Helsinki, Finland, 17 June 2006

After our bus delivered us from the freight harbor where our ship was berthed, to the center of town -
we first headed south...

to the market by the harbor,

and then on to Senate Square. From Senate Square it was my plan to head to The Church In The Rock,
where my Helsinki brochure explained that the church had been hewn out of the granite in the side of a
hill in the middle of Helsinki in the late 60s. Or was that the middle of the 60s in late Helsinki...

Anyway, on our way to The Church In The Rock, we passed the Modern Art Museum,
which looked very cool outside - and since it was a modern art museum, I felt no need to go inside.

When we reached the Parliament building, I knew we were getting close to The Church In The Rock.

This is The Church In The Rock. Looking at the map of attractions in Helsinki, it leapt off the
page as a must-see attraction. When we got there it was very much something other than what
I had expected. For example, I had expected to like it.

In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that I've never associated churches with anything
remotely resembling cool or fun; I've never had an epiphany or a revelation in church - let alone a
religious experience. For my money, the coolest church to come out of this era that I've actually been to
is still St. Mary's Cathedral in good ol' San Francisco.

I would have taken a picture of the outside, but as it turns out it's a church in a rock -
which is better than being a church in Iraq, but in either case it doesn't lend itself to being photographed.

On our walk through town, back toward the harbor and market, we passed the central train station,

which, for some reason I saw fit to photograph repeatedly

from various vantage points and angles

until some better subject matter became available

And speaking of better subject matter, when I see sculpture like this...

...I long for the life of the artist.

When I see pictures like this...

...I long for a plate of fried white fish. When we got back to the market by the harbor, that's exactly what we had.
    This particular vendor bore the seal of approval from Helsinki's guild of sea birds.

After we ate, we headed down to the harbor, where we passed this building.
It has the look of a church but I actually don't remember. We'd seen so many churches by this point...

The harbor was full of all kinds of cool old sailboats.

As warm as it was 5 days before the summer solstice, and as long as the days were -
it must get awfully cold and dark (and frozen) by the time winter rolls round.
I can only assume that these boats spend half the year in dry-dock.

Back in town I snapped a picture of this statue that appeared to be a tribute to organized labor.
It looked like somebody had gotten organized to have a little fun with organized labor.
It was kind of a tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit and organized labor.