Goodbye Estonia, hello Finland.
It was an early start as we donned our packs and walked the darkened streets of Tallinn for the last time. The walk down to the port took only about 20 minutes and was significantly more pleasant than queueing with several hundred Russian tourists to get onto a ferry which is basically a large floating RSL club, complete with bingo. Strangely the piped music was from the Titanic movie – which was an unusual choice on a ship.
The trip across the Gulf of Finland, thankfully, only takes a couple of hours, so we were in Helsinki before 11am. Helsinki is significantly colder than Tallinn and much more dour. The buildings all look solid and squared-off; there’s little that is picturesque although there’s an austere charm in the imposing neoclassical architecture around the centre of the city.
After depositing our bags at the hotel we set out in search of hot chocolate. That turned out to be more difficult than we’d supposed as Helsinki seems to largely shut down on a Sunday. But the time we found an open cafe we were all thoroughly frozen. That lead to the discovery that the creamy salmon soup that appears to be something of a Finnish speciality is just the thing on a cold day.
After a very long time in the cafe recovering our warmth, we had to decide on something inside to do in the afternoon. There was some debate, but we finally agreed upon an attraction that worked for all of us: We made a quick visit to the Natural History Museum of Finland. It’s not a bad little Museum, but we really only visited for one reason – they have a stuffed two-headed cow on display.
And you can’t pass up the chance to see a stuffed two-headed cow in Helsinki, now can you?