Wednesday, 10th July – Tampere to Turku

It was a reasonable drive to Turku, about 3.5 hours so we left fairly early.

On the outskirts of the city in a suburb called Pyynikki, in the forest overlooking the ocean is the Wreaths of the Poem sculpture. Created by sculptor Pertti Mäkinen, the monument was created in memory of the local poet Lauri Viida.

Nearby was a theme park, Näsinneula. We stopped at a well located car park and took in the terrific views and huge observation tower. The tower is the tallest free-standing structure in Finland, at a height of 168m it provides views across the municipality.

 

During both our 2014 adventure and this trip we hadn’t sought out historical locations relating to any of the wars. By chance, we stopped at a service station that at first glance weirdly had an old train carriage.

Upon further exploration we found the carriage was an important part of Finnish history. Known as “Marskin Salonkivaunu” – Marshal Mannerheim’s Saloon Wagon, it is the carriage in which Adolf Hitler and C.G.E. Mannerheim (the Finnish Military Leader), met on 4 June 1942. While the official reason for Hitler’s visit was to celebrate Mannerheim’s birthday, Hitler’s actual purpose was to ensure that Finland would remain allied to Nazi Germany.

Our next stop, an hour away, was the town of Pori. We stopped to see the The Jusélius mausoleum. This incredible building is a memorial to eleven year old Sigrid Jusélius by her father.

In 1927 Fritz Arthur Jusélius, an influential businessman, directed the establishment of the Sigrid Jusélius Foundation in memory of his daughter Sigrid who had died of lung tuberculosis. He thus created the biggest private promoter of medical research in Finland. To this day the foundation continues to distribute grants for important research.

The mausoleum itself measures 12 metres wide and its dome rises to a height of 35 metres. It is very impressive.

Situated on the Gulf of Bothnia, Rauma is one of the oldest harbours in Finland. The city was built around a Franciscan monastery and the mid-15th-century Holy Cross Church still stands today.

It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1991 because of its unique wooden architecture and its well-preserved medieval town layout. It is one of the only medieval towns in Finland.

The area of Old Rauma has approximately six hundred buildings (counting both proper houses and smaller buildings like sheds) and about 800 people living in the area. The oldest buildings date from the 18th century, as two fires in 1640 and 1682 destroyed much of the town. However, the layout of the town centre still retains much of its medieval structure.

The Rauma Express Train ride – we thought it would be a quick trip through the old town. To our delight we soon crossed a main road and then off we went on an hour long adventure.

On the way back to the car Keith spotted a SAAB, of course.

We finally made it to Turku. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at the hotel restaurant and enjoyed a swim in the lovely indoor pool. It was a great way to end the day.

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