Start of 850-word article
CRUISING FINLAND'S WATERWAYS
By Pam Hobbs
Helsinki, Finland: At 9.15 on a sunny
Sunday morning, Helsinki's harbour is
far busier than the city's streets. A ship
from Stockholm has just left on its all-day journey. Locals are off with picnics
to neighbouring Suomenlinna Island.
Sightseeing cruises and a water bus to
the zoo are popular on such a fine
weekend. And an American group waits
impatiently for a canal cruise that will
take them into an archipelego with
wooden summer homes perched on their
private little islands. As for me, I am
heading for Olympic Pier to join several hundred others in line the m.s. Georg
Ots, due to depart Helsinki at 10.30 and arrive in the Estonian capital of
Tallinn, four or five hours later.
Few tourists come to Finland without spending part of their vacation on
water, whether to get from here to there or to enjoy sights along the way. On
the Georg Ots, most passengers are Finns with Estonian roots. Theirs is a
regular pilgrimage to friends and relatives.