Today, we dedicated our time to exploring the region around Helsinki. We visited a beautiful, open-air museum on the island of Seurasaari. We then made an excursion to Porvoo, a beautifully preserved medieval town, before heading to the 18th century Manor House on the Malmgard Estate, where we were given a tour by the current Count. In the late afternoon, we all gathered back on National Geographic Explorer for a performance by Finnish musicians and singers Anna and Leeni Wegelius. Historic architecture, a delicious lunch, and warm welcomes from our Finnish hosts made for another excellent day.
National Geographic Explorer
Sunday dawned cool but sunny, and a gentle breeze rippled the waters of Stockholm Harbour as the ship awoke. Guests enjoyed breakfast with scenic views of Gamlastan on the one side and the tall ship of Chapman on the other. The day’s first activity was an early morning presentation delivered by Jim Hannson and Patrick Hoglund of the Vrak Museum of Wrecks. Their talk about the maritime archaeology of the Baltic and the story of the excavation of the Vasa’s sister ship Applet whetted guests’ appetite for the next activity – a visit to the spectacular Vasa , now in its own museum in the city. The best way to get around Stockholm is by boat, and so it was by Zodiac that we arrived at the fabulous museum. Nothing can truly prepare first time visitors for the entry to the museum, where this great warship – beautifully preserved for nearly 300 years in the waters of Stockholm – now resides. For many, it was enough to simply wander around the levels overlooking the ship, but local guides were also on hand to explain the intricacies of the ship’s rescue and restoration. After lunch on board and an invigorating walk around the harbour for some guests, we prepared for the afternoon excursions. One group went on a walking tour of Gamlastan, the city’s historic quarter, where evidence of settlement right back to the Vikings can be found in the narrow and scenic streets. Another group went to Fotografiska, Stockholm’s museum of photography. A visit to the Millesgarden Art Museum and Sculpture Garden outside the city completed the artistic afternoon. At 6:00 pm, we sailed out of Stockholm Harbour with a scenic evening light illuminating dozens of pleasure and sailboats as we toasted the city from the sun deck.