Report from Hotel Seaport, Turku, Finland: The Old and New

Turku has been known as a lively trading post as early as the Iron Age, when Baltic, Swedish, and Novgorodian merchant ships sailed to the banks of the River Aura to trade goods. Turku became one of the key ports in the Baltic Sea in the 13th century when the cogs of Hanseatic traders dominated the view in the river harbor. (Source). (Why and how I got to Turku is in a footnote.)

The day was not sunny, and sightly damp. I walked from the harbor to the city center along the path that borders the western side of the River Aura. I will let the pictures say most of the story of “old and new”.

These four panels were in horizontal sequence, shown vertically here:

Across from the street art:

Main attraction of the Maritime Museum:

Upriver from the museum:

And more art:

I took the pedestrian ferry for a short trip across the river, to the east side:

I crossed back over a bridge around 100 meters further to look back at the ferry:

As I got back to the western side of the river, I was relieved to see that Turku is keeping vaudeville alive:

Fun in Turku:

There’s a story behind this old building, showing the second level above street level…

This is the Volunteer Fire Brigade Building, commissioned and financed by the  apothecary, shipowner, industrialist, and philanthropist Erik Julin, whose image appears at the entrance…

A main thoroughfare next to the building is named after Mr. Julin (in Finnish and Swedish, ‘Erik’s Street’):

More art along the way to the main square:

I was not expecting the old main square to be in the middle of major renewal:

As it now began to rain and I was several kilometers from my hotel, I asked a taxi driver to take me back. He arrived from Somalia ten years ago with his wife. He speaks Somali, Finnish, English and Arabic… and a little Swedish. His three young children are new Finns.

I arrived Turku last evening from Stockholm on a ferry operated by one of the two maritime companies which transport passengers (including automobiles) and commercial truckers several times daily, always stopping at the autonomous region of Åland which lies between the two ports. Other ports served by ferries leaving Turku are in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and three others in Finland, including one near the Russian border.

I am here to read and write and to do nothing, if I want. It’s a little vacation from the habits and routines of daily life.  Here is where I am staying: Hotel Seaport, on the right in the picture, a former warehouse. You see nearby a ferry of Viking Line. What is not in the picture is the nearby entrance to the Silja (“Seal”) Line on which I arrived and will depart in around 24 hours.



About Ron Pavellas

Expatriate American living in Sweden with wife. Retired from employment in the USA. Currently focused on blog articles, memoirs, and creative writing.
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