Låna - The Turku Experience
I've spent so much time at home in Turku this past Spring and Summer that I'm not quite sure any more which country I live in, Estonia or Finland. But now I think it's time to leave the cruise ships in peace for a while and hopefully people will visit me, so I won't need to compare the times for buses and boats because they never really match the way I would want them to. But before I walk to Linnhall and wave my goodbyes to Finland for a while I want to go back to last weekend, which turned into a proper Turku Experience.
All sorts of little happenings and businesses offering things to do pop up around the city of Turku in the summer. Especially around the Aura River at the moment you can find anything from restaurants and river boats to a couple of very Finnish phenomenon; a mini sauna and a hot tub that you heat up with wood in a little stove. This hot tub is special, though, because you can sit in there while floating in the river. We found the idea of the hot tub a little bit disturbing and had opted for a tad more traditional way to roam the river: we rented a motor boat.
Låna is a very new company that rents picnic boats for groups. The boats can be hired for one or two hours and you can either bring your own food and drinks or Låna will provide you with a tapas plate. The boat is electrically powered and can be rented for a romantic evening for two or a group of friends, maximum 8 people. On the day we went for a ride I think we were the only boat that didn’t celebrate a bachelorette.
Before going to the boat the girls visited the International Food Market which was in action on the banks of the Aura River and bought some picnic foods for us from there, after which we all met by the docks. At first I thought there would be a driver included in the rent but no, we were supposed to drive the boat ourselves. It wasn’t that risky, though, since the maximum speed was 6km/hour. Even if you bump to the side of the river it would only scrape the boat… and maybe your bubbly drink would tip. The challenge was avoiding all the other vehicles roaming the river. There were other small boats but also big holiday boats and ferries going this way and that. Anni took the first turn as a captain like a professional while others took the food and drinks out.
We had rented the boat for two hours which allowed us to drive to the mouth of the river to a Hirvensalo bridge where we were to make a U-turn and return the same way. It’s so weird how different the riverside looks when you look at it from the water than if you were sitting on the banks. Thankfully we got very lucky with the weather and even though it was very cloudy it was warm and there was no wind so our sparkling wines didn’t suffer too much damage in any waves. When a boat would pass and we would ride through the waves everybody held to their glasses like their life depended on them! We enjoyed nice conversation after it being such a long time again since we had all gathered together like this (last time was before Christmas) and ate some meat pie, smoked cheese, olives, rye snacks, baguette, salami and for sweets of course Daim cake with strawberries and raspberries.
The two hours went by really fast probably due to the super good company. In the end the cruise itself is not that interesting. OK, there are old and gorgeous sailing ships like the Suomen Joutsen (Swan of Finland) and people to wave at all the time but the industrial views with huge cranes and ship-building yards aren’t that interesting to look at. But as said, in good company and with good food the two hours slid away just like that.
On our way back I got to try and steer the boat and it was super easy and so much fun. The only difficulty was that I was paddling the ground every now and then with my right foot looking for the accelerator pedal, but there wasn’t one. The speed was what it was. I would warmly recommend renting a boat for a little weekend-fun! It is quite expensive (1 hour 48€) but I think it was totally worth it. Such a nice way to spend two hours of a Saturday.