Thursday, 19 August 2010

Helsinki and Stockholm






The last two ports of call on my recent cruise were the capitals of Finland and Sweden respectively. I hadn’t done any research in advance, so I didn’t know what to expect of Helsinki. I thought it might be rather an anti-climax after St Petersburg. But in fact, I liked it very much. As always, a sunny day helped a good deal, and my only regret was not managing to fit in a boat tour round the city’s waterfront – always a good way to see a place.

Such a tour was a real highlight of the final stop, at Stockholm. A full day’s excursion took in the Old Town (very appealing, if not quite as magical as Tallinn) and the Vasa Museum, featuring a rescued and restored ship, before a long journey around the waterways which provided a spectacular perspective on a very green and attractive-looking city.

I’ve not read any Finnish crime stories, but of course Sweden has become a key location for some of the best and most popular books in the genre, something nobody would have foreseen a generation ago. I’ve had the impression of a rather melancholy place, a view perhaps inspired by Martin Beck’s ulcer and Wallander’s gloomy ruminations, and no doubt in winter, when the weather is cold and wet and the nights are long, it can be rather bleak. But last week, sunlit Stockholm seemed to me to be quite magnificent.

10 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - It certainly seems that you had a wonderful cruise, and I'm very happy that you did. Thanks for sharing these 'photos, too. It's nice to be "taken along for the ride," so to speak.

Clarissa Draper said...

I can tell that they are amazing based on the photos. Oh, I wish I could go there.

CD

Michele Emrath said...

Sounds fantastic, and the pictures prove it. I pictured them so bleak, too. But there are obviously many different aspects to the cities.

Michele
Contest today on SouthernCityMysteries

Uriah Robinson said...

We went to both beautiful cities [in different years] in the winter, and that is an amazing experience. Their public transport systems operate without much trouble considering the depth of the snow and the -15 temperatures.
Our hotel receptionist in Helsinki said "Oh, you come from Devon, where there high hedges,it is very damp, and it feels colder at + 10 than it does here at -20."
We had to agree. :o(

Martin Edwards said...

Margot, thanks - if you haven't seen these wonderful cities, I can recommend them unreservedly!

Martin Edwards said...

Clarissa, I hope you make it to see them before too long!

Martin Edwards said...

Greetings, Michele. They certainly weren't at all bleak in the sunshine! I've added your blog to mine, by the way.

Martin Edwards said...

Uriah, I'm always impressed by the way that foreign public transport seems better than ours. If it's an illusion, it's a convincing one!

Stockholm fail said...

When visiting Helsinki during the summer, it is good to go to Suomenlinna, literally "The Finnish Castle" just outside the city. Its a small island with some fortifications. In Swedish, the name is "Sveaborg", ironically.

Martin Edwards said...

Yes, I saw the fortress island from the waterfront and was sorry that time didn't permit a visit. Next time, I hope!