A Travellerspoint blog

June 2021

Does it always wind in Åland?

Little bit more exploring around Finland

sunny 19 °C
View Åland on hennaonthetrek's travel map.

14.6. Monday

I had already made all the reservations for my trip to Åland, when last weekend we were spending with my spouses family in their summer cottage, Tonis sister-in-law suggested that I should take their middle child (14 y.) with me since she hadn’t anything planned for the summer yet.
Toni was supposed to go with me but his summer holiday was postponed and I couldn’t shift mine, so I agreed and made the changes that Mia could come with me.

And this morning I hopped on the train from very gloomy Kokkola and was glad that the weather seemed to be improving with every kilometer we were moving farther from home.

In very sunny and warm Tampere we had to wait for our next train and spend the time on top of Torni hotel in Moro bar drinking moctails.

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Moctails in Moro Bar

Our train was on time arriving Turku and after checking-in to our hotel we immediately leaved to explore the marina, Turku Castle and get something to eat.

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World biggest daisy in the marina

Castle wasn’t open but we got to peak inner-ward anyway. Castle was builded in 1280 and has been used as an fortification, held court, prison, storehouse and barracks. 1941 it was bombed which led to restaurations takin place after war.
Now together with Turku Cathedral it is one of the oldest buildings still in use and the largest surviving medieval building in Finland.

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Turku Castle

I had warned Mia that I am planning to take advantage that Toni wasn’t travelling with me by eating Chinese on this trip and that was what we did before heading back to the hotel. She seemed to like her fried chicken and I surely enjoyed my dimsums, rice and shrimps.

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Chinese food

15.6. Tuesday

Last night weather forecast told that Vieno-storm would hit Finland at night and blow until noon. But when we woke up it was just little windy.
After hurried breakfast we took taxi to marina. First I thought that we could walk but in last night stroll we saw several signs towards marina (each which pointed different direction) so I wasn’t going to chance that it takes lot of time to find the right terminal, especially when we were already in hurry. The terminal was the one that I thought it would be but still it was nice doesn’t need to stress about the time.

Onboard we participated trivia. We came in 2nd and won chocolate but the questions were only about the ship we were on so our place was doe more luck than knowledge.
Also participated in free bingo. I have always wanted to be able to yell bingo! But will need to still wait for that, albeit I won some more chocolate from pity lottery after actual bingo.
Journey to Mariehamn from Turku took over 5 hours. Besides trivia and bingo we spend our time playing cards and Yatzy.

Bike renting places was just outside the terminal so we got our bikes right after disembarking the ship and didn’t even have to search for the place. Hotel we found after little detour. But with my sense of direction it was only expected that some wandering was to come... We had 4 kilometers from Mariehamn center to our hotel, Strandnäss Hotell was nice and the staff really friendly.

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On our way to the hotel

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On our way to the hotel

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On our way to the hotel

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On our way to the hotel

We didn’t linger in the room this time either but went for looking for food. Which we found and while eating decided to go searching for one of the many sightseeing spots there were along the coast. Again some detouring but weather was sunny albeit windy.
On our way back to the city we bought postcards, Mias grandma (my mother-in-law) made us promise to send her one and I always send one to my mom. We stopped to get drinks in restaurant at small-boat marina, and wrote the cards while enjoying the summer.

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Benches at the sightseeing spot

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Stairs

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Stairs

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Views on the way

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Trail on the woods

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Back at the marina

16.6. Wednesday

Weather was a bit grey but not cold this morning when we left towards Kastelholma Castle. And it was windy again. But as I said, it wasn’t cold so it just slowed as down a little we being on bikes. The views were similar than back home, fields and forests, and the coast. And sheeps and cows.
Mostly the biking path was marked well but on some of the bigger junctures I would have expected there to be signs were there wasn’t. But even with my sense of direction we were able to for the most part keep the right way. Albeit we stopped to read map A LOT. Photo stops were plenty too.
There also were actual biking paths all the way except for the last couple of kilometers which we had to bike onside of the car road.

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Fields

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St. Olaf's Church in Jomala

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Cows

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Hitchhiker

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On our way to Kastelholma

After biking most likely over 20 kilometers, when we arrived to the castle we went straight to have café and cake. The cake was awesome, bit too big but so good! Chocolate cake with café mousse on top. They also had very summery music playing on the speakers and meanwhile we ate our cake the sun had started to shine!

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Cafe

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My chocolate cake

The café was beside Vita Björn prison museum and Jan Karlsgården open-air museum.
Crown prison Vita Björn had been prison for 200 hundred years and when it closed in 1975 it became Finlands first public prison museum. Inside the building you could examine the changes in prisoner care trough years, starting with shackles and small spaces with many inmates to increasingly more humane conditions.

The open-air museum opened in 1930s and has real buildings from all over Åland demonstrating what the farm life was like. The name of the museum comes from Jan Karls who owned the main house. Among other things like Old dinner bell (which the matron of the farm would ring to the men working in the fields for them to know it was time to come home for dinner), stables and farmhouse there were old playhouse with staff for children to play with. Including stilts which we couldn’t resist trying. Without any good results beside laughter. No use for me for quit my job and join the circus!

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Sheeps

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Outside Museum

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Dinner Bell

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New career?

