Our journey into Finland began on a ferry ride into Helsinki from Tallinn.
This picture is the fading view of Tallinn from the ship's deck.
Tallinn and Helsinki are only about 50 miles apart. By water.
So visiting between the two locations is pretty easy and fast.
These pictures that I took on the ferry were taken around 11 o'clock at night.
These are the longest days of the year right now and since we are so far north the day is very, very long.
In fact, it never quite gets dark.
The sun has set here, but it doesn't get a whole lot darker than this.
That definitely can throw off your normal sleep schedule if you're not used to it.
Going to bed before midnight has been a complete rarity for us!
I mean, who wants to go to bed when it's light out?
I had been to Helsinki a few times before but I never got a chance to really look around until now and thankfully we had a Finn to take us everywhere.
Everywhere, meaning also, inside the Ministry.
That was definitely a cool, unexpected side trip.
Our guide/family member (she is the longtime girlfriend of Norbert's brother) also had us walk along the street that houses a great deal of prominent and highly influential Finnish designers.
Us girls had fun looking at every print, textile, ceramic and glass design........while the boys did more of this: playing many games of Angry Birds.
Getting the whole Finnish experience, you know....
Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki
We took another ferry into the Archipelago, which is an area on the Finnish coast that has some 18,000 to 50,000 islands.
After a night spent in a local bed and breakfast we went sailing the following day with Norbert's brother's girlfriend's brother's family.
Oh, the connections we have made on our travels this summer :)
Turku - The original capital of Finland
Another gorgeous city.
Another old and beautiful church.
...and then on to Naantali.
An example of some beautiful ceramic pieces from the Finnish designer, Iittala.
The house of Muumi.
So that was our whirlwind four days in Finland.
Wednesday we go back with my cousin and her family in tow!
p.s. Suomi is Finnish for Finland.
In case you were wondering.