Sunday, July 27, 2014

Baltics........ Helsinki, Finland.

We arrived at Helsinki port on time eventhough the ship had to sail in a very foggy weather. The visibility was not good at all. The ship had to blow its horn every now and then to make sure other vessels knew of our presence. Scary indeed.  That was a true experience for us.

Upon arriving at the port, we felt so relief... yes... we are safe. Alhamdulillah. Everyone of us hop off the ship almost the same time. As we looked around, we did not see anybody waiting for us. We looked around but still nobody there! So since there were some souvenier shops, almost all of us went in.  Shopping time!!!! Then someone came. George was the name. He was holding my name and after introducing ourselves, George asked me..."Why are you still in here. We are supposed to meet out there?" Oooooohhooohhh.....I must have forgotten about our meeting venue. It was in the email. That reminded me to be alert next time. Sorry George!

As we we drove through the city centre, we passed through the Central Station which is the heart of Helsinki. Then we drove down to Mannerheim Street which is the main boulevard of the city. Then we made a small stop in front of the Parliament House for an early shopping at the Hard Rock Cafe and the Market Square.

Continuing on, we stopped by the Olympic Stadium used for the 1952 Olympic Games. I think Shah Alam Stadium is much bigger!

After the brief short stop at the stadium, we proceeded to the Seurasaari Open-Air-Museum which was located on a beautiful green island located just a few kilometers away from the heart of Helsinki. The island is a tranquil oasis in the midst of the city and at the museum the traditional Finnish way of life is displayed in the cottages, farmsteads and manors of the past four centuries that have been relocated from all around Finland. All the different provinces of Finland are represented in the well preserved old buildings and they gave an overall view of Finnish countryside life from the 18th to the 20th century.

Our next stop was the Sibelius Park. It was raining throughout the day. So most of our friends did not want to get wet. We made  just a short stop for a unique photo opportunity of the monument of 527 steel pipes honoring the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. George told us that when the wind blows hard and at a certain direction, the steel pipes will produce beautiful sound!

We did not forget to visit and pray in Helsinki Mosque. The bus stopped too far away from the mosque. And it still rained. Ony a handful of us went down. Comparatively to the other ports of calls, the guides really did their homework in locating the mosque .... unfortunately, this guide did not! No doubt he is nice but a promise is a promise right! Anyway, after about few blocks of walking in the rain, at last we arrived at the mosque. The Imam, Ramil, waited for us to perform Dhuhur together. He was shocked to see only a few of us came because he expected 40 jamaah. Alhamdulillah, we managed to perform our solah with him . Such a very nice man. He has been to our country for Musabaqah Al Quran and managed to speak a word or two in Bahasa Melayu. He would love to visit Malaysia again and again! I am so proud to be a Malaysian!



It was still drizzling when we arrived back to the port. After thanking the guide and the driver, we rushed back to the ship. As usual the crew will be waiting for us there with hot chocolate, hot towels and big smiles on their faces. All aboard!!!!!