🇫🇮 🇪🇪 🏴 🇸🇬 EUROPE TOGETHER, 2016
When Anne went to Europe three years ago, she paid for her ticket with Qantas Frequent Flyer points, which tend to be quite restrictive as regards choice of flights, and even routes. The only way Qantas were able to get her home from Barcelona was via Helsinki. Given the Finns' reputation in the world of design, Anne jumped at the chance of a short stop-over, which whetted her appetite for a return visit. So when Fate brought to our notice a Finnair "companion fare" promotion including Manchester (the venue for this year's Urban Sketchers' Symposium), travelling via Helsinki of course, it didn't take us long to decide to go. My x0th birthday provided another excuse. For once, we got to travel overseas together!
We flew Sydney - Helsinki via Singapore, 5 nights in Helsinki, crossed by ferry to Tallinn (Estonia) for 2 nights, flew Tallinn/Helsinki/Kuopio (central Finland), 2 nights there, then drove southwards via Savonlinna and Kerimäki for 2 nights at the Karelian Country Cottages on the shores of Lake Puruvesi, then on to Porvoo (driving very near the Russian border), where we stayed 3 nights before making the short journey to Helsinki airport.
From Helsinki we flew to Manchester, and drove to Burnsall in the Yorkshire Dales, where we stayed 6 nights before driving south via Haworth (the Brontë family). Halifax (Last Tango in ...) and Slaithwaite (home of Shaun of Ramshaw's Optometry) , not to mention quite a few wrong turns along the way!, to Eyam in the Derbyshire Peak District, where we stayed for a week before moving on to Manchester for Anne's Urban Sketchers' Symposium.
Unfortunately the Manchester weather and the Hilton Deansgate hotel were both lousy, so we cut our stay there short by two days, coming out straight after the Symposium finished, having arranged to go back to our friends at the Lilla Roberts hotel in Helsinki for an unplanned two days, before resuming our original schedule with four nights in Singapore, and then home. Almost six weeks in total, 29 June to 8 August.
Click/tap on the images below to go to each section of our trip. Each section contains a representative sample of photos, with a link to a more extensive gallery. My selection needs a few general comments:
First, they are not necessarily my best photography, but are chosen to tell the story of our holiday, in strictly chronological order.
Secondly, I need to explain that from midday on the second day in Tallinn through to the end of our first full day in Kuopio, the photos were shot on the camera's lowest quality setting. I don't know how I managed to bang the wrong buttons. I'm particularly disappointed that both the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn and the lake cruise from Kuopio were affected - reason enough to go back! Also, inside buildings such as the Kadriorg Palace or Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, the photographic quality suffers from having to shoot indoors hand-held without flash or tripod.
Thirdly, there's a strong element of cathedrals and churches in the selection. That's not indicative of some new-found religious fervour on my part, but recognises the importance of these buildings in the history of the place, especially in England and also Porvoo, and/or the strong visual impact they have, ranging from the incredible decoration of the Uspenski interior to the plainer old age of the chapel at Haddon Hall, the majestic Ripon Cathedral, or the amazing wooden church at Kerimäki.