Published: October 30th 2010October 17th 2010
A short blog to inform you about the 3 most boring days at the Alands. The Åland Islands form an archipelago in the Baltic Sea. It is the largest island in an archipelago of near 6,500 others, most just small uninhabited rocks and though an autonomous, self-governed territory of Finland, the Aland Islands, for historical reasons, are way more Swedish then Finnish. They have their own unique culture, Swedish dialects, flag, and stamps, and remain one of the most popular summer vacation destinations for Swedes and Finns, alike. Hence we headed there to get some beach time and soak up the sun..........NOT! It's main town, Marieham is a sleepy place full of geriatric retirees taking a weekend break. We were literally stuck on an Island surrounded by oldies and pouring rain. We took ourselves to the very happening pub to listen to a band only to find ourselves and 2 other tables listening to the music!
On the second day we hired a car to drive around the Island. This was probably the most stressful part of our entire holiday, one because there was nothing to do and two, because I can be a terrible passenger seat driver! However I can't
say I saw verymuch because Bel thought she was on the speedway lol. It only took us half an our to make it to the other side of the island. We stopped to have lunch ny the lake but got bombarded with flies........he he he he.
The highlight of the 3 days was the visit to Kastelholm, the large 16th century castle in the middle of main island. Here we tried on old hats and visited old buildings. There was an old women who sat in one of the rooms making the decorations for the midsummer pole or as I have always known it to be the May pole! Although its history is unclear, A maypole is a tall wooden pole erected as a part of European folk festivals, particularly on May Day, although in some countries it is instead erected at Midsummer. It has medievil ties and is really bright and colourful!
Bel and I were up for doing a variety of activities as the Aland website suggested and we both thought this would be a good way to kill the time but when we went to the tourism office we couldn't Kayak because it was not open, the
horse riding was unavailable and everything else required transport, which meant we would have to hire another car. As I said before, everything was sooooooo expensive so we really were counting the pennies.
I will never forget the third day when we chose to go on a day trip to a single small island that had a lighthouse on it. Although we waited forever for our pick up boat I was in fits of laughter. The guy gave us life jackets and I am so glad that I had it on. The small boat headed across open waters. We didn't know whether to laugh or cry! But we made it to the lighthouse in 1 peice and settled down in the tea room out of the freezing cold.
I think the best part of our trip to the Alands was getting on the luxury liner overnight to head to Helsinki. These liners are incredible, shopping complexes, nightclubs and buffets galore. We did not get on the boat till midnight so we crashed. Can't say we did much in Helsinki. It was agreat time to catch up on events in the world and skype loved ones. Seemed to have some cool
bars and it was a welcomed change from where we had been. Next stop.... TURKEY!
There are more photos below