We were all looking forward to Helsinki as that is where our lovely captain hailed from and he was very proud of it. #1Helsinki City Tour, #2Porvoo and Helsinki Highlights, #3Helsinki by boat, #4Nordic walking and #5Helsinki Highlights and Ice Bar were all on offer (I'll definitely do this next time) but I remembered as a young girl being captivated by Sibelius's Valse Triste and as it was his 150th Anniversary I chose him. We would visit his home Ainola, see the famous monument dedicated to him and attend a private concert of his music played by talented students.
We drove out of Helsinki into the countryside. He yearned for quiet surroundings where he could concentrate on music in peace - away from the diversions of the city. He found a suitable spot overlooking a lake and many artistic friends also settled there. However we heard he was not averse to occasionally visiting the diversions of the city. When he was working the whole household would be plunged into silence. He and his wife had five daughters and when he wasn't working they would
steam in the sauna, rush into the lake, beat themselves dry with leafy branches and repeat the exercise many times.
Walking through the woods to visit the house, one could understand how this milieu attracted so many writers and painters. Ainola was named after his wife. He built it in 1904
For almost 60 years their two faithful servants lived at Ainola. Sibelius died in 1957and his wife lived on in the house till her death in 1969
The house is maintained in exactly the same state but we were not allowed to take photographs
The graves of the husband and wife
A sort of wash house cum bathroom cum sauna
Then we were driven to a nearby concert venue where two young musicians on piano and violin gave a spirited concert lasting about half and hour. They were excellent.
On again to Sibelius Park and after a short stroll came upon the unique Sibelius Monument.
It was constructed with 600 steel pipes. What do you think inspired it?
Here he is again.
Just to illustrate the joy of a picture window in one's cabin
Next stop St Petersburg