Helsinki – A Short Story

We arrived yesterday and had a day of seeing the city and hearing the history of many rulers and much increasing trade. The Russians ruled. For a long time and were the Russians who spoke French and to this day the Finnish Foreign Service speaks French.

The oldest and still one of the largest churches is the Russian Orthodox Cathedral located next to the port on the highest stone platform overlooking the still active port. We could not enter since it has been closed since COVID. However our guide believes that they were relieved not to have to maintain the elaborate interior because the number of church members were very few.
The Market hall is a municipal building with many stalls unfortunately closed on Sunday (the only day we could see it) and is said to have an elaborate interior.
Rocks form small islands scattered throughout the port. Large ones have a building or two small ones must be a problem for early sailors.
This was at one time the Royal Yacht Club and now is a restaurant but closed because of the pandemic. It is a handsome building from the period of the Russian rule. They left a legacy of fine public buildings built in the nineteenth century fancy pretend Renaissance.
The two headed eagle from the Russian period in front of some of Embassy buildings.
We went by ferry to visit an island fortress from the nineteenth century this phot was taken from the inner courtyard where I and another traveler sat in the sun while our fellow travelers walked over cobblestone paths around the UNESCO site. We found an abandoned coffee shop with lovely tables and chairs out of the wind and in the sun.
Back on land we met match scouts and their scoutmasters and each had a shouted anthem as they approached the Market Square at the port. A lot of kids. In fact I was surprised to see so many.
Sunday found most restaurants closed but I found. Cafeteria where I was able to get some unremarkable food. But I was grateful since I missed breakfast. Tonight is our Farewell Dinner. Everyone on planes tomorrow.

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On the planet in California

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