Earlier
this month I went to Christmas markets in Tallinn and Helsinki.
As I’ve already told you, the market in Tallinn was quite charming and the city
itself was wonderful. I definitely want to go back and spend more time there. I’d
like to be able to tell you more about Helsinki but since I was there for only
a short period, had almost no time to explore, and it was pouring rain, I
didn’t get to experience the city as fully as I would have liked. 

I did take a short bus tour of Helsinki, which allowed me to see a bit of the city, and so instead of telling you about Helsinki, I’ll show you, using the photo-sharing app Instagram, named 2011’s iPhone App of the Year.
The port of Helsinki is the busiest in Finland. Not only is there a lot of cargo traffic, but also busy passenger traffic with diverse services to and from Stockholm, St. Petersburg and Tallinn, where I traveled from for the day. 
Uspenski Cathedral at night. 
Uspenski Cathedral as seen through the bus window and rain.
Uspenski Cathedral is not only a must-see site, but set atop a hill overlooking Helsinki, it’s also a can’t miss site.  The church has a huge central dome and four enormous granite pillars, and is quite an imposing building to see. I love how the pictures I took from the bus in the rain and at night give the church a really spooky 
feel.
The
Lutheran Church looms over Senate Square, which is also where you will find the
St. Thomas Christmas market. With close to 150 vendors in red wooden stalls
selling crafts, baked goods and other Christmas specialities, it is the biggest
Christmas market in Finland. Santa Claus visits the market on weekends, though
I didn’t see him, probably because I was tying to shop quickly so that I could
get out of the rain.

The Christmas Market at Senate Square in Helsinki
The cathedral, with its beautiful Christmas tree, nativity scene in the
foyer and organ concert, was a welcomed refuge from the dreary rain and a nice
compliment to the Christmas market right out front.

After
the concert, I again braved the rain, but only lasted a few minutes. Seeking
refuge from the deluge again, I ducked into the Old Market Hall in Market
Square
. I enjoy going to markets in different places because it’s always
fun to see’s fresh and local.
Or
it least it’s fun until you realize that Rudolph is the main dish. Don’t
get me wrong, I am a big time meat-eater, just as long as that meat is chicken
or beef or pork.  I’ll always pass on the
horse meat
, and around Christmastime, I’ll grant reindeer a pardon.

While
I get that people eat reindeer, I was kinda surprised by the bear meat.
But then again, I guess it’s better if we (“we” as in people, not
“we” as in me) eat the bear than the bear eat us.
Is this the other, other white meat?

What kind of meat could you “bear” to eat?