Friday 18 to Saturday 19 August
We had one more stop planned in Finland, in Porvoo. We drove via Lapeenranta where Hayden & Andrea had taken their first holiday together. It is an old town set on a rocky outcrop and also in the Saimaa Lake. Hayden and Andrea had struck a heatwave when they visited, whereas our weather has been cool, mostly cloudy and a fair lot of rain.
We also stopped at Hamina, the eastern most port town on the Finland Gulf (Baltic Sea), with a large fortification which looked like it was still active. That is probably because just 30km along the coastal road is the border with Russia.
Porvoo is a quaint town which has maintained its wooden architecture. It is known for the warehouses which are on one side of the Porvoo River. Ships sailed up to the warehouses, which once lined both sides of the river to load and unload their wares.
Porvoo is now a tourist destination less than an hour’s drive from Helsinki.
We chose a boutique hotel for our last night. I am starting to think a boutique hotel charges a lot so they can make money to keep it going, rather than provide their client with a comfortable, unique experience. Our room was small and the en suite was tiny.
We enjoyed wandering the town with its colourful houses.
Our next stop was a ferry ride back to Tallinn in Estonia where we would begin our southward trek.
We loved Finland, the forests and lakes, especially. We managed a number of forest walks and loved the calm serenity amongst the pines and silver birches, trekking along streams or lakes and climbing rocky mounds. Paths are well defined and maintained and in many places we were walking on duck boards (board walks), a great way to protect the environment.
But Finland, like much of Scandinavia, is expensive. Not a place to visit frequently on our travel budget.