We met Gary and Betty for breakfast and then Pete and I decided to walk to the Lutheran Rock Church which was designed by architects and brothers Timo and Tuomo. This church officially opened in 1969.
Excavated directly into solid rock, the Temppeliaukio church is situated in the heart of Helsinki, at the end of Fredrikinkatu. The church hall is covered with a dome, lined with copper and supported on the rock walls by reinforced concrete beams. The interior walls are of rugged rock and rubble wall. Before midday, the sunlight spreads from the row of windows surrounding the roof periphery to the altar wall, where an ice-age crevice serves as the altarpiece.
From here we hopped on the Hop on Hop Off bus to the Sibelius Monument which is dedicated to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The monument is located at the Sibelius Park in the district of Toolo. The monument consists of 24 metric tonnes of abstract art. There are 600 hollow odd vertical metal pipes welded together in a wave like pattern. The purpose was to capture the essence of the music of Sibelius.
Our next stop was the Olympic Stadium which was the centre of activities for the 1952 Summer Olympics. It was constructed in 1934 and completed in 1938 with the intent of hosting the 1940 Summer Olympics which were cancelled due to WW2. The tower of the stadium, is a distinct landmark with a height of 72.71 metres - a measurement of the length of the gold-medal win by Matti Jarvinen in javelin of 1932 Summer Olympics. There is a statue of the Flying Finn, Paavo Johannes Nurmi, a Finnish middle distance runner in the early 20th Century. After the Paris Olympic Games in 1924 the Finnish Government ordered a statue of him from the most famous sculptor of the country, Waino Aaltonen. In 1952 two more copies of the statue were cast from the original mould, one erected in front of the Olympic Stadium and the other in Nurmi's home town, Turku. We walked around the stadium but could not enter as it was under renovation, due to reopen in 2019.
Our next stop was Senate Square. Senate Square and its surroundings make up the oldest part of central Helsinki. Landmarks and famous buildings surrounding the square are the Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, main building of the University of Helsinki, and Sederholm House, the oldest building of central Helsinki dating from 1757. There is a statue of Emperor Alexander 11 located in the centre of the square which was erected in 1894. We continued to walk to the Uspenski Cathedral which is an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos. Completed in 1868 with its golden cupolas and redbrick facade the church is a symbol of the Russian impact on Finnish History. Unfortunately it was closed so we will try and come back tomorrow.
Back to Market Square and a stroll through Esplanadi Park. The central alley of the park is planted with old limes which have been growing since 1840. In the central part of the park there is a monument to famous Finnish poet Johan Ludwig Runeberg, the author of the text of the national anthem. The monument was made in 1885 by the son of the poet, sculptor Walter Runeberg. The female who embodies the muse holds the scroll with the words of the anthem in her hand. Another monument in the park is dedicated to Eino Leino, famous poet, writer and journalist of the beginning of the XXth century. The sculptural group "Tale and truth" by Gunnar Finne is the monument to prominent Finnish tale-writer Saharias Topelius.
The Kapelli Cafe Brasserie, located in the middle of Esplanadi park, was originally built in 1837 and served as a rendezvous for artists and "high society gentlemen". It was completely restored in 1976. Opposite the Kappelli there is the Espa Summer Theater. In the summer its open stage hosts a variety of the events every day.
We headed to Molly Blooms Irish Pub and hoped to have a late lunch only to find they only served alcohol. So after a relaxing ale we headed to Maccas' for a bite to eat. We headed back to our hotel at 6pm to meet with our Tour Group. After our meeting Gary, Betty, Pete and I caught a tram into the city and had a late dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Great food, and great service.