Åland Islands

In August, Laura and I met in Helsinki and traveled west to explore the Åland Islands. These islands are autonomous, demilitarized, and technically belong to Finland, but almost all the local residents speak Swedish.

We began our trip by taking a train to Turku where we rented bicycles and headed south west along an archipelago of islands with occasional bridges and ferries.

We were greeted by two rainbows at the railway station in Turku.
The first ferry crossing of the trip.
Enjoying the beautiful weather and countryside.
Setting up our first campsite near Nagu.
Beautiful morning light in a Finnish forest.
The flag of the Åland Islands.
Some of the ferries are very large!
Dreaming of sailing.

On our second day we made a stop at the island of Kökar where we visited the local church.

Beautiful minimalist interior, with an emphasis on the importance of ships to the local inhabitants.
Inside a chapel beside the main church.
Picnic on the beach in the beautiful summer weather.
Lunch with leipäjuusto cheese.

Next we continued by ferry to the main islands and disembarked at the port of Långnäs.

Maypole in the village of Önningby.
Windmills.
Camping near the beach at Degersand.
Kite-boarders enjoying the wind.
It certainly was windy!
Stopping for a break at a hunting shelter.
Still life with thermos and watering can.
Looking down at the boats from a bridge.
Beautiful farmland north of Saltvik.
Enjoying the cycling life.
Windmill in the evening sun.
The perfect end to a long day – the Stallhagen brewery and restaurant are certainly worth a visit. Especially when you can sit outside until 10pm in the long evening light.

Eventually we reluctantly returned to the main town of Mariehamn to take a ferry back to Turku.

Large ferry terminal in Mariehamn.
Something for all the engineers out there. This contraption sits on top of the large ferries crossing the Gulf of Bothnia.

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