Day 48 – Tour de Finlande 2010: Nagu – Kustavi

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It's unbelievable how many people I have met in the Midnight Sun Film Festival: today my big thanks go to Kaisa who saved me from another hard night on a punctured air mattress giving me shelter at hers in Kustavi. I definitely should get a new mattress, no way I can find the puncture.

Today the trip on road has been quite short, as I had to get help by a total amount of seven ferries: this is Saaristo Rengastie, the wonderful Archipelago Trail, which brought me in the heart of the Turku Archipelago.

This is definitely a perfect route for bicycle touring: sea, islands, vast cultivated fields, soft uphills and downhills, and on top of all a fantastic day. The temperature went down the last night, but today with 23 degrees it was more than perfect.

Immediately after leaving the camping site I took the first ferry to the island of Korpo: here the islands are quite small, so it was just a matter of a few km to get to the centre of the village of Korpo, where I visited one of the oldest churches in Finland, whose construction started already in the late 13th century. You can see on the walls traces of the original Catholic paintings as the church, nowadays Lutheran, was built well before the Reformation.

Another few km and here we are with the second ferry to the island of Houtskär: as you may notice from the names, these islands are predominantly Swedish speaking. With such a beautiful sun I couldn't avoid a swim in the sea: the water is a bit colder than in the lakes, but well above the average, meaning you can still stay immerged for ages. At least I could.

Not this time, however. These island are quite far away from the mainland, and the ferry connections are not really frequent, so I had to take a look at the time to be sure to get to the next one on time. I was a bit worried, as I thought timetables were adjusted in order to get the cars on time for the next ferry, but I have to say that even by bike you can easily make it. I mean, cycling the Archipelago clockwise, you leave from a northern harbour, reaching the southern one of the next island, then you cycle to the northern harbour again, and so on and so on.

Sometimes there are also small ferry connections between contiguous islands (in the case of Houtskär there are two of them), but the distances are about 1 km, and ferries go back and forth all the time, so these are no big deal in terms of time. The connection between Houtskär and Iniö, my next destination, was however the longest one, and it took 45 minutes. It was the only ferry with a fee, 9 euro, while all the others are free of charge. Not a bad deal, I'd say.

Iniö was the shorter island of the archipelago, just a few km, and it brought me to the last ferry to Kustavi, which I reached well on time for having a pizza and a good chat with Kaisa. This morning when I left, after a night on a hard soil (remember the mattress?), I thought I couldn't make it. Instead here I am, ready for the next challenge.

Day 48 – Tour de Finlande 2010: Nagu – Korpo – Houtskär – Iniö – Kustavi

Trip distance (excluding ferries): 69 km
Actual trip time: 4 h
Distance from day 1: 3902 km

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