Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Finland, Turku (9/8/07)

Heading to Turku

Today we went to Turku with our fingers crossed that it would not rain. We started out at the river walk area. It was so amazing to me that there were barely any people out on the streets. Mette had to remind us a number of times that there are only 5 ½ million people in all of Finland and it was the start of their fall – she was right because it was cold and started raining shortly after we began to walk around Turku.

While we were walking along the river we saw many of the stationary ships that are restaurants as well as the Finnish Swan “Suomen Joutsen” that is now a museum. We were hoping to take a peek inside but it was closed :( We did get a preview of the Pharmacy (Apteekki) museum that is also along the river walk. The inside was a replica of the way the pharmacies looked a long long long long time ago ... it was really dark but there were hundreds of bottles of herbs and medicines lining the shelves along the walls. We also saw the old measuring and weighing tools. The women behind the counter were also dressed in the traditional clothes from (way back when, I don't know the dates).

Our next stop was Turku Castle “Turun Linna”. We were lucky that the majority of our morning in Turku was inside the castle because there was a heavy drizzle going by that time. Turku Castle was beautiful inside. Mette read to us from the English tour guide book as we walked from room to room which made it easier for us to take pictures and get a sense of how the castle was laid out and how it was used. The most amusing part of the tour for me was when we walked from the “prisoner” room to the guest room. Apparently they were right next to each other ... awkward!! LOL There were so many fascinating rooms and I just loved the furniture throughout the tour. I thought our furniture nowadays was big ... this stuff was enormous!! It was a great tour, although very long; we were all ready for lunch and so our next stop would be food ... :) OH, another cool thing we saw at the castle ... a wedding! The chapel in the castle was beautiful and we saw the preparations for a wedding later in the day. I was so curious to know where the couple was from because the photographer was giving them directions in English ... I didn't have the courage though to ask while they were posing for a picture in the corridor where they were from!! In any case, it looked like a beautiful place to get married ... hmmm, had I only known that was an option! j/k mom :)

As we were on our way to the car Mette asked what we wanted to eat. I requested “traditional” food since we had already eaten Hesburger three times! She headed out to find the Viking restaurant in downtown Turku but we ended up at a different restaurant because we weren't able to find parking near the Viking restaurant ... still it was pretty good. Mette and I both had Salmon and Chris opted for the garlic chicken. Everything was good and Chris even got everyone a soft serve afterwards :) YUM!

After lunch we walked around Turku's market square and saw a nice church just across the street. We walked over to take pictures and saw the priests were just walking out of the sanctuary and locking the doors. Mette asked a few questions in Finnish and the next thing I know the priest let us come in to take pictures. They had just finished their services and we could still smell the extinguished candles (and maybe some kind of incense).
As we walked across the market square Mette saw the Market Hall (the way shopping for groceries used to be it seemed). There were many traditional items for sale at each of the inside booths. Mette bought us reindeer jerky and musta-makkaara (black sausage – which we later found out has only blood and rice in it. Blah! As you can probably guess, Chris was the only one brave enough to take more than one bite!) When we tried the reindeer jerky later Chris said it smelled and tasted like dog food! LOL At least he tried it :)

After the market hall we walked over and picked Noora up from work and headed home. Sari was waiting for us and when we drove up we also saw that Henri was there with his son, Kimi, who is 3 yrs old. It was great to see Henri again and Kimi is definitely a popular little boy around the Gronlund house and he really enjoyed the fire truck that Chris and I brought for him.
That night Sari made one of my favorite dishes for dinner ... Spaghetti. Sari's spaghetti is very different from our spaghetti because the ground beef also has diced onions and shredded carrots in it. You put that over the noodles and top with ketsup. I know many of you are turning your nose up right now but I'm telling you ... it's delicious! I ate up until I thought I would pop, it was just like I remembered. When I thanked Sari and told her that it was very good, she said, “I know, you do not have to tell me that”. LOL It is her signature dish that everyone enjoys!


  1. Sari and Kassu look exactly the same - and Noora- Wow! Henri looks the same too. Hey- who drives the little car parked behind the car in the driveway at the house in Paimo? LOL .. The pix of you & Chris w/Sari & Kassu eating outside reminds me of the pix you took on the first hike where you were standing on the hillside after everyone had eaten... 12 years ago! We miss you. Tell Chris to keep his cold's to himself!! Feel better and post more - I love the blog.

  2. PS - I missed you so much I had to call Rachelle at legal just to complain and find someone who'd let me "mother" them a tiny bit. She was an good substitute.

  3. PSS- gosh, old age is hitting!!
    Tell Pete I an soooo jealous that you and Chris were on the RCCL ship before Richard and I !! What an incredible opportunity to see the ship being built... we would love that!

  4. Auntie Jenn... I MISS YOU!!!! Please come home soon.
    Love, Bella

  5. Wow does that ever bring back memories. The photos make look like the place hasn't changed a bit. Have mangaed to meet anyone else from your year at school? I am so envious of you being able to return. I hope that the rest of your journey is safe and i will email you later. Tate