Pilgrimage 3: Monday May 14th 2018
Route: Turku to Naantali (via Raisio Bay,), bus back to town (I slept!)
Weather: Hot and Sunny, 20 C early morning, rising to 27 C later in the day
I wore cotton shorts, needed sunscreen, my cap and sunglasses and tried to walk in the shade whenever possible . I carried plenty of water, a small flask of coffee and two sandwiches (breakfast and lunch) and also bought a banana enroute!
Distance: 24 km (plus walk home later), I set off at 7:30 am. Caught 1:45pm bus back. No long breaks so walking time was about 6hours!
I love Naantali, a seaside town not far from Turku and where the president of Finland has his summer residence, Kultaranta. I’ve cycled here a couple of times over the years, but this pilgrimage brought home to me that walking really is a different kettle of fish.
I mostly followed the cycle route (it’s for pedestrians too) which meant it was well signposted.
Unfortunately the trade off was that much of the route was near a big road, and while nothing like the traffic in other countries, there were just enough big lorries (going from the harbour /industrial areas) to make it a bit unpleasant particularly in terms of noise and dust. Where I could I chose back lanes and nature trails and at one point cut across farmland. That added a bit to the mileage but was well worth it. I also took a bit of a detour in Naantali as I love the waterfront and old town and chose to bypass the newer part of the city.
Today felt more like a pilgrimage. It’s hard to pinpoint why, but I think walking on my own, and going from one town to another (rather than a circular walk) adds to the experience. Part of it is also that pilgrims have walked this way before me. Either from the cathedral (or other churches) in Turku to the monastery and medieval church of Naantali in days gone by.
I got quite excited when I spotted this sign …not quite the Camino symbol, but nevertheless a sign that this is a pilgrims’ route and I’m walking it.
Other highlights included a short stop off at Raisio Bay, where there’s a new bird tower overlooking the marches, and the beautiful views there (and elsewhere)
Raisionlahti bird watch tower
Naantali small boat harbour (near the spa)
The old well in Naantali old town. I sat and drank there!
Learning curves today:
Water heats up quickly in 27C …luckily I had water in my flask too, and that was deliciously cold, but the water I had in the side pocket got hot!
Toilet breaks! I used the facilities at a petrol station and in a cafe, but at one time I needed to go behind the bushes. That’s not a huge problem here in Finland where there are few people on the trails, but I’m wondering how I’ll manage on the Camino!
My day napsack is quite heavy (deliberately so) but no longer rubbing on my shoulders, which is great. I think I’m packing it better. And I’m learning to walk better with it on too. Im very glad of the walking pole at times and will definitely take it with me to Spain! Along with the knee support bandage!