Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Postcard from Porvoo - wish you were here

Porvoo is such a picturesque little town and charms with its architecture, history, restaurants, cafes and shops.

* * * 

Hi there älskling,

greetings from Porvoo (or Borgå, as you'd say it, being a Swede). This is one of the many places I was hoping to take you to, but time ran out... again. 

I don't think you fully believed all my oohing and aahing over what an adorable little place this is? Well, have a look yourself. It is. 

You might have already noticed how Helsinki is missing the sort of Old Town we fell in love with in, say, Tallinn or Stockholm. That's why for the foreign tourists this is being promoted as "Helsinki's Old Town". 

Porvoo is, in fact, the second oldest town in Finland (though Helsinki is not the oldest, Turku is). 

And definitely one of the prettiest, too. 

Porvoo was founded already in the Medieval times (oh yeah, it's even older than you!) and in 1380 it became one of the first 6 places in Finland to be granted rights of a town. Though today it's such a harmonious haven, trust me - it's seen its fair share of drama. Early in the 16th century Danish pirates destroyed this town and at the end of that very century Russians burned the place down. Twice. 

In the 17th century Porvoo was actively engaged in trade with Tallinn - for instance all the fur trade of the Central Finland went through Porvoo. 

(Oh, do you remember our weekend in Tallinn? My favourite trip to Estonia, ever ♥)

Looking around the gingerbread house-like charm of this place today you wouldn't believe that around the mid-18th century Porvoo was actually one of the largest towns in the whole of Finland. 

At the beginning of the 18th century the Russians burnt the place down again and in 1760 a fire that someone started while boiling fish destroyed 2/3 of the buildings at the time (want to bet it was one of them food bloggers, poring over their Instagram accounts, too busy to pay attention to what's actually going on around them...?) 

The charming houses that now constitute the Old Town were built after that.

With the pastel-coloured houses and narrow cobble-stoned streets Porvoo is full of that Southern Swedish storybook-like charm that I love so much. 

And hey - you'd do splendidly here with your funny language, too: almost 1/3 of the people are Swedish-speakers (back in the 60's they still constituted majority...!)

Though a bus would take us here from Helsinki in less than an hour, I doubt I could bear to say goodbye to all this at the end of the day. There's just so much to see here and coo over. Oh, and eat. 

I'd treat you to a night at Pariisin Ville, the most adorable boutique hotel I think I've ever seen, right in the middle of everything (I just can't wait to tell you about that one!)

One of the things that make Porvoo so great (and one of firm favourites of mine) is all the great restaurants it has. I'd be struggling to choose venues for lunches and dinners even for a 2-day-trip! Zum Beispiel, Sinne, Sicapelle and Meat District are only some of the places you'd simply have to see.

Well, you know what I mean - I mean, you saw the photos from my SMAKU- extravaganza, didn't you? Good stuff, huh? You would have loved it. 

Oh, and I also checked out Brasserie L'Amour, scheduled to open in a couple of weeks. Looking good, that too. 

I know what you're thinking and I'm wondering the same thing, too: how can there possibly be enough business for all these restaurants in a town of merely 50 000 people? But apparently that's just it: the better quality selection of restaurants you have, the more there's demand and the more it benefits everybody in the industry. 

And anyway, we, Helsinki people, constitute their primary target audience. Who knew!

Jag vet, jag vet. I know I've been going completely overboard with the use of "adorable", but that's exactly what this place is like. Adorable. Even the shops. Adorable. And you know me - I can't stand loitering in shops!

The Old Town has so many delightful little shops selling antiques and random bric-a-brac and kitchen supplies, so you can imagine how my inner hoarder is in heaven right about now (well, it is for staging and styling those photographs...)

Hey, before I forget - did you like those hand-made chocolates I brought back as souvenirs? This is where they came from: Petri's Chocolate Room (they're great, aren't they - I especially love their black currant truffles!)

Petri also has a shop in Fiskars; another paradise I'd like to take you to. 

But don't you worry - I'd make sure to leave plenty of time for hanging out at the cosy cafes that Porvoo has so many of. I know how much you like that - seeing how you come from the fika capital of Sweden. 

And you know what else I'd leave even more time for? Walking around, holding hands. Oh, and kissing. A whole lot of that. There's something in the air here that makes one fall in love all over again. 

Remember Mr. Runeberg? Dubbed as the national poet of Finland? You know, the guy who's had a street named after him in Töölö? Well, while he was still alive, he was a very important character in Porvoo. His wife, though, continues to do so even today.

See, she created the eponymous pastry for her husband and Ani's Cafe, located in the house next door to Runebergs' old home, still makes them using the original recipe. Which, for the record, makes the best Runeberg cakes I've ever tasted!

(How about that, by the way - having a cake named after you? I wonder what yours would contain... apart from Kalles Kaviar, that is!)

The apple trees in the garden are heavy with fruit - summer is coming to an end here, too.

But right now the sun is still shining; so brightly and oh, so warmly - making one lull herself into thinking summer could just go on like this forever...

As the evening falls into night, I would take you for a walk along the river bank, where the silvery mist floating out of the river turns the ambiance even more magical. I'd squeeze your hand so tight and whisper into your ear how happy I am; right here, right now, with you. 

Oh, and then I'd take you for a night cap at Pariisin Ville's wine bar. They even have Vilmart you know, that Champagne I like!

And come morning, I'd promise not to pester you into waking up early for breakfast. I'd just lie there next to you, listening to your breathing, inhaling the scent of your skin... still holding your hand. 

Wish you were here. I miss you.




      Aasialaiset kanavartaat ja satay-kastike 1


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