Finland Report August 2005

We arrived in Helsinki in the mid day and were met at the airport by club president Chris Lummelampi. We enjoyed a short taxi ride from the airport to the Hotel Rivoli located in the city center close to all of the sights and many fine restaurants. Chris would pick us up later for dinner. We unpacked and immediately ventured out to a bustling city filled with tourists. We walked along the harbour front and explored the many vendors booths set up in the Market Square selling a wide variety of wares including food, souvenirs, clothes and local handicrafts. Within minutes walk of our hotel were major sightseeing 'musts' and we quickly walked past them and looked forward to visiting each more thoroughly the next few days. We returned to the hotel and freshened up and then it was off to dinner with Chris. She took us to one of her favorites and we understood why very quickly. The food and service were excellent and the atmosphere very relaxing. Wendy had a scrumptious chicken plate and Richard enjoyed a feast of sea scallops. We passed the hours quickly getting to know more about our gracious host and her beautiful country.

The streets were crowded with people and artists performing all sorts of music from classical to rock and many locals displaying handmade crafts. We had arrived on a special day of the year called 'Night of the Arts' where the local artisans and musicians came out to celebrate. The festive evening lasted into the wee hours of the night and we enjoyed spending some time in the revelry before retiring to our room for a well deserved rest after a very pleasant evening.

The next day we stopped at the tourist bureau and became aquainted with some of the attractions we would visit in the coming days. We decided to become orientated with the city by taking a boat cruise called King's Gate amongst the over 300 islands off the coast of Helsinki. The excursion along the city shores and through it's beautiful archipelago was breathtaking. The weather was sunny but cool at 20 degrees celsius. Helsinki is the capital of Finland and is an important cultural center and seaport. Next we were off to explore the Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress with it's 7 museums, cozy restaurants and miles of fortifications, curtain walls, ramparts and tunnels. It was very educational to understand the various reasons for the large Russian and Swedish influence in Finland outlined by it's historical relationships from the past. Near the end of our tour and on the windswept furthest part of the island to the ferry back to the mainland the weather turned for the worst with a strong blowing rain. We stopped at an in interesting restaurant called Nikolai Pizzeria to wait out the storm. It was located in the mysterious labyrinthine casement vaults under the fortifications. We enjoyed a delicious early dinner and many local Carlsberg beer waiting for the storm to be over. We eventually decided to leave and take the long walk across the island to the ferry in the pouring rain. We arrived back at the hotel soaked to the bone but much richer from the unique experience. After a short nap and change of clothes we were off again to explore more sights and have a relaxing snack in a Chinese restaurant near the hotel after an excellent day of sightseeing.

The following day began with a visit to the Senate Square in the city center an area that is crowned by three buildings in the Neo-Classical design built between 1822-1855. They are the magnificent and most photographed Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace and the University. We then took another boat tour called 'Under The Bridges' to see more of the city, it's buildings and parks. Another interesting site was a Lutheran Church, more commonly known as the 'Rock Church' hewn into the rock and completely surrounded by rock. Shopping is available in every type of store from street vendors to major department stores. One of the local department stores even had a fashion show to make shoppers aware of their wares. Richard even sat through it and especially liked the swimsuit session.


In the evening we were collected from the hotel by club member Elizabeth Schauman for dinner with the rest of the judges at the Yacht Club a short boat ride into the harbour. We enjoyed reacquainting ourselves with fellow judges Ann Ingram from Ireland, who we had met several years previously when she had judged in Canada and Roy Metcalfe from England who we had met when we did a seminar on for the North Counties Shih Tzu Club in the late 90's in England. Also on the panel was Ellis Hulme, Vivien Watkins, Diane Fry and her daughter Tracy Jackson and Vera Gillott, all from England, Karin Biala-Gauss and Gerda Kastl from Germany, Siv Jernhake from Sweden and Kari Jarvinen and Rainer Vuorinen from Finland. The dinner started with a tasty pureed morel (mushroom) soup, followed by Caesar salad then a delicious whole sea bass with tartar sauce and salmon roe, roasted potatoes and vegetables. It was then off to bed for a good nights sleep before a long day of judging.

The show sponsored by the Finnish Toy Dog Club was held in the exclusive seaside Kaivapuisto Park which is Helsinki's oldest and best known park surrounded by embassies and villas. Unfortunately the day was sullened by a continuous downpour that continued throughout the day. The show was judged under Finnish Kennel Club and FCI rules with critiques and gradings being given for each dog. At the 900 plus entry Toys only show Wendy had an entry of 21 Bichon Frises, 39 Boston Terriers, 15 Maltese and 9 Yorkshire Terriers. Richard judged 35 Schipperkes and 23 Lowchen. We enjoyed judging the excellent dogs with cheerful exhibitors and also the excellent buffet lunch and spirits to warm our tired bodies after judging in rain for the day in the elegant restaurant in the park. The eventual winner of the specialty was a Bichon Frise, Jitterhop Million Bucks owned by Jaana Kauppinen.

That evening we ventured out with the remaining judges for another feast of local food with host Chris Lummelampi. Richard had a tender fillet of reindeer and Wendy had a sandwich tower of roast pork. We retired early after a long day in the elements with plans to take the Sea Catamaran to the country of Estonia 80 kilometers south of Helsinki across the Baltic sea.

The next day was sunny and bright and we enjoyed the hour and a half boat ride to the medieval city of Tallin in Estonia. We had a pleasant day of sightseeing, history and shopping. Our guide for the day brought us to all the right places for the above in our whirlwind day trip to this interesting country. Wendy bought several local hand knitted sweaters to compliment her fall wardrobe.

We returned back to Helsinki in time to pack and get ready to leave for the final leg of our exciting adventure to Scandinavia. The next morning we would fly to Copenhagen, Denmark where we would stay for a few days before going on to our final judging assignment where Wendy would be judging in the town of Vejen in the western part of the country on the following Sunday. We looked forward to returning to Finland to further explore the diverse country as we had only experienced a glimpse of the country from Helsinki only.

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Wenrick Reg'd
Wendy & Richard Paquette
Box 640, 411 St Agnes St W
Azilda (Sudbury) ON P0M 1B0
Tel 1-800-836-6661
Fax 1-705-983-5147
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