Turku, Finland – July 7 & 8

Posted by smr on July 8th, 2010

No photos yet since we can’t upload from our own computer here.  At least there is internet access for a brief message though.

The ride to Turku was pretty uneventful and pretty fast – two hours.  We arrived and ate (we seem to be doing a lot of that on this trip – everyone has been incredibly gracious in hosting meals for us).  We performed a short concert at the Turku Cathedral (Mother church of Finland – some of the relics and artifacts go back to the 13th C.) at 2 pm.  After checking into the hostel, we walked back to the cathedral for our evening concert and rehearsal.  7 pm concert was quite fine and the acoustics were unbelieveable!

Today we have some free time in the morning and, although it is not in the itinerary, we are ringing at Naantali for a 1 pm outdoor concert.  It is hot here, but hot for Finland is nothing like hot in Pittsburgh!  I would say hot here is in the 80′s.  Aren’t you envious.

We’ll get some photos on here as soon as we get our wireless internet connection back – possibly on the boat tonight!

Missed the boat ride upload, but now have access in Stockholm.  Here are a couple of Turku photos that are ready to go:

Notes from Pat Carr:

We were in Helsinki and then drove to Turku. The drive was through birch forests with many lakes dotted here and there. The lakes are large to be dotted with small islands many of which have a single house sitting there. We drove through many tunnels and they were solid granite. The roadside speed limit signs are electronic and are connected to electronic roadside temperature signs (they look just like the new Southminster sign) which give both the air temp and the temp of the road. The speed limit signs vary the legal speed based on the temperature sign. Particularly useful in the winter. As we got closer to Turku the landscape turned to fields of grain surrounded by pine trees. The farms were so green and the barns and houses so red. The houses are yellow with red roofs. Essi told me that the colors come from years ago when the Fins were making paint from the earth and the colors became a habit.

The kids had a concert in the middle of Turku in a BEAUTIFUL old church, but then I guess they all are, sitting on a knoll along the river. We were with another bell group from northern Finland and they hosted our lunch. After lunch the kids set up their bells and practiced for a bit; 70 some people wandered in and stayed for the music. It is an historic church and there were a lot of tourists who dropped in. Afterward we were bused to our hostel which was on the other side of old town Turku and told to just aim for the church tower visible at the end of the street and be there by 5:45. Kids went shopping along the route while Jim, Jim and I found a coffee shop, sat outside and watched the world stroll by.

As we headed toward the church we noticed that Turku has parking garages with red and green lights over the parking spaces to help one see where the empty spaces are. We picked up a gelato from a vendor; mine was ricotta cheese flavor! In Helsinki I had a cloud berry flavored cone.

On July 8 we drove to a tiny resort town outside Turku. Our kids and the Fins set up for a joint concert, gave it, packed up and then spent the afternoon strolling the town, Naantali, reminds Jim and me of Macinac Island. Five of the kids spotted a gigantic boulder and decided to find it. Well, they did and then had to find their way back. They ended up in an amusement parks from toddlers. They were walking around and suddenly realized that the people around them either came up to their knees or were pushing baby carriages. The kids also noticed that everyone had a green band around their wrists so they put their hands in their pockets and strolled along looking for the exit. They stopped in a store for an ice cream but all they could find was in a cooler and it was thick but a bit melty. They bought it, poured it into cups to eat with a spoon and they are pretty sure it was baby formula. They had a grand adventure.

From the park we drove directly for our overnight ferry to Stockholm.

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