We arrived in Rauma last night after a full day of driving. The drive was hard going as we weaved through endless road works, drove through a bug n splat shower and then pulled over to avoid a thunder storm with flash floods. All that topped off with speed camera every mile or so. We parked at the marina ( N061.142206 N021.480996 ) and it didn’t take long before it did something that felt bazaar…it went dark. It felt awfully weird after 2 months of permanent daylight. The sun light went off and the spot lights came on!
We woke to a soft and warm morning on the marina. I took the dogs for a morning stroll around the beautiful parkland whilst Craig jumped on Eor and went to find a parking spot closer to town. The wood plank walk way proved to be a morning challenge for the dogs but the sandy beach at the end, was a great reward.
We moved to a car park right on the edge of town. A brilliant location not only 2 minutes to the centre but straight facing a 500 year old stone church. Our first attempt to visit the church was halted by a full congregation celebrating their first holy communion but no rush, a toot around the old town first will do nicely.
The town of Rauma in western Finland was founded in 1442, making it the 3rd oldest town in the country. It is especially known for its well-preserved wooden buildings and its long tradition in bobbin lace-making.
We wandered around the sleepy town with its pastel washed wooden houses, cobbled streets and large town square. It was relaxing and different. Different because it feels so long since wandered around a town as opposed to countryside.
The town has a number of ‘house’ museums. We say house because we don’t know what to call them. People convert a room or a house in to a museum and you just wander in. It felt rather bazaar at first but after a while we soon got the hang of walking in to someones front room. Some of the museums were free and some were part of the town museum collection (€8 for all). We especially loved the telephone museum, a family collection clearly loved and restored by father and son. Their garden shed converted in to a wonderful display contained a several hundred telephones from 1800’s to present day. They even had an old fashioned operator system rigged up to a variety of phones, so you could see how it all worked. Turn the handle…ring,ring..ring,ring.
Unbeknown to us the old village hall is full hosting its annual lace making festival. As we slowly meandered around the town they were busy bobbin away and presenting this years awards. As we tootled by the doors were about to close, but the organiser noticed our perplexed look (wondering what they were doing) and invited us in. Everyone was packing away and chinning their last cup of coffee of the day but it didn’t stop the welcome. The Finnish people are certainly very friendly. This years lace champion gave us a little demo and showed us a number of her lace pieces. We thanked everyone for their hospitality and then left them to pack up.
At the other side of town a stone walled burial site with number of old head stones and crosses. A very eerie and goth sort of feel to it. As we walked around we spotted a Finnish family enjoying a photo shoot. Their daughter clutching a single rose straddled the stone wall in her confirmation outfit. It seemed a bit weird to us, so we left them to it.
The stone church of the Holy Cross, sits alongside a small stream. The embankment and wooden bridges are covered in summer flowers making the approach to the church rather fetching.
The church originally founded by St Francis of Assisi in 1442 is made of stone and wood. Inside the ceiling of the choir vault is beautifully decorated and dates back to 1512. The stained glass windows, wooden pulpit and the oldest votive tablet in Finland all added to a fascinating sanctuary.
Back in Vin and time to chill. This time last year I remember saying to Craig lets go to Scandinavia, lets go right to the end of Norway in to the Arctic Circle. He looked at me if though I was bonkers. The seed was sown and slowly during the rest of 2015 he warmed to the idea, so much so that in 2016 we set off to reach the Top of Europe. With this in mind, I started to to this of next years adventure. I know we are only half way through 2016 but I need time to work on Craig, let him warm to the idea. What seed shall I sow? So many places to visit!!! Well have to say I do fancy China. Seed planted or should I say bombshell dropped.
Last year we started doing a little Bumble Verdict after each place we visited. Just a simple summary. To be honest, we completely forgot about it until someone dropped us a note, so here is our first for 2016…
Bumble Verdict: Rauma, great old town with plenty quirky ‘house’ museums and a nice relaxing atmosphere.
Our sleepy spot: On the grass car park over looking the 500 year old stone church.
Wild Camping GPS position N061.130927 N021.512388
Route: Ontakari to Rauma