Finland, Canada

With my nephew Aaron in Helsinki.

I stayed in Finland for a week, mostly at my sister Rose's place in Marttila (or was it Prunkila) which is about 2-hour drive from Helsinki. With Rose's family, I spent about 4 days touring Southern Finland in this vehicle that Europeans call caravan and North Americans call a trailer.
My two-year old nephew, Aaron, contemplating the view outside the trailer while we're travelling. The vehicle is equipped with a washroom, a fridge, an oven, and we brought a small TV.
My brother-in-law, Markku Kotitalo. He drove and planned our 4-day road trip that covered 1,455km and cris-crossed several Finnish towns.
Me inside the trailer. Marku, behind me, was planning our route. I slept on the bunk overhead the driver's seat which was very roomy and comfortable.
The Castle of Turku, a medieval structure built in the 1280s when Sweden appointed Carl Gustav as the first Governor of Finland. Originally built in the form of a rectangular fortified camp, the castle was founded as the administrative castle of the Swedish Crown.
A view inside the Turku Castle. Under the Swedish Duke Johan between 1556 and 1563, Turku Castle was renovated into a handsome renaissance castle and this is when its main features became the size they are today.
I'm not certain now, but I think this picture was taken at a beach near either the town of Vaasa or Pori. The beach is in the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia which separates Finland and Sweden.
Spa Park in the southermost town of Hanko. On the other side of the Gulf of Finland is the former Soviet but now independent republic of Estonia.
A beautiful church, maybe Lutheran, in Turku.
Me in Hanko, Finland. This town is usually sunny but unfortunately not during my visit. Hanko is one of the premier seaside resorts of the country.
Me with the Castle of Turku in the background. Under Swedish rule, Turku had been the administrative and spiritual centre of Finland until 1812 when the Russian Czar Alexander I declared Helsinki - a small town of about 4,000 inhabitants - the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland.
While waiting for my sister and Markku to meet me in Helsinki I walked around a bit and had to ask another tourist to take this picture at the Russian Orthodox Church.
Me at the top of the steps leading to the Lutheran Cathedral. In the background is Senate Square and old buildings that are former homes of 18th-19th century merchants but now house city offices, shops and restaurants.
A mine museum in one of the towns we visited. Knowing that I once worked in a gold mine, Markku thought that I would be interested to see this. It was actually the first time I've been to an underground mine museum, and I came out very impressed.
I think that this one was taken in Tampere, one of the bigger cities in Finland.
The Lutheran Cathedral which is perhaps the most photographed and recognized landmark of Helsinki. Designed by Carl Ludwig Engel, this neo-classical masterpiece was consecrated in 1852.
The Kotitalos - Aaron, Rose and Markku at Senate Square. In the centre of the Square stands the statue of Tsar Alexander II. Not shown in the picture are the Council of State Building and the main building of Helsinki University that flank the square on the east and west sides.
The Esplanade Park lined by Neo-Renaissance buildings reminiscent of other European cities. The buildings were built on the Esplanades to replace the old wooden houses in the latter half of the 19th century.
The Neo-Classical Museum of Finnish Art, the Ateneum (1887), located just opposite the Finnish National Theatre across the street.
Helsinki is a clean and beautiful city. It was cloudy and rainy when I was there, however, so all the pictures I took didn't capture the beauty and spirit of the city.
The Finnish National Theater or Opera House (1902) in National-Romantic style at the northern side of Railway Square.
Helsinki's main harbour, Etelasatama, on a dull cloudy morning. This shot was taken from the ship I took on my return trip from Stockholm.
A typical street in Helsinki. My brother-in-law Markku said that maintaining clean streets is a trait they've acquired from the Swedish.
The Russian Orthodox Cathedral reputed to be the largest orthodox church in Western Europe. Built in 1868, it is a reminder of the influence of Russia over the history of Finland and that the country belonged to Russia until 1919.
The presidential palace used for official state receptions. Built in 1820 as a residence of a merchant and ship owner, it was refurbished in 1921 as the official residence of the Finnish President, who nevertheless now lives at Mäntyniemi, a modernistic residence in the Meilahti district of the city.
The pedestrian mall in Helsinki. It was raining when this picture was taken so the promenade wasn't busy.
Rose and family at Lahti, Finland whose impressive sports facilities include ski jumps, the highest being about 116 meters.
The other side of Helsinki harbor.

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