Docking in Finland in early August was bittersweet: Helsinki was where I said good-bye to my family after eight weeks of sailing around Europe with them on the Semester at Sea 2014 summer voyage. Eight weeks of nearly constant togetherness (when I wasn’t working–which, admittedly, was a lot). Eight weeks of exploring eight different ports, sampling countless new foods, mastering unfamiliar transportation, and hiking new-to-us trails in the European countryside.
My husband and kids needed to leave the ship two weeks before the end of the summer voyage, namely so my daughter could get home to start high school fall sports practice. So, in Finland, besides one family walk along the marina for some post-ship-dinner ice cream, I was largely on my own. And that ended up okay: TEDx Semester at Sea took place our first full day docked in Helsinki, a work obligation that sucked up a ton of my time, and I was also assigned to cover a class field lab, which included a walking tour of downtown, so I got acquainted with some of the key sights.
Otherwise, I spent my time in Helsinki simply sitting on the rocky waterfront with friends, stocking up on groceries, and strolling through a few parks. Apparently, however, I didn’t take many (any) photos of these activities, since I cannot for the life of me find them in my summer photo archives.
I did, however, find a bunch of photos from my day trip to Estonia–easy to reach from Helsinki via Tallink ferry. I joined a scheduled Semester at Sea field program, with about 80 other voyagers, to take the high-speed, two-hour ferry to the medieval town of Tallinn, Estonia; enjoy a walking tour of some of the historic sites and churches; eat lunch at Olde Hansa in a 15th-century building in Old Town; and spend some free time strolling around on our own. Truthfully, I had some friends who secured ferry tickets much cheaper on their own than I did with the SAS-organized excursion, but I was happy for the company of other SASsers, as well as the included tour and lunch. Here are a few highlights of Tallinn in photos:
Previous posts on Semester at Sea, chronological order:
- I’m Sailing around Europe with My Family in Tow
- Logistics and Paperwork for a Summer Abroad
- 24 Hours in London with Kids
- Settling in on the Ship
- Lisbon, Portugal, with Kids
- Bilbao, Spain, with Kids
- Scotland Stole My Heart
- More Hiking Happiness in Ireland
- Highlights of Norway
- Highlights of St. Petersburg, Russia
- Highlights of Sweden