Yesterday was the longest day of the year but the summer seems to be just starting. Summer holidays are here!!! Well in Finland anyway, the school holiday begins here every year around the end of May or the beginning of June. I, with my husband, have a little tradition of taking our son for a little trip if he gets a good report card at the end of semester. This year we chose to go on a cruise ship that goes from Turku to Stockholm Sweden and back.
At some point of their life, nearly every Finnish person goes to a cruise, which is a kind of traditional here. Young people go there to have a great party and for families there is always some fun stuff to do. Even walking around the huge ship is entertainment enough for the kids. And with the prices we have in Finland, the tax free shopping is also big part of the fun, doesn’t matter if it is candy or alcohol you are buying.
We haven’t been on the cruise for quite some time so it was nice for a change. We booked a cabin with a window since we like to see the islands and the sea and not always go to the deck for it. We started our trip to Turku quite a lot before the cruise since it’s quite a long ride and we also wanted to walk around the city before entering the ship in the evening. We left on Saturday evening and came back on Sunday evening, that’s what they call it a mini cruise on these ships; you travel to Stockholm but don’t leave the ferry at all. Saturday was one of the first warm days this spring so we enjoyed walking in Turku, by the river Aura, which runs true the city. We also walked in the park of Turku castle, a medieval castle built in the late 1200 when Finland was still a part of Sweden.
By the Aura River there is a museum called Forum Marinum presenting facts and things about sea and sailing. You can also visit several ships, a sailboat and a military boat for example. My son really wanted to go visit all of those but we didn’t have enough time so we had to leave it for another time. (Side note: I will probably write about that in the near future since that’s all my son keeps talking about) By the river Aura there are many restaurant boats also that seemed to be calling us in that sunny day but we had to leave them for a little bit bigger boat.
The cruise ship was called Tallink Galaxy; it’s the evening boat to Stockholm. There’s also a day time boat that leaves in the morning and some other ferries from another company. We were pleased to our cabin, it was really nice. We went to the deck to see the boat leave from Turku and also to see the beautiful islands by the coast line. Evening went fast by seeing every place on the boat and then we had to get back to our cabin because the night we chose to our cruise happened to be the same one of the Champion League final. Of course my son couldn’t miss that! But we didn’t care since we all follow football and at the same time we could enjoy the views from our cabin window.
In the morning we woke up when the ship reached Stockholm but the weather there was quite foggy so we didn’t even go to the deck. Instead we went right away to buffet breakfast that we had booked the same time as the trip, it is little cheaper that way. Eating in the buffet is also a must thing to do when you go to these cruises, the dinner is quite expensive but the breakfast price is really reasonable since there is such a great selection of food to eat. And that it’s also our son’s favorite place to eat, since he can go and take whatever he wants.
On the way back, the ship also stops in Mariehamn, the capital of autonomous region of Åland. It is a part of Finland, even though most of people there speak Swedish. The ship stops in Åland on both ways but the other stop is in the middle of the night so we didn’t even notice it. The summer was way ahead in there (compared to our home town) since even the swans had little baby birds already. By the time we came to Åland the sun was shining again and the rest of the trip it stayed on the sky. All together we had a very successful mini holiday for our family.