Tuesday, August 2, 2011


during our holiday we kept the promise we made last year: we decided to stay nearby and share our time between the cottages and destinations close by.

one tuesday afternoon we hopped in the car and drove to porvoo, a quaint little town outside of helsinki. the wormhole of thirty minutes drops you strolling the small streets of the second oldest city in the country.

by the river and amongst wooden houses you get a faint glimpse of what life in one of finland's largest cities of c18 could have been. nonetheless, it is hard to imagine that this little town was the hotspot of fur trade and a commercial hub.

today the town is a hilly cobblestone maze but, nevertheless, highly walkable. the streets are calm and beautiful on a summer day. courtyards hide old storage buildings and secret gardens worthy of fairytales. i am sure that on dark august nights you can hear pixies buzzing amongst the rosehips and the house gnomes hold meetings under the plum trees with the occasional smashing sound as ripe fruit bounces off their slouchy caps.

there are little shops selling handicrafts and the sort of interior design, trinkets and knickknacks one expects to find adorning the shady blue and white rooms of seaside villas in the archipelago. the similarity between the stores and their goods boggles the mind. but they seem to stay in business...

porvoo hosts lovely, intimate cafes and some great restaurants, such as the escargot farming establishment, timbaali, famous for serving their own little critters.

we stopped by the little chocolate factory for some fresh artisanal bars.

our late lunch spot of choice was johans, a summer restaurant overlooking the river. their "pienet" ("little ones") we're delicious tapas-like portions of traditional scandinavian fare and my fish with barley risotto simply adorable – highly recommended.


before leaving we enjoyed coffee and cake on the terrace of café helmi which is a late c18 house decorated accordingly.

a little sparrow showed up to share some cake with the other patrons.
if you're willing to travel locally, porvoo is a perfect day trip destination on one of these hot summer days. the most idyllic way to travel is by boat, but if a three-hour cruise feels too long or you're prone to seasickness, you can get there quickly by car.

go enjoy a little fairytale of yer own.

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