Today is our second day in the capital city of Finland, Helsinki. We spent the entire day exploring the area. Several of us availed ourselves of the option to take a trip out of the city to Fiskars Village. People began to settle this site in 1649. The name of the city means “fishing community,” and Fiskars was the location of a fishing village along the river now called the Fiskar River. Today, the entire area is transformed into an artisan community with workshops, galleries, and small shops occupying the buildings that were once used for iron ore processing and associated activities.

Our first stop was the glass studio of Tarmo Maaronen, who has been blowing glass since 1979. In addition to his creative work at Fiskars, Tarmo teaches Scandinavian glass techniques in San Giovanni Valdarno in Italy. Tarmo demonstrated his skill by blowing a beautiful wine carafe with a spiral design and a glass model of a penguin. He also had many other animals in glass on display in his studio, and it was fascinating to watch the process from beginning to end as he created these beautiful glass pieces.

Adjacent to the glass studio was a wooden boat shop, and nearby was a blacksmith hard at work. His shop contained a forge and a large power hammer for shaping glowing red iron into hundreds of interesting items, from coat hooks to iron models of small horses.

A third stop on our visit was to the workshop of goldsmith Timo Mustajärvi, who showed us a magnificent variety of jewelry pieces using a large selection of gemstones from all over Finland.

After visiting these artisans, we enjoyed an excellent lunch of rainbow trout. Then we had free time to explore more of the studios and shops before returning to National Geographic Explorer where we sailed from Helsinki in the evening.