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!