After nearly two months in the Balkans (minus a quick trip to Roma) and after two very successful Balkan tours, the time has come for me to switch things up a bit. For the next 10 days I will be hanging out with one of my favorite Nordic countries – Finland – and its autonomous, Swedish-speaking region of Åland as I make my way from Turku to Stockholm via one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world. Don’t ask me how to pronounce “archipelago” by the way…
First on the agenda is taking care of some unFINNished business in Turku – rock & roll business that I unfortunately missed out on during Blonde Gypsy Finland Part 1 because I came in April.
In addition to being the main gateway to the Finnish archipelago, Turku is also home to one of the biggest rock festivals in Europe: Ruisrock. Held every July on Ruissalo island (get it…”Ruis” rock?), the festival is one of the largest in the Nordic states and the second oldest in Europe drawing some of the biggest names in music. Like Jukka Poika & Sound Explosion Band and DJ Polarsoul Rapshow.
I actually have no idea who either of those groups are, but their names spoke to me first when I looked at the lineup. Then followed some more familiar ones like Lily Allen, The Offspring, Phoenix, David Guetta, Wiz Khalifa, and of course, the king of glam rock and face of Turku, Mr. Michael Monroe. Three days of good music in a beautiful setting and alongside one of my best girlfriends who just flew in from London to join me – it’s going to be an awesome weekend and who knows where we’ll end up. Hopefully backstage.
Once that party is over you can be 100% sure I will be ready to head off to the Turku Archipelago for some sauna action, wild nature, and a different kind of “rock”. I’ll be staying a night on Nagu which is one of the largest islands amongst the some 20,000 that exist there.
Did you know that aside from being one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world, the Finnish Archipelago is also the largest in world in terms of quantity of islands? It is and I’m using the word “island” in the loosest sense. Maybe this map will give you a better idea of what I’m talking about.
After Nagu I will then hop on a ferry and head over to a place I’ve been curious about for a while now – Åland. As I mentioned in the intro, Åland and its islands (6,757 of them) are technically a part of Finland – an autonomous, demilitarized part with its own parliament, flag, stamps, and where Swedish is spoken exclusively – so it should be quite interesting to experience. I will be spending two nights there, one on the island of Kökar and one in the capital of Mariehamn before taking my final ferry ride over to Stockholm.
I am totally elated at the perfect amount of party and peacefulness I’m going to have over the next week here in Finland before I take off to Croatia. As much as I have enjoyed being on the road for two months straight, a nice chill out with little distraction and lots of beautiful scenery is what I’ve been needing for a few weeks now, and I can’t think of any better place than here in the backwoods of the Baltic Sea. Massive kiitos to Visit Turku, Visit Åland and Visit Finland for making this all possible.
Blonde Gypsy Finland Part 2 – it’s GO time!
LeanneJuly 4, 2014 at 10:34 pm
So excited for you! Next summer I’m going to get the oppertunity to go to Finland for six weeks. I hope you have a great trip.
LarissaJuly 9, 2014 at 2:59 pm
Thank you! Ah, six weeks is a great amount of time to spend in Finland and especially the summer. The weather is glorious right now!
FrancaJuly 7, 2014 at 10:01 am
I haven’t been to a music festival in such long time, my last one must have been before start travelling. I did go to gigs whilst travelling but for only one artist or band. I’d love to get back to my old habits though, festivals can be very fun! :)
LarissaJuly 9, 2014 at 2:55 pm
Yes they can and it definitely was. Post coming soon :) Summer is the season so it’s not too late to catch one depending on where you are at the moment.
ShaunJuly 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm
arch-i-pill-ag-e-o …I think.
My summer if full of concert festivals. Already went to Rockfest Montebello, Going to Bluesfest at home, then Heavy Montreal.
LarissaJuly 9, 2014 at 2:55 pm
That’s actually how I pronounce it but I’ve had a few people making fun of me – mainly Australians who insist it is ARC-i-pelago. Here I’ve heard it both ways though so I think it’s tomato/to-maato :) Sounds like you have a fun summer lined up – you enjoy as well!
TihanaAugust 8, 2014 at 7:03 pm
Hey, how was it? :) I’ve never been to Turku even though I lived in Finland for some months, and I visited Aland Islands eight years ago, I kinda didn’t appreciate nature back then, haha :) – it was much more wilder and deserted than I’d like. I hope you had fun!
Wandering Polka Dot
LarissaAugust 13, 2014 at 8:22 pm
Super fun! Going to be publishing a post on the festival soon. The nature in the archipelago and Åland was juuuust what I needed too, didn’t take it for granted at all :)