Finland 2008: Day 3 – Turku

I got my first long-distance train, to Turku which is on the west coast, or Åbo as it´s called in Swedish. The Swedish is actually much easier to follow than the Finnish and most signs are in both. Sometimes there´s English but it doesn´t necessary make sense.

I walked through lots of little streets and more by luck than judgement found the market square, then the Tourist Information where I got a map and found how to get to the castle.

There were lots of tall ships on my way down to the castle, proper wooden ones that looked like they were falling apart and huge great iron monstrosities, as well as the usual collection of the military ships.

I liked the castle. It´s been put together bit by bit over about the last thousand years and you don´t go with a guide, although there are plenty of people in national costume waiting to point out the route, which crosses over itself hundreds of times. Unfortunately, it closes at 2.30 which seems daft.

I got the bus back but made the mistake of getting off at the market square because everyone else did instead of waiting until the station like I knew I should have done. Luckily, I could remember how I got there in the morning, right up until I found myself on completely the wrong road, with traffic going in only one direction instead of the two I definitely remembered crossing.

I wandered, I walked past lots of wooden houses nestling among concrete towers and eventually, I found a likely-looking round and guessed from a sign that the station might be to my right, which eventually, it was. I got back on my train and by the time I´d gone about twenty minutes, it was already getting dark and it was pitch black when I arrived in Helsinki. By now I´d worked out the tram system and had no problem getting back.

The problem was when I got back because it was really really noisy. The people outside my door had turned the TV up to “ear-popping” and they didn´t shut up until nearly two in the morning and then were off again before eight.

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