Monday, September 14, 2009

the åland blend

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The infamous Finland/Åland - Sweden ferry boats never have been, never will be my kind of venue or idea of fun. Sad main reason for people travelling on them seem to be getting blotto and stocking up on taxfree must-have-alcohol.

If one is willing to cope with the plebs with a blotto main goal it can however be a cheap - if you stay clear of the taxfree perfume counter. Which is difficult... - and convenient way to travel to-from Helsinki - Stockholm. As well as having an unpretentious day or two on the Åland islands.

It was years since I was last there, but this past Saturday I defied my cold - poor me, but nothing like tin can April - and the plans on taking the Åland ferry with cabs and friends were carried through.

And I am so glad I went, it turned out to be such a lovely day, glorious Indian summer weather, great drive, quirky sightseeing - albeit some sights had unfortunately already closed for the season - with good food in good company.

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Åland - a Swedish speaking autonomous and demilitarized Finnish province situated in the Baltic Sea about two hours ferry boat ride from Sweden - is quite a little country haven of its own, a charming blend of old and rural mixed with modern views and lifestyle (which unfortunately doesn't include their attitude regarding seal hunting though). It seems to be a generally peaceful and laidback way of living on Åland, with its far from densely populated forest clad archipelago landscape.

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We got to spend about six hours driving around the islands before it was time to take the ferry back to Swedish mainland, which by no means meant we had the time to see 'everything'. But here are some glimpses of one fine early September day spent on Åland ~

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a dedicated man has rebuilt
a 1950ies shell gas station museum
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the apple orchards on åland are plenty.
as well as very pretty and colourful
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when in finland, have a moomin soda.
found this wild strawberry flavoured one
far too sweet for my liking
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the national dish, åland pancake
with strawberry jam and whipped cream is delicious
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the sign for bicycle roads are rather...
amusing me thinks
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there are dedicated people with all sorts of quirky collections,
this is an old henhouse now home to
an impressive collection of old Volkswagen Beetles.
unfortunately closed at the time
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the not so pretty castle of kastelholm.
originated form the 14th century
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home to sweet cafés -
this one being pettas old schoolhouse in geta -
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and maritime life
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tjudra vineyard,
closed for the season
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another ålandish sign one got to love,
for dogs in dire needs
at the ferry boat terminal
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the main town on the islands is mariehamn
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a place that has lots and lots
of lovely ornated wooden houses

5 comments:

heidikins said...

This is absolutely delightful, what a fantastic day trip!

xox

Danangib said...

Beautiful pictures, very interesting post, it seems it was a great day trip.

Hawk and Weasel said...

Åh wow! Beautiful photos. I really need to go there at some point.

Mats Adamczak said...

wow, you really had some good speed during your trip on Åland: I liked what you write about my home island. Greetings from Åland

Pia K said...

thanks, heidikins! yes, it really was a pretty awesome day trip, can't wait to go back for a slow day on foot in mariehamn actually. i have a bunch of free tickets (loads of those around since they count on people buying a plethora of booze...) which i plan on taking advantage of soonish.

thanks, danangib, it was indeed!

thanks, handw, rather convenient and cheap to get to and from really, i bet the off season is grand to visit the place in another pace.

thanks, mats, glad you enjoyed!

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