For those that don’t know Turku and could no more pronounce its name correctly, let alone pick it on a map. Turku is a little town on the southwest coast of Finland, with a population of about 180 thousand. Wikipedia states that only about 5.5% of the city’s inhabitants speak Swedish, but I personally think that it is much, much higher. In fact, I think if you want to hear Swedish in the south, it’s actually one of the biggest cities where you will consistently find people speaking Swedish.
The first time I went to Turku was probably back in 2013. At the time I was living in Oulu still and whilst I thought Turku was a lovely little city, I didn’t see much of a difference between it and Oulu. Actually, after living in Oulu for something like almost 4 years and travelling to most of the other major cities in Finland (Tampere, Kuopio, Joensuu, Rovaniemi) I felt like Turku wasn’t much different from all of them. In the coming years though I did end up changing my mind about this completely.
The following photos are all from 2013
I think one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made when going to new places is not taking enough photos. I usually go through at least a portion of my old photos once a month or so. It used to be an issue that I’d take far too many pointless photos, and not enough of new places I went to. This sort of helped me towards not being able to appreciate the places that I had been. In recent years however I’ve fixed this mistake.
Funny thing is, I recently went to Turku again after many years. Actually I went twice and I only have TWO photos to show for it…
These days people seem to be living more and more through their phones. At concerts or new locations I’ve found myself watching people spend like an hour just ‘experiencing’ everything through their phone or camera lens. So in some ways, spending more time in ‘the moment’ is nice. However, memory ultimately fades and that’s where it’s nice to have photos to look back upon.
Turku actually hasn’t actually changed much in the past few years. I wish I had some more photos to compare, and well actually I could take some. So I might do that sometime. My memories from 4 years ago are actually a bit hazy because that was the year that I saw most of the other cities in Finland and did a ton of travelling.
Having said all of this, I think I may have found a new appreciation for Turku. I really somewhat fell for the theme and pace the city currently has going for it. Life there feels a lot more relaxed and far less disconnected than somewhere like Helsinki. People also actually thank you when you move out of their way (I thought they only did that in Tampere haha). Being able to hear quite a bit of casual Swedish is also really nice too for a change. Sure, it’s a small bummer to not be able to clearly understand those speaking Swedish but I like Swedish so it’s nice for a change.