Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Turku, Finland

June 2018

Traveling to the Baltics involves a 7 hour time change so we decided to leave early
for Latvia and spend a few days of temporal adjustment in Finland.  Having spent
some time in Helsinki, Lahti, Jyväskylä, and Kouvola on earlier trips, we turned
our attention to the southwest coast and Turku, historically one of Finland’s oldest
cities and once its largest, until being surpassed by Helsinki.
Aura River, Turku, Finland

Turku is located along the mouth of the Aura River as it flows into the Baltic Sea
at the expansive Turku Archipelago which extends to the Swedish-held Aland Islands.   
We stayed at a B&B outside of the city bordering a small lake and its nature preserve.
Aamuranta B&B
During our waking hours, our adjustment consisted mostly of exploring the shops,
restaurants, and sights in the downtown area on either side of the river.  Our hosts
gave us tips on where to find free parking near the Turku Cathedral and what
attractions to visit. They couldn’t have been more helpful and in talking with them
we learned of their travels to Maine including the Brooklin Boat Yard and Rangeley
Lake State Park.
Turku Cathedral
A Medieval Fair coincided with our visit and numerous crafters of all kinds lined
the stone walkways along the river on both sides.  We walked the length of the
walkway to the Turku Castle and took advantage of the excellent cuisine offered
by a pair of local restaurants.   Our initial plan to take a dinner cruise was
thwarted by persistent winds and rough seas.

Turku Castle
We enjoyed the Sibelius Museum located close to the Cathedral, which combined
information about composer Jean Sibelius’s life and musical artifacts from the
period he was active.  The composer is so revered in Finland that this was one
of many landmarks in the country with his name on it.
Naantali, Finland

Our second evening we ventured a few kilometers up the coast to the resort town of Naantali, beautifully tucked into a harbor to the east of Turku and reminiscent of
Swedish seacoast towns we had previously visited.

Littoisten luontopolku
As we were departing our B&B to return to Vantaa for the flight to Riga, we made 
a short stop to walk the nature preserve trails and encountered groups of school 
children out on a nature scavenger hunt with naturalist adult leaders.

Maybe it’s my study of Finnish education, but it seems every time I’m in Finland,
I see children enjoying the outdoors. It’s a wonderful sight.

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