To my international friends & followers, get to know my hometown!
The reflection of sun rays dance along the river. Wish I could do the same. Everyone around me speaks with a funny accent. I lay myself down on the grass, and open a bottle of wine. I smile at the people sunbathing on the deck of the opposite river boat. This is summer in Turku, a town divided by river Aurajoki, in southern Finland.
I was born in Turku but moved away to see the world some years back. But there’s something about the river Aurajoki that keeps pulling me back no matter how far I roam. Turku is the old capital of Finland and a significant commercial port harbour. The city is home to 180,000 inhabitants, of which many I tend to miss when I’m gone.
In the last years, Turku has become one of the most exciting cities in Finland, with so much culture and culinary experiences on offer. The riverside is filled with cafés & restaurants, each more and more unique to one another. Every time I go back, there’s a new hip place in town.
You don’t really need to know where to go, simply let the river take you there.
I used to work on one of the river boats, and every time a tourist would ask me how to see the city in one day – I knew just the answer. Start by making your way to the harbour and just walk along river Aurajoki, and you will see most of what the city has to offer.
First you’ll pass the Turku Castle, which is an important historical spot. Make sure to try their Torture, Death and Ghosts tour to get a fright. You will be surprised in more ways than you know. After visiting Turku Castle, keep making your way down the river. Soon you arrive to an orange ferry, called Föri. Get on board, it’s a free transportation to the other side of the river.
Keep walking. Or stop at a cute café along the way. And watch closely, some of the boats are actually restaurants. Step in, and perhaps enjoy a delicious plate of fresh herring.
You’ll pass nice yachts & boats, locals enjoying the long summer days, the theater, and eventually you’ll get to the city’s famous Turku Cathedral. Almost opposite Turku Cathedral is the old library, filled with stories that go far beyond books, go in and see how the history and modern living are combined.
But what’s more important than seeing the sights, is finding a way to enjoy life like the locals. Get yourself a drink, and go sit by the river side. You’ll understand why it pulls me back year after year.