I have just arrived in the coastal town of Turku!
My time in Tampere was wonderful. I CouchSurfed with a wonderful woman, Tuula and her 6 awesome roommates in an amazing big, old, yellow wooden house – “The Yellow House” – in a beautiful part of town on a lake. Communal living at its finest. A hammock in the living room and intelligent, kind and creative roommates (who the day before had gone dumpster diving and filled the fridges and pantry with tons of yogurt, cheese, fruit, bread, chocolates and other goodies – yes!!!). Tuula and I kayaked out to a little island the first evening I was there, sunbathed and I helped her study for her big English entrance exam that she takes in a couple weeks. I intended on only staying one night, but the urge to stay at this great place, and an invitation from Johanna who was graduating the next day with a degree in architecture and would be throwing a party that evening, beckoned me to stay one more night. The party was great – lots of traditional spongecake (but not like we know it), grilled veggies, champagne, singing and toasts. Johanna’s sewing machine band performed, and the night also delivered improv on a makeshift stage, crepes cooked on the fire, and a bedtime story.
From Tempere I peddaled a short 45 or so miles to Sastamala where I camped in an awful campground with a bunch of RVs. Not so much to tell this day. Lots of down time and relaxing away from my campsite and my “view” of recreational vehicles with attached canvas living rooms and grass.
Sastamala to Turku yesterday – I knew it would be a long day, and it was – made even longer by the fact that I took a wrong turn around mile 50… 105 miles after beginning my day, I found a lovely camping spot on a hill of granite, blueberry bushes and pine trees just off the highway. Mosquitoes buzzed around me, reminding me of home, until I retreated to my tent and started to read The Corrections – good book so far!
This morning I awoke, rode a short half mile to the nearest gas station. Splashed some water on my face, filled my water bottle and headed the remaining 5 miles into Turku! So far, what little I’ve seen of this small city is lovely! I had a cup of coffee, wrote in my journal, charged my iPhone/internet lifeline and proceeded to the tourist office to get information about the Äland archipelago where I will head tomorrow, then onto Stockholm! I am now at the library using a real computer! I am going to the Marimekko store next to possibly splurge on a new wallet (coin purse) and scarf (mom, you were right. They sure do love their scarves here!). Tonight I plan on checking out the hostels to see if they have space or camping at the campground just outside of town.
The sun has been shining bright every day since I arrived. I am definitely getting spoiled – and tan – woo hoo! Life is good!