26 May 2013

Porvoo is pour-vous

for many reasons, we got out to a nearby town for some exploring today. a nice find.

we decided on visiting the town of porvoo* (pronounced poor-voh, with a rolled "r") this weekend. for one, its a little picturesque historic fishing/nordic town that is nearby (30 minutes east). for another, we wanted to try out renting a car and seeing someplace other than helsinki for a little bit. and lastly, i need to start getting my time in on finlands roads. apparently you need to have proof of driving in the country for 6 months before you can change over your valid drivers license from another country and get a finnish one. so, ive begun. and um, i can see why finland has so many formula 1 race car drivers...these people speed. though i suppose when your country is virtually devoid of people on like 80% of the land, there isnt much need or desire for life in the slow lane.

so, we drove to porvoo and parked the car. we walked along the river on both sides, first on the old town side with the pretty cobblestones, cheerily painted buildings, and quaint shops, and then we crossed the bridge and walked along the other side to look across at the dark red fishing buildings that line the rivers edge of the old town. very beautiful. it was like a mix of the rural coastal towns in nova scotia with the riverside part of dinan in france.

 (streets of old town, loved the building colors)
(along the riverside just outside of old town; looking across the river back at old town and its distinctive red buildings)
(flower garden at the rivers edge; one of many pedestrian bridges linking both sides of the river) 

after walking through a little flower garden at the waters edge we decided we were getting hungry. we first attempted the brunch at sinne, but it was something like 24€ per person and there was a listed price for children. gah. no. so we crossed the river again and went in to old town. we settled on a riverfront restaurant called johans. the tables were comfortably settled in a quiet courtyard off an old town street all the way down to the water. we sat against the building right on the water. there were a few other people there but we felt quite alone and able to relax a bit. thankfully the piles of tourists we had seen coming off tour buses earlier had dissipated and werent dining with us (i think we heard japanese, australian, american, and russian groups).

but anyway, our lunch was nice, though, as always, not super calm because of X. we did manage to watch some fish jumping out of the river while sipping our jaffa (this is like tang and orangina mixed, and is SUPER popular in finland and sweden apparently) and waiting for food. we also sampled their 3 housemade breads before our burger and fish dishes came. the food was nicely presented and tasted a bit above average, but it was still a bit pricey. i guess we just havent hit on much that was stand-out-awesome here (except that shrimp soup and toast from the market...). oh well, we'll keep trying.

(clinking glasses of jaffa)

after food, we wandered a bit more of old town, stopping in to local sweet shop skafferi for some candies for all. and with that, we headed back to the car. dave drove on the way home and we attempted to locate the nearby national park called sipoonkorpi based on not much information and some guessing. iiiiiiiittt did not work out. no major loss, we'll try again, having figured out better where it is.

in summary, porvoo is a cute little town, perhaps a bit touristy but worth the quick visit if its possible. we saw that you can actually take a river cruise from helsinki to porvoo, bet that would be lovely. otherwise, we very easily and pretty inexpensively (35€/day, which is cheap here) rented a car from 24rent.fi.

*porvoo is pronounced as i said above (poor-voh, with a rolled "r"), but when i first see it in english it looks like the voo in voodoo. that makes the town name sound like the french words "pour vous" which means "for you". so i was being a dork and trying to combine finnish, english and french into one entry title. lets pretend it worked. 

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