Seili – Part 1

I am so behind with this blog that I feel I start forgetting what happened during the trips, which is basically the entire point of this blog. ūüėÄ I have no idea where the time goes, but I guess it’s great to have some memories to look back to now that it’s October. ūüėČ So on this optimistic note I want to tell about my birthday. Well, technically this small trip was a present for my birthday and it took place in early August, so almost a month after my birthday.¬†Two of my friends decided to take me to an island Seili for my birthday and it was a rare chance to spend two days in their company, which was great!

For the people not familiar with Seili, it is a tiny island (length 2,5km and width 1,5km) in the Turku archipelago with a rather grim history. A hospital was founded on this island in 1619 as they needed a hospital for leprosy and later patients with mental issues. Seili was chosen because it had a sheltered place for the ships to anchor and a good esker for the cemetery.

Location of Seili
Location of Seili

Also in the 1624 the Church of Saint George was moved from Turku and rebuilt again on the island. It got into a really bad condition and new church was built on the same site in 1733.

If you got on the island, there was no way back as there wasn’t really any medical care for them and the main focus was on separating them from the general public. Patients needed to bring either their own coffin with them or enough wood to be able to build one. Patients were mostly kept isolated and “treated” with alcohol, water from the springs, and¬†religion. After the early 18th century most of the inhabitants on Seili were patients with mental health issues. The last patient with leprosy died on the island in 1785.

So from 1785 until 1840 Seili’s hospital was a mental health hospital with approximately 30 to 50 patients. In 1889 the hospital was changed to all-women hospital and it functioned as such until 1962. There probably were quite a lot of patients with genuine mental health issues, but this was also the place to get rid of women in a sense as some of the women were brought here on a quite imaginative reasons like falling in love with a man, who has travelled on a hot air balloon. I imagine that there were a lot of reasons for women not fitting into the society at that time to be sent away to Seili.

So we headed to Nauvo by car, where we were supposed to spend the night and from where you can take a ferry to Seili. On the way we stopped at this weird shop called Kasvihuoneilmi√∂ (Greenhouse effect), which is located near the old road to Turku, so it used to get a lot more traffic than after the construction of the new highway. Apparently the shop is something like local curiosity and we stopped there because I have never visited it. The entire shop has absolutely nothing I would like and it was a super strange collection of overpriced items, which were of a really shitty quality. ūüėÄ

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Kasvihuoneilmiö shop
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Kasvihuoneilmiö shop

And the cherry on top of all things creepy was this pit of dirty-looking stuffed animals. Also I think that there was a sign saying that the pit doesn’t have an age limit, which makes this super creepy.

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Kasvihuoneilmiö shop
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Kasvihuoneilmiö shop

After the unforgettable experience at Kasvihuoneilmi√∂ we headed for¬†the annual cucumber fair at Askainen, which was a place I really felt I didn’t belong to. ūüėĬ†Also it really was nothing special, but maybe we jus visited it at a wrong time. So far this has been the weirdest birthday outing ever, but I do trust my friends.

We stopped at church of Askainen and had a picnic near the¬†Ritaripuisto, which is a memorial of all the knights of the Finnish Mannerheim-cross and it is also¬†a memorial of all the Finnish veterans. A bit of a strange place to have a picnic, but we didn’t see a better one nearby.

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Church of Askainen

After that we took a ferry from Parainen to Nauvo and checked into hotel Lanterna. You have always two lanes for driving onto the ferries. One priority lane for the people, who live in the area and the second lane for visitors. At least in the beginning of August we had no issues with getting on ferries right away.

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Ferry from Parainen to Nauvo
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Ferry from Parainen to Nauvo

Hotel Lanterna was a bit more hostel than a hotel in terms that bathrooms were in the hallway and not in the rooms. There was a bit of rush in the morning to get to the bathroom as most of the people staying at the hotel were aiming for the same ferry as us. But we managed and even had time to eat breakfast.

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Hotel Lanterna

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Still on the same night we went to do a bit of sightseeing in Nauvo, but it turned out that the town is tiny, so it didn’t take long. ūüôā

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Nauvo
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Nauvo
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Nauvo

In the evening we headed to restaurant L’Escal for my birthday dinner. The food was quite good, but was missing a bit of “special something” that makes a restaurant stand out. We had good time though because of the great company!

After the restaurant we headed to our hotel room to watch a documentary film on Seili to get the background for the next day’s visit.

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