The Archipelago trail – a bike tour in Finland – 4 Nagu to Pargas

My last day with the bike, and I was going to ride to Pargas and return to Nagu by a slightly different route. I would not complete the Archipelago Trail but was assured I would not miss anything significant. The ferry from Nagu to Pargas goes every 15 minutes so there was no particular rush in the morning. But the ferry was extremely busy with cars and there were queues getting on and off. A result of this was that the roads to and from the ferry had phases of busy traffic followed by no traffic at all. The cycle path by the side of the road was either non-existent or, in places, badly repaired. So mostly I cycled on the road and a few times when the quanta of traffic passed I just stopped and stood in the shade until they had passed. It was a lovely sunny day and the shade was welcome.

After the ferry, on Pargas (Parainen in Swedish), I followed the road for about 7km then turned off onto a dirt track heading for Vano which had a clutch of houses and a ferry landing stage but not much else. I had a look around but did not linger long and took the coast road to Tervsund and then carried on until I crossed a wide area of water and entered an area called Skrabbole, which seemed to be a suburb of Pargas. It was becoming quite built up but there were still pleasant open scenes.IMG_20150703_115359333

I followed the road in the direction of Pargas and actually rode about 2km past the town centre before I realised! After a little reorientation I went back into the town and found this delightful medieval  church.

IMG_20150703_122946451_HDR

Pargas had many attractive old wooden houses painted in pastel shades, and public gardens alongside a peaceful canal and waterfront. The town centre was very petite with its pedestrian walkway.

"Parainen kirkonkylä" by BishkekRocks - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parainen_kirkonkyl%C3%A4.JPG#/media/File:Parainen_kirkonkyl%C3%A4.JPG

“Parainen kirkonkylä” by BishkekRocks – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parainen_kirkonkyl%C3%A4.JPG#/media/File:Parainen_kirkonkyl%C3%A4.JPG

Just outside the old town I found a restaurant for lunch. There was no evening meal arranged, and nowhere near my B&B to eat, so I wanted a proper meal for lunch. The meal of the day was 10 Euro so I went for it. It was pork fillet with mushroom sauce and veg. I thought that was it but when I ordered I was told to help myself to salad starter. Then, when I had finished my meal, I was told I could help myself to cake and cream and coffee; all included in the 10 Euro price – I reckon excellent value.

After lunch I took my time to explore Pargas more and visited the tourist office. I bumped into my Finnish cycle tour companions and recommended a place to eat. I found and visited a supermarket for some provisions for the evening, then set off back to Nagu. In the tourist office I was told that the main tourist attraction in Pargas was the vast limestone mine and the lady in the office thought I might like to have a postcard of it, but I declined. On my route back I passed an installation that must have been related to the mine though there was no explanation.IMG_20150703_150330879_HDRAlthough my trip computer suddenly zeroed itself on my way back, I think I cycled about 74km that day. Back at the ferry there was a very long queue of cars, maybe the weekend getaway. I was pleased and smug to ride past them and stand at the front of the queue for the ferry. At my B&B that evening Tom told me he had made a reservation for me in Helsinki and he would take me to the bus stop in the morning for the Helsinki bus.

This was a lovely cycle tour, great wildlife and very peaceful. I don’t think ‘the midnight sun’/extremely long days really impacted me significantly but the open waters and low population were memorable. The cycling was almost all on the flat and, in my view, very easy-going. It was a novel experience hopping on and off ferries and I highly recommend the tour.

 

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