Monday 20 May 2013

Skål Stallhagen!

Does it matter that the Åland islands and their capital Mariehamn had disappeared in the fog? No! We spent a marvelous time in the small town. Ålands are very special, because they are an autonomy territory in Finland with their own laws and a different tax-system.
Although they belong to the EU they are a tax-free area. A good reason for all the travelers, nearly one million passengers arrive every day by ferry from Turku, Helsinki, Stockholm and Tallinn. That’s important for the economy besides agriculture. But we are talking about islands and therefor the sea and the navigation are the center of the life on Ålands. Close to the berth of Fram lies the famous museum ship “Pommern”. The most important ships owner of sailing merchant barques, Gustaf Erikson, bought the windjammer in 1923.

Ships are very important in Mariahamn also as a shipwreck. The brewer Christian Ekström found a 200 years old bottle of champagne in a shipwreck, today the highlight of his brewery, of course besides his tasteful beer. He brews four different kinds of the special Stallhagen beer and we could taste them all.
Although we started our other excursions by bus and by bike in the foggy morning, we could enjoy the beautiful landscape three hours later. Spring on the Ålands means a concert of the birds, colorful flowers in the meadows, the light green leaves and nesting birds on the lakes.
The summerhouses are close to the sea hidden by trees. The islands are flat and the highest point is just 104 m above sea level. Good for the bikers!

Looking back in the history we stopped on our historical trip at the open air museum Karlsgården with the Castle Kastelholm from the 14th century. After visiting the St. John’s church in Sund we finally drove to the ruins of Bomarsund, a former fortress built by the Russians in 1854.

We left the lovely town in the afternoon to Kalmar and Öland.