I can't claim to be an authority on the link between elves and gnomes but I do know that Finland claims to be the home of Santa Claus so for all I know some of Sidd's relatives work in the old guy's shop way above the 60th parallel. Whatever the link may be Sidd seemed very much at home in Helsinki today. As we wandered through the Kauppatori Market Square - conveniently located just after we got off the boat - there were wonderful stalls with all manner of wares - fruit, flowers, vegetables, fish and local handicrafts. Strangely for him Sidd didn't spend much time admiring the displays of tasty dishes available at the small tent restaurants but he was drawn - twice - to one craft display. An elderly lady was busily cutting willow branches on the diagonal making thin almost scale like ovals. She then fashioned them into pine cones and balls that could, if you stretched your imagination, be hung on a tree come Christmastide.
Sidd settled himself amongst them and wouldn't move until I bought one or two or three! But not for our tree you have to understand, the four or five I bought are for friends. Well okay the one that Sidd bought and proffered as a gift will be on the tree - I mean after all when a gnome gives you a handicraft from the land of Santa Claus can you really refuse?
15 June - 1219: Danish victory at the Battle of Lyndanisse (modern-day Tallinn) establishes the Danish Duchy of Estonia. According to legend, this battle also marks the first use of the Dannebrog, the world's first national flag still in use, as the national flag of Denmark.
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