During the night it rained and by morning, the scattered showers had turned to thunder storms and intense showers. Mac n Tosh were not happy chaps, the thunder drives um bonkers. Eventually the rain stopped but the thunder and lightening carried on…is there more rain to follow? We waited a while in the hope the thunder would pass then we could cycle back in to Naantali. In the end, we gave up hope and did some admin and route planning to the delightful sound of thunder and howling dogs. We also updated our wild camping spots to include Finland for anyone who wishes to download and print.
After lunch we spotted a break in the weather, so we ceased the opportunity to take the dogs for a quick walk before heading on to Turku. Within half an hour we were parked up alongside the Aura river with free parking for up to 12 hours. Free parking in a city, excellent stuff!
We made our way to Michaels Church, which dominates the western skyline of the city. The red brick exterior with 1905 neogothic style interior with grey washed walls, a quirky pulpit, nice stained glass and copper candle sticks.
Back on the Aura river for a stroll along the banks and to soak up the atmosphere. Our slow pace allowed us to admire a number of grand buildings that gave an indication that this former capital was something rather special. Up until 1821, Turku was the capital of Finland when the Tsar just up sticks and decided to move the capital to Helsinki. A bit of a blow for the city folk but it didn’t take them long to bounce back and boom in to a prosperous port and thriving city.
Turku cathedral stands proud on the banks of the river and draws you towards it like a magnet. We took it in turns to go in the cathedral, whilst the other sat on the steps and caught a few sun rays with Mac n Tosh. The middle aisle was very plain and looked liked someone had spray painted it with concrete. However, along the sides and in the vaults are beautiful tombs of bishops, warlords and queen Karin Mansdotter. This Gothic cathedral dates back to 1200 and considered the greatest monument in Finland and it has to be said, the best church we have seen in Finland.
After our toot in the cathedral, we decided to turn around and start our long walk back to Vin. Holding hands with Mac n Tosh waddling alongside, what a way to spend the summer, perfect. By now it was nearing rush hour and Turku was starting to buzz. People finishing work for the day and taking time to chill before their journey home. The river is lined with pretty little eaterys and quirky bars as well as juice stalls with modern seating and huge bean bag chairs. Slowly the cafe and bar seats started to fill and the wine started to flow. For the more health conscious folk, time for a run along the river and Turku has it fair share of runners. The home to the legendary long-distance runner, Paavo Nurmi also know as ‘The Flying Finn’.
Rather than stay on the busy street we moved a few miles to the island of Ruissalo and parked up for the night and soaked up the evening sunlight, free of mosquitos!
Bumble Verdict: Turku, great on a summers day for a stroll along the river and a meander through Finland’s oldest city.
Our sleepy spot: The tranquil island of Ruissalo – in the middle of a field of wild geese.
Wild Camping GPS position N060.428237 E022.178545
Route: Naantali to Turku/Ruissalo
Weather: low 16, high 26