Monday, 13 March 2017

The Åland Islands, Finland (June 2015), Part II

Day 2 continued...

So, from Kastelholm Castle we drove on to the Bomarsund Fortress. It can be visited for free and throughout the year, and, as it turned out, there was an added bonus in the form of a flock of sheep wandering around in the area...:) The fortress itself was originally built by the Russian military, but was destroyed in 1854. Once again, you'll be outside for this activity, so make sure you dress accordingly. And, I have to say that we were more interested in the nature and the sea than the fortress, which you might notice when you take a look at the pictures...

















Bomarsund was our final destination for the day, so once we'd walked around long enough, we got back in the car and drove to Mariehamn. However, we did have one more pitstop on the way, namely a coffee shop called Uffe på berget in Godby. It's high up on a cliff and has a lookout tower as well - really cool, in other words! The minute I saw the place, I knew I needed to go there! We were quite exhausted by this point and decided not to go up the tower. Instead, we enjoyed lovely paninis and fizzy drinks inside the coffee shop.



The view from Uffe!

The lookout tower. Here, you can also see how the coffee shop is above the road.


In Mariehamn, we still stopped at a supermarket to get some Åland goodies for the evening - did you know that Åland produces its own beer called Stallhagen? We got one of each of their beers (very nice, give it a go!) as well as some bread and cheeses...AND stopped at Diablo as well for more pizza to be consumed picnic-style on the floor of our cottage.




Day 3

Day 3 was our first wedding anniversary, also known as the Paper Anniversary. We started the day with having a breakfast picnic and exchanging our gifts (I got a star named after us, you guys!! <3), and then headed to Pommern, the museum ship. Some might think that visiting an old boat that doesn't even sail anymore is not very interesting, but that is not true at all! In my opinion, Pommern is the sight in Mariehamn. It's also pretty much the first thing you see when you arrive in Mariehamn by ferry. It has an interesting photo exhibition about the ship's history, and basically everything else there is interesting, too. You can see actual cabins and walk around the ship exploring...I've visited the ship three times by this point and I'd be happy to do it again any time. At the moment (March 2017), Pommern is closed for renovations, but it'll open to the public again in May 2018. 

Also, you can buy a combined ticket to both Pommern and the Maritime Museum right next to it, but you can visit the two places on separate days. This is exactly what we did, which turned out to be a good idea as that way, we could do the Maritime Museum while we were waiting for our ferry back to Turku on the following day. I support flexible tickets like this!

Aaaand, on to the pictures...



<3 <3
Very cool!







After Pommern, we were off to Geta as we wanted to do some hiking in the forest. Getabergen offers a couple of different nature trails - we went on the kiddie one called Trollstigen, which was supposed to be easy and just 2 km, but I think we ended up mixing several different trails as the whole thing felt pretty endless and at least I was completely exhausted in the end. Having said that, though, I'm not a hiker and I only ever do anything like this on trips, so if you're a real hiker, I think this is nothing :D. If you want more information on the hiking paths and nature trails in the Åland Island, check out this link.

The views en route to Geta were really pretty, so we stopped a couple of times for pictures. I really, really love the Åland Islands - I could easily live there if they'd have me :D! Growing up, I loved reading Astrid Lindgren's children's books, and while Astrid Lindgren is Swedish, Åland still gives me the same type of feeling and general atmosphere as those books...wooden houses, trees with actual leaves (not needles - this is important for someone from the north :D...though up on Getabergen you mostly have coniferous trees), the sea...I just love it!

Arriving in Geta.

There's another lookout tower on Getabergen, and this one we did climb!





It says "See God in nature".


We then embarked on the trail called Trollstigen, or Goblin's Path, which was so nice! It's aimed at children, and the trail is numbered - there's a story that you can read as you go, and at the same time, you find out about how all the different rocks, cones and cliff formations came to be (the goblins were playing football with rocks, etc.) :). A nice way to keep a kid interested!






It looks like a snake, no? #slytherin

It was just a bit windy...:D









It was a very nice albeit exhausting experience! On our way back, we still stopped at a mall to have a nice meal of baked potatoes and salad...All in all, a very good day!


Day 4

This was our last day in the Åland Islands. We packed our stuff and then went to the beach, or the pier, that belongs to Gröna Udden. Obviously the sun really came out on the day that we were leaving...




Julcsi found some seashells :).
Then we drove to the harbour and went to the Maritime Museum, or Sjöfartsmuseum, to see what they had to offer. I'd been there once before back in 1994 when I was 12, and it felt like it had changed quite a bit. Maybe they changed nothing, though - I don't know...:D


The Maritime Museum is great! I LOVE looking at the old figureheads and wondering where they've been on their travels...It's also a nice place for kids as they can climb up a mast and try to make knots, among many other things.






Wilhelmina 'Mimmi' Widbom, a professional sailor.

The Pirate Flag.

Some exotic souvenirs...


Loved it! You can spend quite a long time there if you really read everything properly. However, we had to go as we had to be ready for our ferry back to Turku. What a nice trip it was! Until next time!





The next post will be about Hungary again - this time, it'll be about things you can do in and around Budapest. Stay tuned :)!

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