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Published: August 4th 2011
Day 13, Tuesday 2nd August, 2011
Helsinki to Naantali
After a few days of ‘doing nothing’ (swimming, sleeping, sauna and food), Yesterday we made our way back to “the big smoke” Helsinki, leaving behind the summer cottage and the green world. On the way we stopped to see my youngest aunt and her children, my cousins, who are the youngest of the cousinly brood, around the age of my own children. It was great to meet yet more cousins, (they’re everywhere!!) lovely young people.
This morning I caught a train to Turku, a major city along the south east coast, and my birthplace. The countryside was lush and showing the signs of the ending of summer with ripe-looking wheat fields and harvested hay rolled into white plastic “tractor eggs” deposited randomly in the fields. The farms with their red painted houses were interspersed with forest, mainly birch and pine of many sorts. I have been told that about 70% of Finland’s land area is covered by trees.
Arriving at the Turku Railway station two hours later, I was greeted by yet another cousin, my Father’s niece and her husband, who brought me to their house in a nearby
town of Naantali.
This is an old town. It has been a popular sea faring town in the middle ages, and the convent of St Bridgid was established here in the mid 1400’s. The old town has beautiful wooden buildings dating into the 15 and 16 hundreds, and the museum has rooms decorated in the style and objects of 18 and 1900’s and makes for interesting viewing.
Many of the older buildings house artisans and artists, sales rooms and exhibitions. Another museum holds art works from the local area in past times, miniature diorama’s and a display of archeological finds of the convent and it’s life in the 1500’s.
Reaching the harbour, we were greeted by restaurants and eateries, packed with tired and happy families who for the most part have spent a full day at popular Moominworld, a theme park based on the works about moomin trolls created by Tove Jansson.
By the harbour looking at the boats and yachts, we spent a quiet hour eating icecream and drinking a coffee in the early evening sunshine.
After returning to the house, we set off for Heli’s summer cottage by the sea, a twenty minute drive along the coast to
one of the countless islands which make up the archipelago of Aland. There we went for a swim and enjoyed a sauna, before heading back for a snack and bed. Swimming in the sea, still lit by sunshine at 10 in the evening. Unbelievably amazing.
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