July 29, 2008 – Helsinki, Finland

September 1, 2008  •  Helsinki, Travel

By this point in the cruise – which mind you was only half way – I was either beginning to wear out or had become totally relaxed. Either way, I could have slept all day again, but forced myself out of bed at 10am, too late for breakfast. We left the ship and found our way to the hop-on, hop off bus in the center of town, which turned out to be a huge hit.We boarded the bus by Senate Square where there happened to be a huge parade and concert, which we watched from our great seats atop the bus.

Helsinki is a pretty little town, green and clean, and bustling with activity along the center park and open market by the water, thanks to the great summer weather. The bus tour took us around the town in about an hour, then we departed and found a restaurant with outside seating in the shade for lunch that offered reindeer, a specialty of the region. It was served with a berry based gravy and a potato gratin, and was sweet and tender somewhat like a buffalo tenderloin. Greg had a wonderful pasta dish, and I also shared some of Gail’s salad with warm goat cheese and roasted tomatoes with pesto.

After lunch, we wandered through the market by the water where I found a great print of a local water color artist before we headed back to the ship.Greg and I had a date night on the ship and dined alone in Silk Road, a Nobu specialty restaurant on board, which happened to have been what I considered the best meal on the trip:

  • Yellow tail, tuna and eel sushi

  • Mushroom broth served in an iron tea kettle

  • Tuna sashimi on greens with ginger dressing

  • Miso glazed black cod

  • Brown rice
  • Coconut tapioca with green tea ice cream

Greg finished the night off at 10pm when it was still light out with the creme brulee trio and some fabulous Asian cookies.

There are two things I haven’t mentioned in the previous posts that are worth pointing out. First, we were at a latitude equivalent to Alaska, and it was light nearly all night. The sun set after 10pm, and it was still somewhat light out until after midnight. By early in the morning the sun was already up and shining strong. I found this invigorating, but can’t imagine the total lack of light in the winter. Second, you’ll notice, hopefully, that my food photography skills improved as the trip went along. Two things influenced the quality: one, I was largely out of practice after a summer of moving and no photo shoots, and two, many of the restaurants on the ship are quite dark lit only by candles, which made it difficult to get a clear shot.

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