Down to breakfast at 8 and approaching Helsinki through a "forest" of small islands. Lovely and sunny, if a little cool (after all, 8AM in Finland!). Did my mile walk around the deck before we congregated in the Ballroom for the City Tour. Met up with Marie and Bill (Jones, our dining companions) and were on the same coach. First to Senate Square where the lovely Lutheran Cathedral stands. It was Sunday so we didn't go in but had 35 minutes to look around the market (lovely Finnish woollen jumpers, not what we want on this cruise!). Got back to the coach and waited for, Marie and Bill! Sauntering along with not a care in the world. I eventually got off the coach and gee'd them up. We were driven all around the City but our guide had such a strong accent and monotonous tone that I don't think people took much in. It was hot and the air conditioning on the coach wasn't up to much so we asked for the roof to be opened. It stayed firmly shut. 15 minutes at the Sibelius Monument, a strange arrangement (but not unimpressive). Edna can't remember how many lakes we were told that there were in Finland or how many squirrels there were in a certain area that can be hand fed. Perhaps these were a couple of highlights of the courier's chat! It may be that I seem a bit "down" on this tour but, even if the tour had it's downsides, I have only pleasant memories of Helsinki itself.
I'm updating this in July 2018 and will add a
couple of things. In her journal of 18th June, 2006, Edna says "Said
good morning to Henry Sandon, he walks with a stick but then he is 80
or more". Today (2018) I, laughingly, said "He walks with
a stick and he's 80 or more but I know someone who walked with a stick
before she was 80 (Edna)". Henry was actually 77 (our apologies
Henry but now, Edna's at least over 80 and walks with a rollator). Also,
on the coach back from the tour Sir James's wife handed out cold flannels
(very welcome). Trouble is, we have her down as Lady Joan Spicer, everywhere
else says she was named Winifred! What's that all about?