I spend my days working in my little home office, and I love it. Although I have to break the image of a beautiful, nicely decorated, functional and well-lit office room. Mine is nothing like that. Instead, I have a small desk in the corner of my living room with an office chair that one of my cats took over some time ago.
It didn’t take too long to get frustrated with the continuous battle of the chair. My options seemed to be a) sharing my office chair with my fat cat or b) try to keep working while the cat is on my lap and keeps climbing on top of my computer. I guess you know where this story is going. Yep, I ended up working at the kitchen table and let the cat use my office corner for his naps.
He’s not interested in that chair anymore, but somehow I managed to build a habit of working in the kitchen. Even if it’s not ideal, I love working from home. I could work anywhere, even in one of the many cosy cafés in the old town of Rauma if I like. I love having the freedom to choose. I love having the freedom to snooze a bit longer in the mornings I feel tired, the freedom to have lunch when I’m hungry instead of a certain hour and the freedom to go for a run in the middle of the day, whenever I feel like my brain needs a little bit of fresh air to function correctly.
Of course, there are some cons as well. When working at home, I HAVE TO GET OUT now and then. Otherwise, I feel the walls slowly falling on me. But when I have a lot of work with deadlines approaching, I can’t go very far. Even then having a short break works perfectly. One day escape from the kitchen table it’s more than enough and helps me recharge my batteries.
Last weekend we would have had a perfect opportunity for a quick weekend getaway, out of the everyday rush and the pile of papers on the kitchen table. However, we couldn’t find any tempting last minute travel deals, so we decided to go to the Åland Islands for a couple of days. Even if Åland belongs to Finland, it feels like going abroad; we have to take the ferry to get there, no one speaks Finnish there (they speak Swedish instead, silly huh?) and the views are fantastic!
Due to some technical issues, we had to cancel our plans of travelling to Åland at very last minute. Instead, we ended up halfway there – we ended up spending 10 hours in Turku, the harbour city in the South-West of Finland. The medieval city of Turku is a great destination for a quick getaway, but what to do in Turku in springtime when you’re visiting the city between seasons?
Let’s have a look, shall we.
Take a stroll along Aura River
Funny enough, when walking along the river Aura that is flowing through the city, it felt just like being abroad. Even if many of the boats resting on the river are still covered after winter, Turku seemed to be slowly waking up for the spring. The streets were lively, and the most of the people passing by were tourists. When secretly listening to the conversations, we heard more Russian and Swedish than Finnish. Just like being abroad!
Besides the boats, the banks of the river are full of cosy restaurants, beautiful buildings and exciting artwork. What a perfect spot for a little spring walk.
Visit the medieval Turku Castle
Our first target was the medieval castle near the harbour. For so long I’ve wanted to take a ghost and torture tour that they organise in Turku Castle now and then, but unfortunately, it wasn’t available on the day of our visit. Instead, we participated in a medieval-themed tour, which was also very interesting and informative (even though I would have wanted to know about the ghosts).
Well, now we know how people lived in the Turku Castle during the Middle Ages, so next time we can fully concentrate on ghosts and horror stories.
The medieval tour takes about an hour, but you should make sure you’ll have at least another hour to go around the castle by yourself after the guided tour; the castle is huge! The entrance fee is 9 euros, and participating in the guided tour adds additional 3 euros on top – totally worth it!
Have lunch along the river
After the castle tour, we might have been full of history, but our tummies were empty. While walking back towards the city centre, we came across with a restaurant called Rantakerttu. You’ll recognise it very easily, as it’s decorated with ladybugs. The restaurant had a hamburger buffet open all day long, which sounded very tempting (we were THAT hungry). The buffet costs 14,80 euros, and it includes all non-alcoholic drinks and coffee, so if you like to eat a lot – and like hamburgers – it’s definitely worth it. Ok, it’s not exactly gourmet, but surprisingly tasty. We only wanted to get some energy to manage through our tourist day in Turku.
As ordered, after the lunch also the sun decided to join us on our tour!
Take a walk on Vartiovuori Hill (and visit Luostarinmäki if open)
Once we reached the centre, we headed for the Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum which is an outdoor museum village. It’s the only wooden part of the city that survived the Great Fire of Turku in 1827.
I had never visited Luostarinmäki before, so I had pictured it looking like the old town quarter in Stockholm’s Skansen. And so it seemed, based on what we managed to see when peeking in from behind the locked steel gate. We found out that the Luostarinmäki outdoor museum opens its’ gates again in May.
Besides the ghost tour in Turku Castle, we now had another good reason to return to Turku as soon as possible (not before May, though).
Right next to the Luostarinmäki area there is a big hill called Vartiovuori (a loose translation would be something like ‘Guard Hill’) with a park and an observatory on top. The hill separates Luostarinmäki from the city centre and it’s a nice shortcut with beautiful views, in case you don’t mind a small uphill.
Don’t miss the stunning Turku Cathedral
From the top of the hill, we spotted our next target, Turku Cathedral, that is beautiful to look at even from the garden, but absolutely stunning when you step inside.
Turku Cathedral is free to visit, but if you want to visit the museum upstairs, you need to pay an entrance fee of 2 euros (I’m sure you can afford that). Even the church itself has a lot to admire, so you might not want to rush out in a hurry. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a religious person, and I know absolutely nothing about architecture, but I do love old churches; they are so pretty. Oh, and I also heard the Cathedral is haunted. Turku seems to be a real ghost town!
The last tram in Turku ran in 1972, but you can still see signs of it all over the city. The most famous one is the old tram carriage at the market square, which is nowadays serving as an ice cream kiosk. Not yet in March, though. It would be too cold for ice cream.
Explore the Market Hall and other shopping opportunities in the city centre
After visiting the Cathedral, we met my friends and walked around the centre for a good while before giving up (read: went for a beer). Of course, Daniel had to go to game shops before that, he always does. I’m not much of a shopper. I would have wanted to visit the Market Hall, but it had already closed for the day, which gave us the third reason to return to Turku as soon as possible.
Ok, let’s make the river boats with their summer terraces the fourth reason, as I already mentioned beer.
After the beers it was already dark, so we left the pub an hour before our bus arrived to admire the atmospheric lights along the river. Not a bad spot to wait for a bus, or what do you think?
As I don’t want to finish this post before having five reasons to return to Turku as soon as possible, I will choose kayaking in the beautiful Turku archipelago as my fifth and final reason.
Have you ever visited Turku? Would you have more ideas for what to do in Turku in springtime?
This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.
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