The next day, somewhat bright and early, it was time to explore a different part of Finland: the gorgeous little town of Porvoo.
I had a visitor in town that particular weekend, and it was my pleasure to set up an excursion to a nearby town that Hong Kong P, German K, and I had been wanting to check out (well, technically German K had already been there, but during the summer, which is much different). Anyway, Hong Kong P and I admittedly had ulterior motives for wanting to go there - there was a very well-known escargot restaurant there and we both really wanted to check it out. Just goes to show to what lengths foodies are willing to go to try something new.
But I digress.
The morning of we packed our day bags and went to the bus station to catch our bus there. Since none of us had actually ever caught buses that went outside of Helsinki or Espoo, we had to guess where our bus was leaving from and ended up tittering amongst ourselves a little while before gathering enough information to find it. But in the end all was smoothly done and we got onto the bus with very little fuss.
Porvoo is about an hour's bus ride away from Helsinki, north east and directly along the coast. It's an adorable little town where you can walk around and see various old sites and go into little shops, that sort of thing. There's no major sight there that people migrate to; it's just a nice scenic town to explore and stop at. It's also considered a fairly large town by Finnish standards (again, this is all relative).
Since there's nothing of particular historical importance for me to discuss here, I'm just going to stop here and give you the gallery of photos I took while there. Apologies if my photos fail to perfectly capture the town's essence, but know that it was one of the cutest towns I've been in in a long time, and I've felt a peace there that I've rarely found in other places.
The Little Chocolate Factory. One of two chocolate factories in the town. This man was hand-dipping chocolates for our viewing pleasure. Homemade hot chocolate was on sale for 1euro a cup.
Beautiful handmade chocolates in the Little Chocolate Factory. You could select a little box of them as you please.
The door to the Little Chocolate Factory.
The tower of the cathedral in town. There are several other small cathedrals scattered around (including a Russian Orthodox church), but this one is the most iconic.
The front side of the cathedral. Dedicated back in the 1300s, took its current form in the 1400s.
One of Porvoo's many cute little cobbled streets.
Hilarious window ad about Santa's official knife factory. Guess if you were naughty this year, you'll know which brand of knife Santa will use.
One of many adorable shops Porvoo has to offer. This one had gourmet food items of all sorts. I literally could not pull myself away - everything inside was cute and so perfectly placed I just stood and stared. It was like being inside of Apartment Therapy.
Waterfront views of houses.
This happens in most European cities I've seen, and I love it. Couples come to bridges and declare their love by closing a lock together and throwing the keys into the water below. The bridge in Porvoo that we crossed was covered in these locks. Most of them were engraved with initials. A promise.
The most gynormous bowl of hot chocolate with whipped cream that I've ever had in my life. This bowl was literally the size of my face. I drank the entire thing because it was so cold outside, which was probably a terrible idea (given my chocolate threshold), but I didn't care. I was on "vacation."
And tasty lunch of ham quiche with tiny side salad. Wonderful lunch stop to tide us over before long-awaited for dinner of escargots.
Porvoo, you delight.