Jewels of the Baltic: A Photo Diary of Helsinki, Tallinn & St. Petersburg

The second installment of our Baltic cruise tales. Missed the first one — Bruges and Copenhagen?  Check it out here!


Finland’s capital is a city of green spaces and an electrifying Design District. It’s also the only European capital with no medieval past. The archipelago of Helsinki consists of around 330 islands with many of them reachable by daily ferry, which sadly Dan and I did not explore. By the time our cruise pulled into Helsinki’s port, we were weary travelers and ready for a day of just relaxing, so after a short walk around downtown Helsinki, we esconsed ourselves at a Thai restaurant for a long lunch and an afternoon of reading.


Birthplace of Skype and one of the best-preserved medieval cities with its walled, maze-like cobblestoned Old Town, home to cafes and shops. Its gothic town hall, built in the 13th century, is the only one of its kind in Northern Europe with a 64m-high tower that you can climb to the top of and admire Estonia’s capital city’s red-roofed skyline. Check out Tallinn’s historic main square and the hand decorated marzipan creations at the cafe and pastry shop Maisamokk.


Although our two-day sightseeing tour of St. Petersburg was cut short by “diplomatic” circumstances, we were still able to see a bit of Russia’s “window on the West” with a hydrofoil trip to the ornate summer palace of Peterhof, the extravagant Catherine’s Palace, and the birthplace of the city, the Peter and Paul Fortress.

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