I got the chance to see Southern Finland for the first time in December last year during Christmas and fell in love with Finland. I spent most of my time in Helsinki, but one day I took a one hour bus ride to Porvoo, a medieval town filled with cute, colorful streets. Porvoo is the second oldest city in Finland. And if only the cobblestone streets could speak, they would tell you tales of many Finnish artists who’ve called Porvoo their home.
I fell in love with Porvoo as soon as I saw it. And not just because Porvoo is pretty – even though it is, very pretty indeed. It’s one of those places that you find on those ’10 most beautiful villages’ kind of lists, alongside a plethora of stereotypical descriptions – picture-perfect, candy-coloured houses, picturesque, cute as a button, quaint cobbled backstreets, and so on.
Fact is, Porvoo really is that. It is picture-perfect. The medieval town and riverside have a happy, holiday-ish vibe which is unique in Finland. That is my favourite part about Porvoo. The time seemed to tick even slower in Porvoo. Wandering around in the enchanting town is easy to get lost back in time and feel the easy-going and historical atmosphere.
踏入古镇，首先会想到的是，我重新定义“景色如画”这个词。波尔沃是一座有着200多年历史的古，具有北欧威尼斯之称，处处美景如画。如果没有身着现代装束的居民和游人熙来攘往，我会以为整个古镇还被尘封在600多年前的某一天里。当初我为何选择去波尔沃完全是被网路照片那一整排河边红色小屋给深深被吸引了，所以决定前往追寻。我查找了一下交通方式，其实从赫尔辛基搭巴士过来还满方便的，在时间充裕的情况下，决定来个波尔沃 一日遊，享受一下芬兰第二古镇的魅力。从赫尔辛基到波尔沃车程大约只需55分钟。在赫尔辛基市中心的长途汽车站即可乘车前往，长途汽车车身上通常标有 Porvoo 字样。
冬天的 Porvoo 河面都结了冰，红色小屋一整排在河岸边依旧吸引人的目光。
It might be hard to appreciate the beauty of the town while you’re walking its streets. So, why not walk towards the bridge over the Porvoonjoki river to appreciate the views. Or perhaps walk onto the hill opposite the red houses on the banks of the river to get to an even better view.
The contrasting view of Porvoo in winter is rather magical. Blanketed with snow, old Porvoo looked like a colorful page of a fairy tale book.
The famous red shore houses, Porvoo’s most recognizable landmark, former storehouses that were painted bright red to honour a visit of the Swedish King in the 18th century. These red coloured wooden storage houses are a proposed UNESCO world heritage site.
One day is not enough to discover this historical town. Living in the red shore houses, indulging in some winter activities, Nordic walk on the ice surface and stepping into the green forest are some of the must do activities during the season of winter. I don’t mind living in these wooden houses to blend into the Finnish culture and have a taste of their life on this coastal town for at least a week.
This 15th century cathedral sits on top a tiny hill in Porvoo, and can be from any good vantage point. Originally a church, it was built in the 15th century, with some parts dating back to the 13th century making it one of the oldest churches in Finland.
I love following the paths to inner courtyards. They take you downhill all the way to the river, in between the iconic red warehouses of the shore.
I couldn’t hold back my excitement as I wandered around the colourful streets with the snow falling around me. I can only imagine the stories that are held within the walls of a town that was founded nearly 800 years ago. Every corner I turned and every street I laid my eyes on was magic.
The best way to explore this old town is by taking a leisurely walk around it. Walking aimlessly, discovering the little joy of life, sitting in a cafe for hours , glance through my hazy bus window, reading a book sitting on the bank of the river would be the ideal way to soak into a town like Porvoo.
As I was wandering around, I spotted small boutiques, antique stores, craft stores, second-hand stores, and souvenir shops offering everything from postcards to Christmas decorations to antiques. I’d recommend just popping into shops as you see them!
Porvoo in the winter time is a breath of fresh air. The illuminated river is a kaleidoscope of colour depending on the mood of sky. I arrived during the day when it was incredible sunny below zero degrees and the river was a vibrant blue and as I left when the sun began to set, it was a reflection of a deep pink tone
The unhurried pace of life, integrated age old cultural practices, traditional lifestyle and laid back attitude of any town or city lures me more than a concrete jungle of any place in the world. I am fascinated by the old-world charm of those towns that have a string of folklore and enriching history. Seeing the second oldest town of Finland called Porvoo was overwhelming. It had everything that I was conspiring to discover.