The Castle itself has builded in the end of the 14th century, first mention of Kastelholma Castle was in 1388. This Ålands only medieval fortress were first in small islet but as the land has been kept rising now only has water on two sides.
Castle has colorful history, danish admiral/pirate captain Sören Norby (County lord of Gotlands 1517-1525) took the castle by surprise in 1507, it has been Gustav Vasas (King of Sweden 1523-1560) hunting castle and it had destroyed in fires at least 3 times before it became an museum.
Inside there is changing medieval/historical interactive exhibitions, this time there were lady who was spinning wool. I tried too but wasn’t really good at it, maybe with a bit more practice.
For children there were baby ghosts hidden all around the castle which you were suppose to find.

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Kastelholma Castle

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Kastelholma Castle

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Boo!

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Lady who was spinning wool

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Or is this my new career?

On our way back to hotel we stopped for a drinks at Uffe på Berget, café on top of rocky hill where you had amazing views all around. You could also climb on top of sight seeing tower, which we of course did.

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Uffe på Berget

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Uffe på Berget

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View from Uffe på Berget

About 45 kilometers since this morning we were back at the hotel where we gladly took a little break before biking back to Mariehamn for dinner.

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Mariehamn city center

17.6. Thursday

We didn’t have anything specific planned but Mia had read about Åland Maritime Museum which we choose to visit today.

The museum was made in to shape of an ship and had masts, helms etc. from real boats. Also real captains quarters and souvenirs from sailors to their loved ones. Inside you could view the history of seafaring. I liked that there were real stories of real peoples and not just speculations.
Two of my favorites were Stava-Mosters Seamens Home and The English Boy.

Before 1884, seamens from ships who stopped at Mariehamn were having difficulties finding an place to stay in this young town, so Sailor Mission established Seamens Home which first matron was Stava-Moster (Aunt Stava). Stava-Moster had lost his husband and sons to the sea so she started renting three small rooms in her house. She had always coffeepot hot and its said that she confiscated the sailors money which she rationed to them as she seemed fit. She didn’t like men losing all their funds to pubs so she motherly maintain her house and the seamen who came to stay with her.

In September 1938 fourmasted-park Moshulu drawed the attention of 18-year old English boy Eric Newby in the harbor of Belfast. He stepped in to the ship where he was directed to seamens quarters where immediately put to work. He was scared to death but climbs in to the mast anyway.
18.10.1938 when Moshulu sets to sail he is already experienced climber. He has a camera with him and he is set to photograph the world as much as he can before it disappears.

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Souvenirs from sailors

As for the climbing in to the mast, it was possible to try for yourself and I made it! Well, while it was a real mast from a real ship, it was only the last 5 rungs or so. Still feeling great for being able to get up there!

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Perhaps I will become an sailor?

Docked just outside of the Maritime Museum were freighter Pommern which you could visit with the same ticket than museum. It is only ship in the world that has remained basically unchanged through years. Builded in 1903 in Scotland under name Mneme (re-named Pommern), made to haul timber from Scandinavia, saltpeter from Chile and wheat from Australia. Shipowner Gustav Erikson from Åland bought the ship in 1923 and it made its last gargo carrying voyage in 1938. Pommern has been an museum in Mariehamn since 1950s.

Since 17th century merchant sailing ships rivaled who could sail around the world fastest, if you were able to finish the journey under 100 days you were considered one of the fastest. Pommern did it in ninety-something days, I recall it was in 96 days maybe? I didn’t write it down because I was sure that I would be able to get the information from internet if I would forget, sadly I couldn’t and did forget. Still, the museum in whole was quite interesting.

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Pommern

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Pommern

Spending morning wandering in museum made us hungry and we hadn’t had the chance to taste famous Åland-pancakes yet so they were on agenda next. They were so good that Mia wanted second round.

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Bagarstugan Cafe

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Pancakes and soda

Clock was already well over noon when we finished with our goodies so we wouldn’t be able to get far anymore. There was one nature track close by which we went to explore, but that didn’t take long either. I was still full of energy but Mia was ready to spend rest of the day in hotel. It doesn’t cease to amaze me how much time teens today could use on their phones.

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On the nature trail

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On the nature trail

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On the nature trail

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On the nature trail

I had my Kindle with me but Mia said that she would be okay if I want to do some more biking. I still felt bad for leaving her alone (even when she said that she would be on our room happy using free wi-fi whole the time) so after just little exploring on the way we hadn’t gone yet, finding the tallest hill on Åland (not really but biking against wind made it feel like Everest), couple beaches and British flag fluttering on the Ålands wind (never figured out why though), I came back to the hotel been gone only little over an hour. Weather was still warm and sunny so I got Mia out of our room to the hotels patio where I read Kindle and Mia was still happily wi-fing.

We chose Nonna Rina to have our last dinner in Mariehamn in and couldn’t have chosen much better. I had pasta and Mia pizza, which both of us enjoyed immensely.

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Nonna Rina

18.6. Friday

Going home today so just packing our bags after breakfast and biking to marina waiting our ship to come. And it is windy again so is it safe to say that it is always winds in sunny Åland?

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Lots of sailboats seen on our way back home

Posted by hennaonthetrek 09:01 Archived in Finland Tagged #sea #sun #nature #castle #finland #åland #mariehamn #kastelholma #pommern #sighseeing Comments (12)

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