Nauvo Magic

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I was thinking about what the magic of Nauvo is made of.

Of goosebumps and the feeling of pure wild joy after a  slightly defiant morning swim in the refreshing sea in late September. The bright yellow ferry that takes us from Parainen to Nauvo, reliably, in less than fifteen minutes and so that you have plenty of time to climb to the upper deck to smile big and wave to the approaching ferry.

A home (or cottage) made rich yummy Finnish/French bouillabaise enjoyed around midnight in candlelight. Around midnight despite of how we tried to start the preparations a bit earlier than last year. By the way, a gastronomic tip, crème fraîche with garlic works really well as the aioli.

The sea. The most powerful and charismatic magic factor. Someone wise and poetic wrote that the sea teaches us. It also tranquilizes. The fire inside which brings a sparkle to my eyes and pushes me forward in life is more lenient in Nauvo. By the sea the slight restlessness folds into calmness.

The sea, again: not watching the tv but spotting the different sea birds and everything that goes on at the sea for breakfast fun.

Biking to the village along a gravel road past fields of hay and patches of sun flowers. Sharing a piece of apple cinnamon cheese cake at Köpmans during the afternoon tea.  This cafe-restaurant is a happy yellow wooden house with a bright blue door. They also have oven baked fish pancakes with granma’s cucumbers. A proper archipelago lunch treat.

The dock of the Nauvo yacht club in the harbour with only  a few sailboats in late September. And the beach boulevard with its small stands of brand labels (a good chance to find pieces from By Marlene Birger like -40 percent off).

True archipelago romance: pitch dark, the starry sky and the steaming breathing of another person.

Butterflies with translucent wings that look exactly like autumn foliage leaves.

The crackle of the fireplace. Pure mindfulness right there.

And the taste of crisp archipelago autumn apples.

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So yeah, an autumnal archipelago visit highly recommended. And to my dear readers from overseas, Nauvo’s (Nagu’s) archipelago refers to two main islands and about 3000 smaller islands and skerries.

Nauvo, a big heart.

Charismatic off-season Nagu

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One of the most anticipated home country travel plans for the autumn was a weekend getaway to a cottage in Nagu. Before the long weekend was confirmed I looked at flights to for example Vilnius and Prague, but still at the time I was most excited about Nagu. And it came true.

There’s something very captivating in the archipelago. The magic of that Friday evening was intensified in the mysterious fog that hovered above the fields after we left the ferry from Pargas. The air was crisp and brisk and the scene dark green before the darker shades came down.

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Definite highlights of the cottage weekend included morning swims in the refreshing sea and the tingly feeling of being very much alive afterwards, long moments spent staring at the log-fire and in the eyes of another person, a tranquil breakfast with a sea view and the serene sense of calm.

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The gourmet mastery of the weekend was a Bouillabaisse, prepared with time and love. And time. Yeah, a tip from one amateur chef to another is that if you want to enjoy the soup before midnight it can be a good idea to start before ten in the evening. I recall that there’s a saying that goes something like people tend to overestimate what they can do in one day and underestimate what they can do in a lifetime. Well, at least on holidays the first might apply occasionally to me. But the post-midnight fish soup was delicious and rich (here you can find the recipe in Finnish).

I was surprised that although we were in Nagu in late September the ferry went every fifteen minutes still on a Friday evening and that on Saturday afternoon some of the cabins selling brand clothes on the strand boulevard were still open. We did our bike trip with money for a cappuccino in our pockets but there would have been the chance to get for example an autumn cape made of alpaca fur 50 percent off.

What hit me in the woods when we were searching for chanterelles was berry mania. I don’t think I’ve eaten that many blueberries at once in twenty years (the frantic berry picking continued after taking the photo).

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Nagu makes you happy. Makes me happy. And serene. It’s the archipelago effect. Till next time!

Nagu, the magical sea and summer joy

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I got to spend the weekend at a summer house in Nagu (Nauvo) in the middle of the Turku archipelago. I have many childhood memories from our summer cottage in Eastern Finland but the summer house experience in the archipelago is newer to me. And I’m hooked! It’s almost like being abroad with the sunshine and the breathtaking views. I don’t necessary have a ten or twenty-year plan in life, but one of my far reaching dreams is to spend longer times on an island, to have a small dog with an alert gaze and to write.

You can reach Nagu by taking the big yellow ferry from Pargas. The ferries go every fifteen minutes. A possible tip to those who are getting married but are still missing place inspiration when it comes to the dedication: the ferry! I am picturing the blue sky, yellow ferry, the fluttering dress and the wonderful view. Unforgettable, oh yes. But if you get interested, it might be a good idea to still check with the magistrate and the appropriate authorities.

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Right, back to Nagu. The lively guest harbor is definitely worth a visit. On the strand boulevard there are for example many cafes and restaurants (including such a good sushi place) and a chance to shop some sailor-inspired clothing. There’s quite a lot happening in the summer.

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The weekend was nearly perfect in involving many summer things such as picking wild strawberries in the forrest, doing a biking trip and dreaming a bit about biking the Archipelago Trail in the not too distant future, enjoying vanilla ice-cream on the pier, the sauna, a delicious barbecue and smiling in the sun.

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The weekend was very much about the people but to me it was also about the sea. It’s the one nature element that affects me in the most forceful way. By the sea I feel at peace and also in a way connected, to the world and other seas. I feel big and small at the same time, in a good way. From the refreshing morning swim in the, hmmm let’s say cool, water, to enjoying a tranquil breakfast and watching the seabirds play on nature’s very own television, from riding the waves on a motor boat to admiring the sunset and the color spectrum on the rocks with your loved one: I could see and feel the sea throughout the weekend and I loved it.

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One thing that delighted me were the many self-service shops selling for example vegetables and berries. You choose what you wish to have from the fresh selection, weigh the items and pay in the money box. We bought tasty and juicy tomatoes from Isakkson’s.

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After the weekend I am very close to watching the episodes of Saariston lapset (We on Seacrow Island, a Swedish TV series from the sixties, the script by Astrid Lindgren) again.

I’ll end this time with a book suggestion to those of you who read Finnish or Swedish: Jää (Is) by Ulla-Leena Lundberg. It’s a warm and wise depiction about the life of the minister, his family and the congregation in the outer skerries after the war. I also found it to be very much a book about the power of nature and especially ice in its different forms. Jää allowed me to fully immerse myself into another world and I must say it’s among the best books I’ve read. It received the literary award Finlandia Prize in 2012.