In the late morning, we drove on to Naantali, a small town not far from Turku. Upon arrival we had a quick drive through the town but most of the parking spots were residents only, so we headed just to the outskirts. We initially parked on one of the town car parks until Craig spotted a perfect wild camping spot..the running track. It really was something quite amazing and given it was in the middle of a sports ground made it even more special… it was bazaar and surreal. At the side of the running track a huge rock with plenty trees and a small dirt road. Craig plonked us right on the top, so no one could see us. It was like our own little rock island. Weird but perfect.
A hop, skip and a jump to the running track changing rooms with plenty water. So we took the opportunity to do all the washing and the weekly scrub. As usual, Craig scrubbed the out and I scrubbed in. By early afternoon Vin was beaming.
Afterwards, we went for a stroll. Naantali had a nice old-town feel about it with wooden houses, narrow cobbled lanes, lush parks and a busy marina. Down by the marina, the boats bobbed in the water with the prominent monastery of St Birgitta in the background. Surrounding the marina a selection of small cafes and ice cream parlours…did someone say ice cream? Five minutes later I was licking my lips and wiping the remains of a home made ice cream from half way up my nose. Its been that long since I’ve had an ice cream, I couldn’t eat it fast enough. Satisfied with a little dairy, we carried in tootling.
The majority of the old wooden houses are a haven for artists and galleries. All flocking here to chill in the laid back, medieval town and sell their goods to welcomed tourists. This busy town boomed in 1400’s then it took a nose dive before booming again in mid 1800’s as a spa town. Now its a tourist hot spot for Moomin Island. Remember the Moomins? Well just a short stroll along a wooden footbridge and you are on Moomin Island. Unfortunately we couldnt take Mac n Tosh on to the island (no dogs allowed), sigh.
Rejected by the Moomins we continued along the boardwalk to the beach before heading back in to town. Back in the hey day each house had a name plaque over the door and if you look closely you can still spot some of them. On the other side of the headland another small island, Luonnonmaa. This is the summer residence of the president, which is considered one of the most beautiful places in Finland with 1000’s of rose bushes. From the marina you could just see the castle but it was well camouflaged by trees and bushes…just like Vin on his big rock!
We cycled back with the dogs in the baskets. The sun on our backs, wind in our face and the dogs ears flapping like billy oh, life felt pretty good.
Bumble Verdict: Naantali, pretty and quaint with a bit of something for everyone.
Our sleepy spot: on a rock in the middle of a sports ground!
Wild Camping GPS position N060.428237 E022.178545
Route: Rauma to Naantali