As Finland’s second oldest (14th century) town, Porvoo bears all the medieval characteristics I love: a cathedral, a town square doubling as a marketplace, an endless sea of cobblestones. Add to that the spectacularly sunny weather, beautiful surroundings of water and trees, a good book, and Samantha in a Sundress, and we have a recipe for pure bliss.
I booked buses in advance to Porvoo (€10), and the trip took a very comfortable 50 minutes. I’d arrived at around noon (which gave me some time this morning to prepare a simple dinner for Maaria), and, as with yesterday, had no plans in particular except general meandering and prancing.
The Catholic-turned-Lutheran cathedral was one of the quirkiest I’ve ever been to, and everything was just a little bit off (geometrically speaking). This asymmetry simultaneously amused and confused me for the entirety of my visit! I also really liked the brief “tour” guide/introduction that was given, especially the bit about the unicorn above the statue of Mary (since unicorns symbolised innocence and virgnity).
And then I found a perfect reading spot in the shade by the river, and read a book I’d borrowed from Maaria (Iwasaki Mineko’s Geisha of Gion).
I’d munched on some snacks I’d brought, so when 2pm hit, I wasn’t particularly hungry, but still wanted to try some local noms. I found a funky bar/cafe combo with outdoor seating called Paahtimo, and got a feta triangle pastry and a Finnish cider (€12). I didn’t like the cider very much, and kept thinking back to the awesome medieval/Estonian beer from yesterday… Nonetheless, I enjoyed another good hour or two with my book.
More exploring ensued after lunch, including a very easy climb to a “hill” of sorts, which I could manage in my flats (because it felt like a day for meandering shoes rather than proper adventure shoes).
I love love loved everything about the trip through the foresty area, and felt a deep thrum in my chest of pleasure and longing alike. I know I’ve only been here for about a week (and most of it has been lounging indoors), but my heart told me my foresty ventures reflected the very core of Finnish summers—and my heart was in love.
Before heading back to Espoo, I swung by a supermarket to pick up a cinnamon bun, a clementine, and some nuts for a light “dinner” of sorts (€3.38)–my ensuing pleasure at having completed the transaction in Finnish was a different kind of magic.
Back at home, I cracked open the Lakka (cloudberry liqueur) I’d picked up on the ship yesterday (€9.70), and, since Maaria had acquired a 2L bottle of ginger beer to indulge that particular partiality, I thought to mix the two together for a quick and easy cocktail. It turned out very well in its mixture of sharp and sweet, and I’ve named the concoction “inkivääriaaria” (“ginger aria”). It’s fun to drink and to say–double win!
Accommodation: €4,13 (aka the price of veggies for Maaria’s dinner, in fulfilling my housewife duties)
Food & drink: €25,08
Walked: 14,127 steps; 9.52km