On March/April 2018 we joined a cruise journey organized by PM2AM student trips, an organisation that arranges different trips for young adults (until the age of 35). The cruise we went on is epic. The route started in Stockholm and took us further by cruise ship towards Helsinki, Saint Petersburg and Tallinn over the span of 4 nights. A new country every time you wake up! In this series of four blogs I will tell you how we experienced each city. second stop: Helsinki, Finland!

If you remember in our last blog about Stockholm, we took our cruise ship towards Turku. The departure from Stockholm was at 19:30 PM. The night would not be long, since breakfast was served from 6:00 AM, because the check-out off the cruise was at 7:00 AM. Early morning it is! After boarding off the cruise (we would hop into another cruise ship for the remainder of the journey) we put our stuff in the bus. We have arrived in Finland but in Turku.

Because we booked our trip from Stockholm and did not went with the bus from Belgium/Germany/Netherlands we got train tickets which took us from Turku to Helsinki. The other group went by bus, we had our departure at 8:10 AM and arrived at 10:30 AM. Finally, time to discover Helsinki!

Next up #helsinki #finland

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Things to see

Once we reached the central station we first went towards the Rock Church (Temppeliaukio). A church excavated directly into solid rock? This we had to see! Unfortunately the church was closed for public when we were there. But nevertheless this alien like sight is cool to admire! Although the snow a day before made everything quite slippery!

Our next stop was the Cathedral of Helsinki. Walking down the streets towards the cathedral, all of a sudden see a bright white building shining in your face when you turn the corner. Impressive to see the strong white standing tall within a square in Helsinki.

After that we walked towards the Old Market Hall of Helsinki, the place in the 19th century for all your groceries. The year 1888 is written on the entrance, describing the year when the Old Market Hall started.

After that, the coolest thing of the day happened. From the Old Market you can take a ferry to the Suomenlinna Fortress. To get there we had to take the ferry from the market of Helsinki (Ferry terminal Kauppatori). The ferry leaves every 40 to 60 minutes. For the most up to date timelines check the website of the ferry here. A return ticket costs € 5,-. And, with going in the winter, the whole ocean was filled with ice. Now that was an awesome ride going through the ice!

After a 15 minute boat ride we arrived at the island. The Suomenlinna Fortress is one of the largest fortresses in the world. It is spread out over six different islands. The island has a nice park to visit. The island is also in use by the naval academy, with an old submarine on showcase in the park as well. The park has a long history regarding wars, also acting like a base during World War II.

Once you take the ferry back, you will be infront of the Finnair Skywheel. This giant ferris wheel of Helsinki stands tall next to the coast. The entrance for an adult is € 12,-.

Be sure to pop by the Uspenskin Cathedral while you are in the area. This cathedral stands tall on a hill and is a beautiful picture from the outside (we did not go in).

After that we walked through the Esplanadi Park which is situated in the heart of Helsinki. Another place to relax in this beautiful city! The park is filled with statues everywhere and surrounded by buildings.

#esplanadipark #helsinki #finland #europe

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There are enough reasons to love Helsinki. The city is doable on foot. There is 100 km coastline surrounding Helsinki, which is beautiful in the winter with all the water being frozen. Even the public transport is well organised if you are not that mobile, making it easy to go around sightseeing as well. Pubs are also throughout the city, with a lot of craft beers on the menu it is a paradise!

By 17:00 PM we had to be back to the harbor to get on our new cruise ship, Princess Anastasia. The Princess would be our vessel for the rest of our journey, next stop: Saint Petersburg, Russia!