Guide / Varsinais-suomi
”I love exploring the Aura river to go swimming or with my standup paddleboard”
On design and fashion along the Aura river
16 Dec 2021

Anna Rauhansuu is the CEO and head designer at Myssy, a farm-based design company from Pöytyä, in the Varsinais-Suomi region of Finland. All the garments and accessories are made of hand-dyed yarn from a local herd of Finnsheep and hand-knit by local retired ladies, known as the Myssy Grannies. Today, the range is sold in 16 countries.

For someone who hasn’t been to Varsinais-Suomi, how’d you described it? 

—It is the oldest inhabited region in Finland with a strong farming culture and our former capital Turku as our centre. The sempiternal Aura river flowing through the province is one of the national landscapes of Finland. This is not the best known of Finnish national landscapes, but it might be the oldest of them. The open fields, old farming estates and deep woods are typical of the region.

My favourite thing that makes me proud of Varsinais-Suomi:

— The Aura river that I have a special connection with. Starting 10 km from our headquarters in Pöytyä it flows through the county of Pöytyä and just love exploring it swimming or with my stand up paddling board.

My favourite weekend routine:

— Every Saturday I go for a long run in the woods of Aura and next to the river.

My favourite place for dining out:

— That would be Sergio’s in Turku, an old Italian restaurant, where you get not only true Italian ingredients — but also service in Italian!

My favourite cultural spot:

— The museum Rectory of Pöytyä is really outstanding for being a private museum run by volunteers. Aesthetics were kept in mind in making the layouts and displaying the old crafts and decorations.

My favourite local media:

— Our local Auranmaan Viikkolehti is one of the best small newspapers in Finland. For an inspiring social media account, Turku-based Saana and Olli with their interior brand Saana ja Olli is really really beautiful and inspiring. Their home was chosen as the most beautiful home in Finland.

My favourite place for a creative or business meeting:

— As the chairman of the Auranmaa foundation I’ve been offered a new location for each meeting, Ateljee home Villa Syrjämä was the most outstanding.

My favourite excursion:

That would be the newest official tourist route in Finland, Aurajoki scenic route, and all its estates. My favourite one is the Pihlava estate listed as the Build Cultural Heritage site of National Significance.

My favourite breakfast place:

— This is not a joke, but after gym, the local gas station in Aura offers really nice and inexpensive oatmeal with daily newspapers. For a brunch, I would go to the Cafe Viktor in Turku Art Museum, but making a reservation in advance is required. 

Turku Art Museum. Photography: Vesa Aaltonen.

My favourite local entrepreneur or creative I want to promote:

Luonkos Cosmetics produces zero waste natural cosmetics in different types of cleansing and oil cakes that work wonders. Nice branding and so much ambition behind the brand.

My favourite hotel for a staycation:

— That is not in the region, but Puukarin Pysäkki in Northern Carelia is the only place I go for a staycation. Magnificent organic food and entrepreneur Anni’s powerful character is in the middle of nowhere, far from daily life or city hassles.

My favourite route for a run or walk:

— That would be my home route Piimätie and all the small roads and paths crossing over.

My favourite place for fashion:

— I have always loved the Scandinavian fashion scene in Turku, but today the best is Puf Design Store offering the best-curated collection of Finnish sustainable fashion. Both stores located in Linnankatu are worth seeing.

My favourite space for great design:

Ars Nova in Turku with an exhibition of Osmo Rauhala, the best known Finnish contemporary artist and organic sheep farmer, would be the number one space for the region. 

My favourite example of tech innovation in Varsinais-Suomi:

Lyyti is the leading event success platform and a great success story.

My favourite thing at home:

— Hanging out in our living room with my bookshelf, sofa and lots of memories plus a few design items. It is the centre of family life.