Last day, Åland

61 km day headed back to the bottom of the island group to the main city and port of Mariehamn. It is our first overcast, rainy day, although we only got sprinkles after about 10 AM. It stayed chilly all day, however.

As we say in our travels, “if it rains, leave town!”

Had grabbed some bread and cheese from breakfast, got stockpiles of water, and took the road far less traveled, with no services. Even the big dots on the map were devoid of cafes, stores, or parks. Sat in a hay or straw field on a stack of bales covered with the usual white plastic and ate a picnic for lunch.

We were both ready to get off our bikes by the time we got to Mariehamn. Got a coffee and sweet in the town center, then had to get back to the harbor to meet the taxi guy who brought our travel bags from Havs Vidden to Mariehamn. He arrived as scheduled right at 6PM.

Turned in the bikes to the rental place, and had to simply hang out at the ferry terminal and take only short walks dragging the bags around for 6 hours while we awaited the boarding of our ferry to Tallinn. It’s an overnighter, so I took a Dramamine at about midnight for our 1AM departure, and went straight to a berth and to sleep.

For a few pictures, go to:


Havs Vidden, Baltic Sea

Relatively uneventful ride north from Kvarnbo to the resort on the Baltic Sea called Havs Vidden. Quite a special place, rocky and isolated.


Our route took us a round-about path north as shown here: direct route would be about 25 kilometers; our ride was about 45.


Some random thoughts I had along the way, that I call “things I should not forget.”

Brackish water better preserves wood because it has no salt water worms, which eat the wood of sunken ships.

Christian at the brewery saying “jeest” for yeast. Wonder if the word is spelled with a Y and the Swedish letter is pronounced like a j (or soft g), or whether it is spelled with a j (or g) and his interpretation of English converted it to a j-sound.

Plowing fields in alternating left and right rows (not circles) by using a plow attachment that lifts and rotates to reverse direction.

Riding through a beautiful fir wood and smelling balsam that was so energizing that I felt I was lunching on the aroma.

Heather or heath blooming – another sign of fall, like the aspen (?) leaves turning yellow and blowing in the breeze across the road. I think they are aspens because on many occasions, their voices have sounded like a hidden stream falling into a quiet pool; or the warning of oncoming traffic.

First rooster crowing I have heard since leaving home.

First tour bus we’ve seen since leaving Mariehamn (we did, indeed reach my goal, stated as we neared departure from Stockholm, of finding a place with fewer tourists like ourselves).

Saw our first road kill: a little vole – additional road kills next day, two badgers and a fledgling bird. No other road kills or debris that we’ve seen at all.

Saw our first maple tree among all these firs and aspens: a hybrid/decorative tree, deep deep red leaves (plum colored), in a beautiful yard.

Many, many dragon flies everywhere. Very few butterflies.

Saw a soaring bird, either a fishing hawk/eagle or a vulture (haven’t seen too many vultures at all) – then saw a definite hawk, flying into the wind over the road. it took it a while, so I got out my binocs and I am 90% sure it was a goshawk, although it could have been a European kestrel, but I think it was too big. Very long tail, but little striping. It was backlit by the sun, however, so difficult to id by coloration.

Ate lunch in Getta (pronounced Yetta) — horrid sandwiches but good crisps and doughnuts. A retired Swedish steel worker and his wife sat to have lunch with us at the picnic table in the grocery store parking lot (when I say everything is remote up here, it’s not a joke). He had some English, she had little. He explained that it was just too expensive to eat in a restaurant, so they had chosen one of the entrees from the grocery store, and used the store microwave to heat it (possibly better than our sandwiches, but I doubt it). He said, “not like she fixes” indicating his wife. We had some more discussion, with the Mrs. being mostly silent. Then we took our leave. He wished us safe travels and then said, “Take it easy!” After some discussion amongst themselves the Mrs. said, “Have a nice day. Take it easy!” They were very cute. Waved at us as they drove away.

This area north of Kvarnbo is serious apple country.

Lovely rock scramble along the shore once we arrived in HavsVidden.

Sunset over the Baltic Sea as we ate our late dinner in the dining room made of triple-paned glass windows.













On to Åland

The ferry ride was blissfully uneventful, and beautiful. Our weather has been spectacular and everyone is remarking on how unusual it is. Lunch aboard was included in the ticket, as well as a cabin where we changed into biking clothes as we were off the ferry and onto bikes immediately, for our ~20 mile ride to Kvarnbo.

Rented bikes from the lovely folks at Ro-No Rentals in our ferry port, Mariehamn; bags were taxied to our b&b (for what I felt was an exorbitant 45 Euros); and we began the trundle up past Godby to Kvarnbo. The islands are part of Finland politically, but the language is Swedish, so we have small familiarity with the signage and map language. Happily, the currency is the euro, AND everything seems to be less expensive here than it was in Stockholm.

Passed a lovely church and a restoration of a Viking village along the way.

The lovely folks at the Kvarnbo Guesthouse (Ella and Martin) welcomed us and our bags were already in room 14 upstairs, a huge room with bath en suite. More on the history of the building later. They recommended the Stellhagen Brewery for dinner, and were kind enough to motor us over there. As we left for dinner, Ella, a classically trained violinist, was with her Celtic band, auditioning a new member who plays banjo, accordion, harmonica, a d is a great vocalist, too. We enjoyed some of their rehearsal from the lawn.

Amazing dinner, amazing place, amazing beer (and we indulged to have two!)! Got a brewery tour from Christian, but I didn’t have my iPhone with me, so pix of the place will have to await desktop computer download.

Here’s a slurry of photos from our long day yesterday, Monday, our first Åland day “a la bicyclet.”