Thursday, 11th July – Turku to Espoo

We woke to a pleasant albeit overcast morning. Our hotel was perfectly situated on the banks of the Aura River. A walk on the river bank was not just a great way to start the day, it was a perfect way to see Turku before the city became busy.

The beautiful Turku Cathedral is the only medieval basilica in Finland and regarded as one of the major records of Finnish architectural history. Considered to be the most important religious building in Finland, the cathedral’s bells chiming at noon are broadcast on national radio.

The cathedral was originally built out of wood in the late 13th century, was expanded in the 14th and 15th centuries, mainly using stone as the construction material.

We enjoyed the simple walking tour of Turku and reluctantly checked out and made our way to Espoo.

Once we got through the major highway it was a lovely drive and we stopped at a tiny village Stromma for a quick coffee break. Such a peaceful and untouched part of the world.

Our next stop was in the town of Snappertuna (not a typo 😀) to see the Raseborg Castle Ruins. Raseborg Castle was built during the 1370’s when Finland was part of the Swedish Kingdom.

The Castle was built on a rock and at the time was surrounded by the sea. Its purpose was to keep watch over the shipping and trade in the Gulf of Finland. The castle was abandoned in 1558 laying deserted for more than 300 years, until the restorations began in the 1880’s.

  

There’s a lovely forest walk known as Lovers Path not far from the ruins.

After exploring the castle ruins, we continued on to our next stop for today, only 30 minutes away,  Fiskars Village.

Fiskars Village was founded in the 17th century and known today as the centre of Finnish art and design. The Clock Tower Building has marked the time at Fiskars since 1842. There were lots of cafes and art galleries and it was lovely to walk around in the cool shadows of all the trees beside the cute little river which runs through the village.

After some lunch we made our way to Espoo, our final destination for the day.

The Espoo Cathedral dates back to 1485 with many of its medieval paintings from the early 1500’s. Of course restoration, renovations and additions have been made over the years. Most recently in 2010 whilst preserving the cathedral’s historic architecture the Cathedral is now home to a modern pipe organ and sound system.

The last destination on our list today was Lake Bodom. The clouds looked ominous and as we pulled in the carpark it started to rain. Keith braved what was clearly going to be a huge downpour to take some pictures of this interesting Lake that has some rather sad history. In 1960 this location was where three teenagers were found murdered after a camping trip. Sadly no one has ever been convicted of this horrible crime so we will never know what happened. There are numerous books and movies made about this tragedy – even one of Keith’s favourite bands is called Children of Bodom.

An Angry Birds themed children’s park was certainly not expected!

Poor Keith as he was taking some pictures it really started bucketing down, it did make for some great pictures though.

After what had ended up being quite a long day we were happy to find our hotel. The view from our window was gorgeous and we saw out the end of the storm with a rainbow and unexpectedly some cute but rather huge rabbits, most likely hares.

Ps. How many Hares can you see? One is hiding particularly well at the top left of this photo!

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