- Every year, Eila Urkola and Hilkka Orava attend Crusell week in Uusikaupunki. These two friends consider Uusikaupunki to be one of the most beautiful cities in Finland, and Crusell week is an exceptionally great music event where everyone can be casual.
“First of all, I have to say that both of us are extremely unmusical. However, this does not stop us from enjoying music,” Hilkka Orava says upfront.
This summer, Orava has once again come to enjoy Uusikaupunki’s Crusell week with her friend Eila Urkola. Whenever this duo from Salo visit Uusikaupunki, it always follows the same pattern: they arrive at the bus station by bus, rent bikes from a tourist information office, cycle to the hotel to drop off their bags and make their way by bike to the city centre to admire their surroundings. The following days are reserved for concerts.
“We’ve come to Crusell week almost every summer for close to 20 years.
If for some reason we can’t make it to Crusell week, we’ll come to Uusikaupunki some other time. We must come here once a year,” says Urkola, who is originally from Uusikaupunki.
With the exception of a couple of occasions, the friends have always stayed in the same room at Hotel Aquarius, and always picked the same familiar bikes.
“They are part of the experience. And once you’ve found a good bike, you don’t really want to change it,” says Orava.
Although the trip, which lasts a few days, primarily follows the same familiar pattern, when it comes to selecting concerts during the music week, the friends want to push their limits. They take a look at the list of concerts once the programme is published and choose something they’ve not heard before.
“Regardless of whether we like the concert in the end or not, it’s very interesting to step outside your comfort zone. Crusell week offers music that is easy to listen to, but it also has a selection that will activate your brain a little more. I especially like this event because people come here for the music and not to show off. Here we can just be who we are,” Hilkka Orava says.
Eila Urkola likes the fact that wind instruments and their players are highlighted during Crusell week.
“They are often overshadowed in big orchestras, but here you get to enjoy their music and see them up close.”
This dynamic duo have fallen in love with Uusikaupunki and its music week, and they are also eager to spread the word. They wear their Crusell t-shirtsat Helsinki Festival, Turku Music Festival as well as Kuhmo Chamber Music. For those who are interested, the friends will talk about the diverse and high-quality Uusikaupunki Crusell week.
“We love these t-shirts. We only wear them during the events in question,” Orava says and laughs.
The friends describe Uusikaupunki as the most beautiful place in Finland. The history of the city, which unfolded in many stages, has been excellently presented, with the wooden houses and services getting special recognition.
“I don’t think many understand what a great wooden town this is. In my opinion, it’s the best. It’s not a tourist trap but an area where people live,” Orava says.
A visit to Wahlberg’s Museum House is one of the highlights of each trip.
“Museum House is a great combination of many things. First of all, there’s the house itself and the burgher family’s lifestyle and history. Then there’s the maritime history museum upstairs. And finally, the exhibitions that change every year are, without exception, interesting,” Urkola says.
“The exhibitions are of such high quality that they overshadow many big city museums,” Orava says.
Although shopping is not normally among Urkola’s and Orava’s favourite things to do, they always manage to find something worth buying in Uusikaupunki. This time, Orava is going home with a few new pieces of clothing, and Urkola with a ceiling lamp.
“I wonder if Uusikaupunki’s residents realise how excellent the shops and services are here.
For example, I just bought a pair of jeans yesterday, and today they had already been altered for me in the shop. The service is always friendly and helpful. There’s no need to leave this place to go shopping,” Hilkka Orava says.
Although the Salo residents consider the city almost perfect, they do have one suggestion for improvement.
According to the ladies, Uusikaupunki could have more bicycle lanes even though it is a city for cars. There is plenty of space along the wide streets for bicycle lanes. However, this is their only criticism.