Scandinavia Mania: Iceland

We didn't get to spend very long in Iceland, either, but I loved every minute of it. (Except for the minutes when our credit cards were being charged. Food and transportation in Iceland are pricey!) We got in very lateour original flight from Copenhagen was canceled, so we had to get a later flight through Stockholm. As always, the late sunset was disorienting. It wasn't bright out, but it was dusky when we arrived at 1:00am.

 We stayed in a cute bed and breakfast with a shared kitchen. I had toast with jam and a bowl of corn flakes in the morning, and wondered whether corn flakes are a universal breakfast food or just something that people buy for tourists. (I had corn flakes for breakfast at our hotel in Istanbul last spring, too.)

There were still lilacs blooming in July! Ours are usually gone by June.

We didn't have much time to spend in Reykjavik. We headed for the Blue Lagoon in the morning so that we'd have time for a long soak before our flight back to Boston. What an otherworldly landscape! It felt like being on a different planetexcept for the bar in the middle of the lagoon.

And then it was back to Keflavik, the prettiest little airport I've ever seen. It's the kind of airport that LL Bean might design, with locally-sourced stone and wood, huge skylights, and shops selling woolen mittens and thick fleece jackets.

This is the only airport I've ever stayed in overnight. (We spent the first night of the trip in this terminal between flights.) I didn't get much sleep, but the stained glass window overhead was a nice view to wake up to.


Scandinavia Mania: Finland, At Last!

Now where were we, lo the many months ago? Ah yes, Finland.

We were only in Finland for about 36 hours, not even enough time to make it to the mainland. We stayed on Åland, an autonomous, Swedish-speaking archipelago in the Baltic Sea.

To get there, we took a bus to Kapellskär, a port north of Stockholm, and rode the Viking Line to Mariehamn. The ferry was enormous, with several restaurants, a casino, and a duty-free shop--plenty to keep everyone occupied for the two-hour ride.

We got to our stuga (cabin) around 11:00pm. I was so excited to see a kitchen inside. It was our first opportunity for a home-cooked meal in weeks! Of course, we were too tired too eat by then, but I did make us some pasta with tomato and garlic the next night, and it was such a treat not to have to go searching for a cheap, vegetarian-friendly restaurant when we were both starving.

We rented bikes and went out to Kastelholm, a medieval castle in the countryside. The trip was a little farther than I'd anticipated, so we had to bike back quickly to avoid the hefty late-return fees. I think we got back to the rental agency five minutes before they locked up. I haven't biked in a long time, so my backside was super sore by the afternoon--I had to pedal standing up for the last twenty minutes. Afterward, we celebrated our successful fine-avoidance with cones of mjukglass (soft ice cream).

Stephen's parents gave us a wake-up call the next morning at 6:00am (11:00pm for them) so that we'd be sure to make the morning ferry back to Sweden.

And that was it for Finland!