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10th August, 2013


Helsinki was a late morning arrival so there were a great many folk on deck as we passed through the narrows and the old fortifications on our port side. Nowadays, What was built to deter the odd Baltic neighbour, has been turned into a tourist target and we had a few waves as we glided past. The old submarine that has been perched just on the shore line has had a new ‘camouflage’ lick of paint. It looks somewhat bizarre compared to its previous shabby grey coating.

Our local agent, in immaculate suit and tie, was promptly on board and dealing with the ships clearance, together with Annie our Chief Purser in her office. His English is impeccable and his manner gave the impression that he’d been to a leading charm school. The rest of the female staff in the office seemed to be hanging on his every word, somewhat smitten it seemed. Most amusing.


The weather wasn’t too bad so we hopped on the shuttle and into the city. The great delight in Helsinki is the market just off the quayside, here there were vendors selling not only all sorts of local souvenirs, but magnificent local fruit and vegetables. I had told the pilot that his city sold the most perfect fly swatter my wife had ever used and he seemed somewhat surprised. She had intended to buy a couple more of these leather headed ‘weapons’, but was distracted by the various stalls selling fur. Not just hats, gloves and other minor fashionable items, but something a little more financially substantial. I suppose time will tell as to whether it will actually keep out the cold.

By the time we returned the clouds had started to thicken and the very white Lutheran cathedral of St. Nicholas looked very stark against the threatening heavenly background. There was a quick shower, but then it cleared, just in time for us to sail the ship and back out passed yet more waving tourists. The pilot muttered something non complimentary about the freshly painted submarine.

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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.