Sweden    Finland   

In November 2000 we flew to Stockholm, Sweden as a stopover before catching an overnight cruise to Helsinki, Finland. Ultimately, we were going there to cross the Arctic Circle in Finland.

We arrived in Stockholm early in the morning. Because we were going to catch an overnight cruise that evening we only had about 8 hours. We locked away our luggage in the train station and began exploring Stockholm. Since we had spent quite a bit of time in Stockholm a couple years earlier, we knew what we wanted to see and do. Plus, we had allowed a couple days at the end of the trip to spend more time anyway.

The cruise was pretty neat especially since it was a special holiday excursion on the Silja Line, the official sea carrier of Santa Claus. We had a light dinner and roamed around the ship. Since we were very tired, we slept extremely well that night. Before we arrived in Helsinki we had a huge breakfast buffet in the morning on the ship.

We spent several days in Helsinki, Finland. There was no problem finding our hotel or getting around town. Luckily, our hotel was in the main shopping district and right on the 3T/3B tramline that is a complete loop of Helsinki including all the tourist stops (complete with an English brochure).

Then we flew up to Rovaniemi, Finland to go to the Arctic Circle for a few days. Here is where we met Santa, visited Santa's workshop, and mailed our Christmas cards. When we arrived they had just received a light dusting of snow that morning. We found out later how unusual it was for this time of year that they didn’t have at least 4 feet of snow on the ground. We had to return to Helsinki in order to catch our cruise back to Stockholm for our last couple days.

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Stockholm, Sweden - The city hall building, Stadshuset.


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Stockholm, Sweden - The outdoor markets in front of the Opera House.


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Stockholm, Sweden - Here is the main shopping district, Drottninggatan.


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Stockholm, Sweden/Helsinki, Finland - The cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki.


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Helsinki, Finland - Here is the main shopping district, Mannerheimintie.


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Helsinki, Finland - This is the Senate Square Cathedral at night.


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Helsinki, Finland - Us in front of what many call the symbol of Finland, the Mermaid.


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Helsinki, Finland - Many beautiful Christmas decorations.


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Helsinki, Finland - This is Helsinki at night from atop the Olympic Tower.


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Santa Claus’ Village, Finland - Us at the Arctic Circle in Santa Claus Village.


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Santa Claus’ Village, Finland - This is the Santa Claus Office at the Arctic Circle.


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Santa Claus’ Village, Finland - Santa's statue greets you when you get off the bus at the Arctic Circle.


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Santa Claus’ Village, Finland - Us with the man himself.