Last time my story ended at our visit to Turku center. Our next destination was the town of Naantali. I have wanted to visit there for a long time because it´s the place know from the Moomin world. Well that wasn´t the target this time since it is not open before the summer but I got nice suprise there anyway.. But first to Naantali. It was really beautiful small city by the sea and the old part of it and the harbour area was so nice. We bought some ice cream and walked along the seaside in the warm evening. The lane next the little harbour was full of little restaurants, it would be great to sit there in the summer, eat and enjoy the sea air. We walked up the hill where the church of Naantali is located. Since I have never visited there before I had no idea where the Moomin world was located. But from the top of the hill we saw a bridge and gates that led to the Moomin world. And people where going in..
So we went to check it out and the gates were open and we could walk around the Moomin park. And for free.. It is quite expensive in the summer which is one reason I have never visited there. Of course all the buildings were locked and the Moomin characteres weren´t there but seeing the place was just enough for me. So we and other tourists, most of them foreigners, circled around the island of Moomin world which isn’t huge. If I was a kid, I would probably want to come again in the summer when Moomins are home but now this was enough for me. Location on the island is great, very Tove Jansson kind of location, otherwise it´s mostly an attraction for kids, althought many adults are huge Moomin fans too. So Naantali has a home for Moomins and in summer time for Finlands president as well. Presidents summer house Kultaranta is located close to Naantali center too. Summertime they also have some visitor days but not at spring.
From Naantali we continued our trip along the coast towards north. We found a little nature path which was more remoted so we could walk there in peace with our dog and have a break from are the city stop. The path went up to this rocky hill top where the village have had a dancing place long long time ago. Dancing place is actually a wrong word since it is just a smooth flat rock where the young people gathered to have fun. Sun was shining and there was no wind. Our dog and son run around the rocks and fallen trees.
From there we drove to the area of Louhisaari manor. The manor is open for visitors only at summer but I wanted to see the places and fields. It´s a birthplace of one of our presidents, Mannerheim. Now it belongs to the Finnish Heritage Agency. The house itself is a lot different that most of manor houses in Finland. It’s white, square shaped, high building made of bricks. A tree lane leads to the yard like in the most of manors. We saw lots of deer on the fields of the manor, if I’m not mistaken, some manor owners brought deer to their grounds even from abroad to hunt them. And those deer have spread from there.
We found a parking place for the night next to a small bird watching tower by the sea. I sat in the darkening night at the tower with a glass of wine in my hand listening to seagulls yell. Northern harrier circled around and everytime it came close to the gulls they all rise to the air and tried to shoo it away. My kind of night!
In the morning we turned our car back towards Turku partially because we needed to use some gas station services for our camper van and partially because we wanted to visit few locations in that direction. Next stop was a spare of the moment thing, I was watching the map and saw the Kuusisto piispanlinna (Kuusisto castle) at Kaarina quite close to our location. So we desided to drove there. I did´t even exactly know what it was before I googled it.. The castle was used by the bishop until the reformation when it was distroyed. There´s also the manor house of Kuusisto which nowadays is an art gallery. We walked the nature path going around the area. It was more popular place than I thought and people had come to spend the Easter day there. The path went up to the hill through an old spruce forest and continued by the side of a field to the ruins.
There are only some walls left from the structure but at its’ own time it was a very modern building. The signs informed that it had probably the first indoor toilet in Finland. The ruins are also at seaside and people had come to have a picnic on the tables that were in common use. At summer time there is also a cafe.
I really liked these places, it was one of my favorite sites on our trip. We walked back to our car from the other side of the nature path which was more quiet since most of people came back the same way. Spring flowers were blossoming at the grounds already and the day was sunny and beautiful but on the seaside it´s not that hot with the constant wind. But it surely felt like spring!