Friday, June 22, 2012

Train Travel to Turku

We have become big fans of train travel during our time here in Finland. Finland's trains are clean, comfortable, convenient, and fast but NOT CHEAP!

We spent a lovely Midsummer holiday weekend on the Aland Islands. The islands are located in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland and you can only get there by boat or airplane. So the first leg of our Midsummer holiday was a 2 hour train trip from Helsinki to Turku--one of Finland's oldest cities located on the western coast.

Helsinki's Central Railway Station is one of my favorite buildings here.

central railway station 2

Love the dudes holding the white globes!

central railway station

For this particular trip, we scored the family car!

family car 2

There is no extra charge for this car and it allows the kids to move around a little bit and make more noise than we would allow if we were sitting with the other passengers.

family car

Plus, just a short flight of stairs away is a play area for kids! Finns know how to treat families right!

We only had a few evening hours to enjoy Turku on the way to the Islands--I had planned to explore the city a bit more in depth on the way back to Helsinki. Unfortunatley, museums and such are closed on Mondays in Turku AND it was raining...but more on that later.

Wednesday night, we went to the Turku Cathedral.

Turku Church

We've seen a lot of churches on our travels, but none of them have been very ornate--nothing like the churches in Western Europe. However, this one came quite close!

Turku church organ view

Turku Church inside

Turku church altar

In several of the churches, I've seen boats suspended from the ceiling. I finally asked what the boat symbolizes. According to the church guide, when sailors encountered really bad weather or other dangerous situations (such as running out of fresh water on the boat), they would make a promise to God that if they were spared death, upon their return, they would hang a model of their boat in their church.

Turku Church boat

Turku Church steeple

Next stop...Mariehamn, Aland Islands!


  1. After reformation the catholic churches were transformed into protestant (in Finland Lutheran) and all the wall paintings painted over - therefore all the churches are white. In the Latin-speaking Catholic church the purpose of pictures had been to tell about the stories in the Bible but reformation brought the national languages in churches and therefore the importance of pictures diminished as well.