying carpet' in Arabia|
|Carol and white dinner plates|
|Bill, in peacock suit|
|beach sauna outhouses|
Helsinki was established as a trading town by King Gustav I of Sweden in 1550. The construction of the naval fortress which today is called Suomenlinna in the 18th century helped improve Helsinki's status. This was one of the spots on the Beautiful Canal Cruise we took around the islands of the Helsinki Harbor. The biggest island, Lauttasaari, is now a large residential area with summer homes of the rich. We saw many sauna outhouses built close to the water for the famous hot/cold therapy and water toys for the big boys. The tour guide said there are 2 million such sauna houses around Helsinki. Another island is Korkeasaari, site of the biggest northernmost zoo in the world. There was even a dog beach set apart for man’s best friend.
|the Helsinki Cathedral|
|Karuna Chapel in Seurasaari Island|
The oldest structure there is a church built in the 1600s, the Karuna Church where a wedding was being held that afternoon. When we got to the Rock Church fashioned out of a huge rock near downtown Helsinki, another wedding was also being held that afternoon. Then we walked another 4 blocks to see the finest example of wooden architecture in Finland, the Kamppi Chapel at the grounds of the Kamppi Shopping Centre. Finland is 80% Lutheran so all these churches are Lutheran.
|Begel Lunch at Esplanade Park|
|@ the Market Square|
|lunch at Seurasaari Island|
|Hotel Ava and Institute|