I am getting back on the bus in Helsinki……..If you have been following us along, this is where hubby and I part ways. Sometimes we pick different excursions and go our own way, because we are interested in different things. I like to visit small, out of the way neighborhoods and meet one-on-one, to talk to the people, that live in the villages. Hubby likes architecture and museums more. So this way we both get to explore different venues! The first photo was taken on the bus. It doesn’t take long to get out of the city limits and into the country. Just on the outskirts of Helsinki is an amusement park. It is free for all the children and you can bring your own food to the park. I didn’t get any photos of the four-lane highway we were on or the high fences along the border of it. The fences are here to try and keep the reindeer and moose off the highway. I learned two things, a red car is less expensive to buy in Finland and there is less tax on it. They encourage buying red cars, because they are easier to see in the snow. And all reindeer are tagged by their owners. If you hit a reindeer, which is very common here and dangerous, the police notify the owner by the tag on the reindeer and the owner is called to the scene. Then the driver of the vehicle pays the owner of the reindeer for it on the spot and the driver can now load up the reindeer and take it home or wherever, because he now owns it! Oh, my!
And, I noticed many of the little cottage-type houses nestled in the forest setting all seemed to be red too. Is this so you can find them in the winter or is this a holdover from the past, when rust, milk, or lime was mixed with linseed oil to make a sealant to kill fungi and moss that might grow on the buildings? This sealant turned the mixture red. Either way, there are many red structures!
After about an hour’s ride we arrived at a car park next to the Porvoonjoki River. It looks like no cars are allowed in the medieval village of Porvoo. So, let’s get out and look around!
We are in a forest with some very new and modern houses along the river………..
On the wooden bridge we can see the Old Town. And a storm is brewing………..
It looks like some re-modeling is taking place…….but I keep looking at the sky…….
This looks just like I pictured Porvoo in my mind…….
and looking back you can see the size of the car park……on the other side of the river……..
After walking a good hike, uphill, we came to the Porvoo Cathedral……..I was a little surprised at the small size and the title, Cathedral. The original church, in the center of the village, was made of wood and then in 1420 stone walls were made. The church has been destroyed several times by fire from Danish forces in 1571 and in 1708 by Russian forces. On May 29th, 2006, the outer roof collapsed in a fire, but the inner chambers remained intact. An 18-year old boy was charged with arson and was sentenced to six and a half years in prison and restitution of 4.3 million euro. The church re-opened in 2008 and is used in joint services with the British and Irish Anglican Churches, and the Nordic (Scandinavian) and Lutheran Churches. The services are conducted in Swedish and Finnish.
A look at the new roof………
and the bell tower……….
Now, we are headed down the hill into the village of Porvoo and as you can see the sky has opened up and the path is slick! The “Gamla Stan,” (Old Town in Swedish) is a dense medieval grouping of old wooden buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. The red storage buildings along the riverside area are proposed for an Unesco World Heritage Site. Porvoo has been inhabited since the Stone Age and was on a popular fishing route that eventually was made a permanent settlement by the Swedes, who colonized the area for the Catholic Church and the Kingdom of Sweden. Later, merchants from Germany settled in the area and built up the trading routes.
The streets of Porvoo………
Today, there are restaurants, a fish market, a meat market, a big and crowded chocolate factory/shop, souvenir shops and stands on the square. Let’s go this way, walking up Main Street.
This is the main street………..
I took many photos of the shops and their doors, but will save them for another post on Thursday Doors. All the buildings had a uniqueness to them and were painted in soft to bold pastel colors.
I liked looking in the windows of the shops…..
and found my favorite BBQ sauce in this window! They had cheddar chips and chili chips to go with it!
This was my favorite shop….I wish now I would have bought that tablecloth. There were several local ladies in there and the shop had a good vibe to it! I liked listening to them speak Finnish or Swedish, I can’t tell the difference. The woman behind the counter spoke just enough English to help me with my purchases……..I was already carrying several sacks of chocolates from the chocolate shop, but I liked several of the glass pieces in this shop!
Walking along, I decided to get off the main street……following the red fence…….
Porvoo has a faraway and lost-in-time feel to it …….
and then to turn a corner……and go this way……
There was a small park setting with goldenrod……. and lots of flowers. It must have been a special building, because there was a sign there in Swedish and Finnish.
Back in the Square is the Old Town Hall, now a Museum. The venders had set up their tents…….
But, it’s time to say goodbye to Porvoo. It truly is a special place. Just what I was looking for. Now, back to Helsinki to see what the hubby has been up to today! See you next, back in Helsinki!