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Finland: Helsinki Harbour Winter

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Helsinki Harbour Winter | Finland | Europe

[Visited: December 2002]

Helsinki is one of the coldest capitals of Europe. It is not only one of the northernmost cities, but also located on the sea. When it gets really cold in winter, even the sea freezes. For the visitor, this gives a rare opportunity to wonder at the icy spectacle of boats struggling their way through huge chunks of frozen sea, and more so, to actually be on one of those boats.

Picture of Helsinki Harbour Winter (Finland): Helsinki harbour in winter

When I saw the frozen sea and passengers boarding the ferry boat to Suomenlinnan, I did not hesitate. I had a quick breakfast, and boarded the boat myself. Around the boat, there was a hole in the ice, which was being maintained by the running engine of the boat. Ducks gratefully took advantage of this small piece of real water, in which they could swim a little (I have never seen a skating duck, and actually wondered what these birds do in winter in Finland).

Picture of Helsinki Harbour Winter (Finland): Swan seeking protection from cold in Finnish sea

As soon as the boat turned around and headed for the island, a crashing sound started on all sides, while we ploughed through the ice. Even though it was pretty cold outside, I could not stay inside as I was too curious to see what was happening at front. What I saw, was quite spectacular. Large chunks of ice were pushed ahead by the boat, and often disappeared under the dark water, which then pushed it up again. The crushing sound only stopped when we docked in a small open piece of water at the other side. The ice closed quickly behind us.

Picture of Helsinki Harbour Winter (Finland): Ducks diving into open water in Helsinki harbour
Picture of Helsinki Harbour Winter (Finland): Frozen water in Helsinki harbour
Picture of Helsinki Harbour Winter (Finland): Chunks of frozen sea in Helsinki Harbour
Picture of Helsinki Harbour Winter (Finland): Ferry boat in frozen sea, Helsinki Harbour
Picture of Helsinki Harbour Winter (Finland): Island in frozen sea at Helsinki harbour

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