Time 6 h 15 mins
Weather: Sunny, cooler in Parainen, and hot in Turku
Clothing: long trousers (cotton), T shirt, hiking boots
Companion: Tinka, my faithful companion
Problems: one small “blister” like rubbing formed on the side of the ball of my right foot because of sand in my socks; and distinct lack of places to fill up water bottle (for Tinka as it was hot and humid) as well as no public toilets … so I popped into two cafes en route
Today I followed this marker for most of the day. I’d never noticed it before …
The road to/from Parainen (Pargas in Swedish) is a busy one as it’s the gateway to a part of the Turku archipelago. Luckily the walking route follows the cycle path, and most of that is well away from the road (some on the old road, which is more or less disused nowadays).
After about an hour and a half we stopped at a tiny cafe attached to a petrol station so I could have a cup of coffee and use the toilet, and they filled Tinka’s water bowl for her. I was delighted that the coffee was cheaper if you used their porcelain mugs (or your own keep cup) …in other words a 50c surcharge for using the disposable kind …. I hope more coffee shops start to do this! and the short break was really welcome. Tinka and I sat on the steps of the cafe, watching workmen coming in for their (early) lunch.
Then off we set again. This time armed with a bag from my rucksack as I’d noticed an increase in litter and wanted to help tidy up! A lot is thrown from vehicles it seems and there was also a lot of huge bits of debris that had flown off of lorries, cars, bikes etc I couldn’t do anything about that obviously, but the cigarette packs and cups were easy to collect from the verges.
Neither of us liked the two bridges that connect Parainen to the mainland, and this, the bigger of the two bridges, had a very long approach too.
Pedestrians and Cyclists have a separate wooden platform on the side of the bridge, which was sturdy and fine, but the huge lorries zooming over the bridge (heading back to Turku) were a problem. They were noisy, threw up a lot of dust and made the bridge vibrate and shake terribly! I hope there aren’t too many of those experiences in Spain.
After the bridge we moved from the municipality of Parainen to that of Kaarina, though we were still a long way from Kaarina centre. This was my least favourite part of the journey …long, monotonous and too close to the road.
We stopped for a little break (roll and bananas for me, half a denta stick for Tinka) just at the bridge before Kaarina centre. This was Tinka’s favourite part of the journey, I think I continued to litter pick … while she tested the water. I was a bit fearful at one pint that she’d try to swim across the strait… she’s a good swimmer, so I wasn’t worried she’d drown, but was concerned she’d have got there before me as I’d have had to backtrack to get up onto the bridge) but luckily, although she’s obsessed with water, she is loath to let me wander off alone, so we negotiated the bridge together. (Fortunately this one was less scary/traumatic)
It soon after this, I got a fright.
We’d already walked 13 km …so by my reckoning had about 10km to go, but the next sign (on the road) said 13km! Yikes … turns out The sign for cars must have been if they went along the motorway and the remainder of our journey wasn’t much over 10km more!
The rest of our walk was relatively uneventful but in places it was quite pretty, and it was on the Kaarina stretch I found myself singing a made up song
I’m so happy, I’m singing this song
I’m so happy, walking along
Walking; walking by the side of the road,
Walking; walking by the side of the stream (fields),
Walking, not quite alone
But with best friend in the world!
Anyone cycling past or watching from their car must have thought me quite odd!!
A heavy rucksack on my back, a dog attached to my waist, a huge (by then) carrier bag bulging with litter in one hand and me singing out loud.
Is this joy of pilgrimage, I wonder?
We stopped at a famous Finnish hamburger chain (that shall remain nameless) and I left the bag of litter in their bin (most was coffee cups, lids, and fast food wrappers (not all from them!) apparently thrown from cars, so I didn’t feel too bad about using their bin, especially as I’d carried much of it for 10 km by this stage and my arms were aching) I used their toilet and they happily filled Tilda’s water bowl for us (as my water bottle was quite low) so after another short break we set off again.
By now the weather was much hotter and more humid and both of us were struggling a bit. We walked in the shade where we could, I took a bit of a risk with a short cut (that worked out, phew!)) and suddenly we were on familiar turf, 2-3 km from home, and a gentle down hill almost all the way!
We were both hot and bothered when we staggered in. A quick shower /long drink of cool water put things to right, and before we knew it it was time for dinner!