33: Thursday – Driving Rain / Driving Forests / Wooden Houses in Old Towns
Weather pretty grim so put some miles in going south. Intended to stop in Oulu, but K driving and J napping, so K kept driving. Oulu from the ring road looked like a MASSIVE busy and modern town. Known for its Air Guitar Championships! Apparently it would have been good for a bike ride around the waterways and old market place, but the weather was not inviting.
We stopped and looked at coca-cola (Kokkola), basic shopping and asked some embarrassed girls where to find the old town. All they could do was giggle and point. On being asked if they learnt English at school (the teacher in me still!), they giggled again and nodded. A quick wander around the old wooden houses and back on the road.
Stopped overnight at Jacobstadt, by a small marina. Wandered the town in the morning with some of the best preserved wooden houses in Finland and this almost art deco clock tower.
34: Friday – Vaasa and a wonderful moment in time
Short drive to Vaasa. Managed to find a 4 hour free parking right outside one of the museums. A combined ticket gave us entry to the town museum and an art gallery.
Pohjanmaan Museo: exhibitions about the changing natural history and life in Vaasa, and art and furniture that had come from two private collections. Some English info cards in most rooms 🙂
BUT the Kuntsi Museum a short walk away. This houses changing exhibitions and currently two photographic by Finn Teemu Mäki. Early we spoke to one of the guides who then spent an hour with us explaining the sets of three photos in the ‘Be your enemy’ exhibition. In workshops, people explored who they are now, their worst nightmare and their dream. Without this amazing lady the pix would have been largely lost on us. The other half of the exhibition was about challenging stereotypes about men and women and how much of society and it’s conventions you choose to take on board.
Check it out here: http://kuntsi.vaasa.fi/index_eng.html
We were so buoyed up by this experience, we celebrated in the centre of the town with a glass of something red …
We moved Chard all of 50 metres from our roadside parking to a gravel parking on the waterfront for the night.
35: Saturday – Rauma and Turku
PANIC! Awoke in the morning to find the chemical loo had somehow filled itself …. a quick pack up and on the road to find a service station …. fortunately we found one really close. We emptied and filled with fresh water and then parked up and went back to bed!!!
Once we were up and going, we stopped in Rauma. This is the KING of old wooden houses – all 700 of them. Very pretty, but must be horrendous in high season. A combined museum ticket got us through the Town Hall town museum with some exhibits of lace, for which the town is famous, and quickly through the merchant’s house and the seaman’s house.
Toast to Turku
Drove onto Turku, again a waterside pitch alongside the river and the restaurant and cruise trip boats.
Late afternoon, so a quick walk along the river and into the town. Bustling, sun shining and really attractive.
Our overnight pitch was lovely by the river Aura and promised well for a peaceful evening once the strollers had departed for their tea and muFinns… Now we had reckoned without the riverine Saturday night young partygoers? And were they goers? On the restaurant ship right opposite our non-party van, they started early – and finished at 5>00 am ! Clunegapyears had a major gap in the sleeping department !
Sunday: Turku – liked and explored, without yawns
However, we rose late and headed out of Turku to replenish the ablutions and WC functions? Is there a law in Finland about assisting the forest life with human biogas _ Second time we have broken it…
Afternoon saw us walking around the open air handicrafts museum… it is actually a complete village of original 1700-1900 cottages each housed the trades that were necessary for life – from carpentry through printing to rug making. Our journey was greatly assisted by local lady guides who knew even the individual families (2 families next door to each other had 6 daughters ) 12 young ladies ! Later, we visited the Contemporary Art Museum. This leaves me wondering why I threw out my drawings and squiggles from 3 years old! But there was a fascinating section downstairs about the original medieval town recently excavated and explained – in Finnish, Swedish and English.
Now we have moved downriver for our nights pitch to avoid Turku Temple Bar? and instead we currently have a coach load of KGB tourists examining our van! We might have to get a bit Bolshevik with them…..
Right next to Stockholm to Finland ferry port …. watched (and heard) 50+ twin trailered lorries leave… checked the timetable … safe till 0700 hrs, then the dinosaur noises start again!
One of my link did not (sorry) to the place I wanted. Here is the correct one:
Hiking far beyond the Arctic Circle and meet reindeers.
Lovely posts – I was born in rauma, my dad in Turku so very important places to me – have you had a coffee and cinnamon bun yet?? (Kahvia ja pulla)
We liked Rauma and really like Turku, will be staying near tonight and plan to see the castle tomorrow. Off exploring the archipelago today …. Free ferries largely. Will hunt out the bun – j rarely refuses a cake with coffee! X
Lovely post. I am glad that You saw these towns which You presented in this post. In Finland we have many town with old wooden houses on our coastal line. More info in my blog presenting Finland.
Happy and safe travels!
Hi and thank you for your links. We are travelling around the coast so when we leave Helsinki, we will come up the East and through the Lakes up to the Artic Circle. I read your rock paintings post and will check to see when the boat rides start … Katherine and James
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Hello Katherine and James.
I love Your comment and now I know better Your plans. Cruises start not before Jun 16th. When You drive alongside the coastal line these town have wooden houses: Hanko (beautiful villas), Tammisaari, Porvoo, Loviisa. Visit at least in Hanko and Porvoo. Starting June 5th in Lappeenranta there are Sand Statues to be seen. If You visit Lappeenranta, then next might be Savonlinna. There is Medieval castle of Olavinlinna (must see).
From Savonlinna You could take the road to the town Joensuu and continue to the Koli national park (must see). From Koli to the Arctic Circle, there are some interesting places, but not so much. It is possible also to continue Your trip from Koli taking the Cruise on Lake Pielinen to the town called Lieksa.
I do not know where to You plans are to continue, but possible to the Northernmost place Nuorgam. I would tell to You that again to Norway to the Europe’s Northernmost place called Nordkapp (must see).
If You love simple hiking, then North of Arctic Circle 13 nearby the place called Muonio. As You noticed I did not give any link to my hometown Mikkeli. There are not so much to see, but if Your road leads here to Mikkeli, then this place: Old vicarage lives full life (Kenkävero) .
I am ready to help You on Your road trip and if any questions, do not hesitate ask me! I know my Finland after driving about 25000 km in 10 years from the South to the North and from the East to the West. My photo blog have more than 20000 photos just give visual ideas what to find in Finland.
Thank you so much Matti for the information and the links. I have really enjoyed looking at your photos, especially Porvoo in the snow, which we have never seen anything like!
We are not really planning very much ahead … as we have both stopped work. We have to be in France at the end of July … but other than that we have time to move roughly at the pace we want.
However, given your advice, we will follow the E18 east of Helsinki and see Porvoo and Loviisa, up to Lappeenranta …. I did read that from here you can do a boat trip to Vyborg, but as we do not have Russian visas, I think we will not be able to do this. We’ll then follow the road number 6 up to Savonlinna and the smaller road up to Joensuu and the lake.
We will definitely be going to the Nordkapp – but I have some reading to do about the most interesting route up. Do you have a suggestion for us to go from the Lakelands up … we are happy to do some big motoring days?
Very best regards Katherine and James
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Thank you. I am glad when reading that You will visit Nordkapp. Depending the road You which You select after Savonlinna to Joensuu, there might be nice stop for You:
Monastery of New Valamo.
I recommend it. 🙂
Wonderful! Lovely photos ! Also of you two! Xxxxx
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