Field trips and city walks

1. Bats, Birds and Culture: Trip to the River Bank by Night

The city of Turku was established by the River Aura around 1280-1290 AD, and the area has since then served as a centre for cultural, religious and political life in Finland. While walking upstream along the River Aura, we will see many buildings and sites of historical importance including the residence of the Archbishop of Finland, the Sibelius Museum, and Koroinen, the site of the first church in Turku. The river banks are home to a diverse community of plants and animals such as the Thrush Nightingale, Marsh Warbler and Blyth’s Reed Warbler, that display their territorial song mainly at nighttime. Depending on the weather, we may also observe (with help of bat detectors) local bat species, of which the Northern Bat is most common. The night walk takes 2 hours.

2. Exploring the Sea and Islands by Research Vessel

A whole-day-trip to the South-western Archipelago of Finland, including a visit and lunch at the Archipelago Research Institute of the University of Turku on the Island of Seili. Cooperating with other Finnish and foreign institutions, the Institute participates in multidisciplinary research of the Baltic Sea, with a special focus on the Archipelago Sea (http://www.seili.utu.fi/en/). During the trip we will have opportunities to enjoy the scenic archipelago and local seabird colonies. There is a good chance that we will spot White-tailed Eagles during the trip. Lunch will be served at the Archipelago Research Institute, a former leprosy hospital. The trip takes 7 hours.

3. Call of the Crane: A Field Trip to the Kurjenrahka National Park

Kurjenrahka National Park was established in 1998 and covers 29 square kilometres. The area consists mainly of a mire area (or more exactly, of ombrotrophic raised bog), but it also includes the Pukkipalo, primeval northern forest that has been mostly unmanaged for over 150 years. Permanent species include the Common Crane, the Eurasian Lynx, the Northern Goshawk and many other species that live in the northern mire or taiga regions. Also brown bears and gray wolfs are occasionally observed in the park. The trip will include a walk along a marked trail in the mire area and an opportunity to fry sausages around a fireplace. The trip takes about 4 hours.

4. Rowing Excursion by Long Boats

An excursion of 4-6 hours by long boats takes you to the Turku Archipelago. These wooden boats – each carrying 14 oarsmen/women and a captain – are replicas of vessels, by which Finnish country people, during the agrarian period, rowed to church every Sunday during the summertime. This excursion is recommended to persons in good health and normal physical condition. Previous experience with rowing is a bonus but not a necessity. In the case of bad weather and rough winds, we recommend you to bring a raincoat and rowing gloves with you as well as a suntan lotion in case of a sunny day. A light meal will be served during the trip.

5. Historical Landfills and Water Management

The history of waste management in Turku follows the general pattern of European cities with an increasing trend to control waste dumping patterns and sites. Since 1879, an Imperial Public Health Decree mandated that all cities establish landfills for organic waste. During the bus trip we will visit three official landfills in Turku as well as several unofficial ones. Some of them are now housing areas with poor documentation of soil contamination. We will also drop in on the Waterworks Museum of Turku, which has a nice collection of original equipment, hand tools, instruments and photographs. In addition, we will visit sites related to history of wastewater management in the city. The trip takes about 3 hours.

6. Art Excursion along the Aura River by Bicycle

As the European capital of culture for 2011, Turku is showing its artistic character; the Aura River has been transformed with a string of art works. The Flux Aura 2011 consists of twelve art works that range from floating installations to a gigantic daisy flower. The group will rent bicycles and take a four-hour trip alongside the Aura. The group can ride along casually and stop at any time to admire the scenery and the art. As we will begin upriver and arrive to the city centre, a late lunch can be enjoyed in one of the hip restaurants before approaching the last works near the harbour.

7. History of City Planning and Urban Development in Turku

During this 2-hour bus trip in central Turku and the suburbs we will have a glimpse of the history of city planning and development of urban structure. The great fire of 1827 destroyed the central area of the city, which was rebuilt according to the grid-plan model. Since the Second World War, a zone of suburbs has been built around the city centre, each representing the contemporary architectural styles and city planning trends. Professor Harri Andersson, a specialist in urban geography, will guide the trip.

8. Finnish Sauna Evening

Even in the Middle Ages, steamy bathhouses were common around Europe while native Americans used sweat lodges. In Finland this ancient tradition has remained more common than in any other country, and there are almost as many saunas (>2 mill.) as cars: one sauna per two inhabitants. This excursion introduces you to a traditional Finnish sauna culture including bathing in a dry and hot log house, swimming in the Baltic Sea and enjoying Finnish supper with beer. Sauna sessions will be separate for women and men. The sauna is located at Kuuvannokka, Ruissalo, on a rocky cape with an impressive archipelago landscape. The place is only eight kilometres from the city centre of Turku, and charter bus transportation is included in the rate of this four-hour excursion. See a video on the site at: http://www.vd.fi/avk/turku/ruissalo/esitys.html

9. City Walk for Accompanying Persons

This is a two-hour walk in Turku city. A guide will take you around the centre, explain its history and present significance, and highlight prominent buildings and historic sites.