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Porvoo comeback

Even the most winding bus from Helsinki will get you to Porvoo in an hour. It's little wonder that the old town is packed with tourbus crowds wearing little badges so you don't mistake them for locals. The first time I've heard an American accent for a couple of weeks is in the tourist office where an older lady is arguing with one of the staff who wants to show her a water closet instead of a bathroom.

The old town is pleasant though, marked by the deep-red store houses along river that make it so photogenic. Originally this would have been an ochre-based paint but the effect is maintained for the snapping tourists. Porvoo is famed for its chocolate and cakes, probably due to the daytrippers, though most Finns stop work around 3 for coffee and cake.

The Cathedral which crowns the old town hill has been under repairs since a fire in 2006 when a drunk 18 year old decided to try a match or two on the wooden roof. It has only briefly re-opened for summer and you can still smell the sawdust from the fresh shingles as work continues. With chunks of it dating back to the 13th century and most of it built in the 15th century, it's amazing the building has lasted this long.

Sauna-o-meter: 9, two hotel saunas but they're getting a little predictable.
Odd shop names: A clothing chain called The Face has an outlet called The Face Factory.
A one-sentence guide to making up faux-Finnish: Why use one k when you could use two, such as serkku (cousin) or sikka (whitefish).
Weird appearance: On Friday I'm going to be on Ari Peltonen's Radio Helsinki. I asked my friend if Ari was a shock jock like Howard Stern and she thought for a moment then said "No, he shouts more."


  1. It looks as if that church is giving the world the finger... (just doing my bit to keep up the quality of blog comments).

  2. No, thought the same thing myself, Anon.


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