Helsinki, Finland

After two amazing full days in St. Petersburg, our next port of call was Helsinki, Finland.  A small city located on the coast of the Baltic Sea in a sparsely populated country but with very friendly people.   Founded at least around 1150 A.D. it was usually under Russian rule and/or Swedish rule. 

My daughter and I had a tour to go out to the countryside as well as see the city and see some horses while my son and wife stayed in the city.  It turned out we visited almost the same places with the exception of the horse farm.  The city itself was like any other Nordic city but, once we hit the countryside, we were treated to a very friendly host with good, healthy food and beautiful views.  Our lady host had two tour buses to feed, around 80 people.  She was not without help as there was plenty of young people to help.  The farmhouse had large ceilings and a huge wide staircase.  The second floor is where my daughter and I ate.  We were served a typical Nordic cod dish, with nettles soup and a yummy side salad.  After lunch, we went out to visit the animals.  She had some very interesting looking chickens.  A miniature horse, which we were able to get up close and pet.  And off in the distance, we could see several other horses.  The weather cooperated and was beautiful the entire time.

After the horse farm, we went to a quaint tiny town north of Helsinki called Porvoo.  My daughter and I  strolled along its narrow cobblestone streets, shopped mainly for licorice and chocolate candy.  We usually buy edible treats and bring them back for everyone to try instead of buying junky souvenirs.  You get to try a little of their culture that way, or at least we feel that way.  Between the gracious host at the horse farm and we had a wonderful tour guide it left us with a warm feeling about Finland

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