In Turku, Scandinavian architecture and modern way of life prevails; but nestled between the city centre and the railway station, you will find Park Hotel Turku and a breeze of Central European atmosphere of olden times.
Like sirens, Turku archipelago ring road lures regular wanderers and habitual hedonists alike. So, without more ado, let us begin!
A light summer rain rattles against Hotel Pariisin Ville’s wine bar’s marquee. Some soft tunes of jazz mingle with the hollowness of Porvoo Cathedral’s bells from few blocks away: Morning is turning into noon, and the boutiques nearby have opened for business. Just another ordinary Thursday in Porvoo.
But I am keeping the everyday aspects of life at bay, enjoying the bourgeously hedonistic atmosphere in Hotel Pariisin Ville.
On a rainy Tuesday night, a peculiar atmosphere lingers in Helsinki: taxi drivers drowse in their cars in front of the Central Railway Station, guards keep a keen eye on the loitering youth and, leaning against the wind, a few lonely city dwellers hurry towards home. A gust of rain splashes against the asphalt occasionally.
I disturb a taxi driver’s nap with a slight tap on the window, jump into his car, and start whizzing towards Hotel Katajanokka.
Finland has 187 888 lakes and almost as many islands, but I am here for one of its oldest valleys, Naantali, where I am going to hibernate this winter. Nowadays, Naantali is known for its connection with the Moomin Valley, but of old, the connection with valley was somewhat more graceful: here, in the Valley of Grace, the Brigittine Order was established in the late Middle Ages, and the story of Naantali began.
As the third thing to do in Finland, I present you COFFEE BREAKS.
In market halls, the sense of place is intensified: vegetables, bread, coffee beans, cakes and delicacies, smiles, stares, smell of spice, people strolling around, people separated by counters of fruits; buyers and sellers and loiterers all in one moment of time and space, all in the Market Hall. The time has stopped, this is how the country really is: all that has been built is built on this.
Things to Do in Finland gives introductory notes on how to survive a trip to Finland.
We Finns might be reserved to the point of rudeness, but there is one place where we don’t hesitate to squeeze into a small, hot cubicle and still enjoy a cheery conversation. And this place is sauna.
Sokos Hotel Torni, in Helsinki, is like a miniature skyscraper, or an urban lighthouse. Its very name oozes anecdotes related to Finland’s struggle for independence, both in dominance and in culture.
If you’re about to travel to Finland, skip the city break in Helsinki, skiing holiday in Lapland or island tours on the coastal region, and book yourself an original Finnish summer cottage for a week or two. And how do you know the cottage is an original one, and not purpose built for tourists? Well, there are a few defining questions you can ask: