Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Åland Islands

Hello again everyone! Long time no speak! This is a mini update since I just got back from a class excursion (remember I'm a secondary school teacher) to Mariehamn, which is the capital city of the Åland Islands. The Åland Islands belong to Finland but it's an autonomous region so things are a bit different there compared to mainland Finland. For example, it's a demilitarised region and everyone speaks Swedish there. They also have their own flag as well as their own stamp. 

Anyway, I spent two days in Mariehamn with our fabulous Biology/Geography teacher Heli and 9B from our school. We had a brilliant time first singing and dancing on the ferry (it takes around 5 hours to get to Mariehamn from Turku by the same boats that'll take you to Stockholm as well) and then chatting, eating, exploring Mariehamn and staying up late when we'd actually made it to the Åland Islands.

Here are some pictures from the trip - no pupil pics, though, as I want to respect everyone's privacy.

This is where we stayed - Gröna Uddens Camping. They had four-person and six-person cottages and it was within walking distance from downtown Mariehamn and the harbour. But then, everything is within walking distance in Mariehamn. Oh, and the buses are free as well so that's really practical.

Downtown Mariehamn. As you can see, it's not very big.

Our cottage from the inside :).

The cottages from the outside.

Basically, there are three sights in the Åland Islands, one of which is this old sailingship, Pommern. The other two would be Kastelholm Castle and the ruins of the old Bomarsund fortress, but we didn't have time to visit them this time around. I've visited them back when I was 12 and on an excursion to Åland myself and they're worth seeing as well.

Mariehamn Town Hall.

Ålands pannkaka is a specialty you should try.

It's this :). A special kind of pancake.

If you go to the Åland Islands, make sure you know it's pretty much a dead place. So, if you like the sea, camping and taking it easy, then Åland's the place for you, but if you're expecting a busy city with tons of people, you'll be disappointed :).

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