Monday, March 2, 2020

Mariehamn, Åland Islands, Finland

On Friday night I caught a flight to Sweden, spent the night and caught the 7 am ferry to Mariehamn.  From Stockholm it was a 5,5 hour trip.  

Mariehamn is the capital of the Åland Islands.  In Finnish the town is called Maarianhamina but even though the islands belong to Finland, Swedish is the official language so everyone knows it as Mariehamn. 

It is home to 11.000 people which is about 40% of the entire islands population.  

The town was founded in 1861 and is named after the Russian empress Maria Alexandrova from when the territory was part of the Russian Empire.

It's a small town and you can check out everything in a day.  Still well worth a visit.

Södragatan is one of the town's oldest streets.  There are lots of colourful wooden houses dating back to the 19th century.

The Maritime Museum is dedicated to the story of the island's seafaring tradition. 

Pommer, built in 1903, is the world's only four-masted freight sailing ship that is still in its original condition.  It is a museum ship but unfortunately it was closed when I got there.

Tusenskönan, the Daisy Park, was opened in 1993.  The spot was originally designated to be a parking lot before the city made it a park.

The Sittkoff Galleria is the most popular shopping centre and meeting point in town.

St. Göran's Church is the town's main church.  It was consecrated in 1927.

Lagting is Åland's Parliament House.

The town hall was built in 1939.

The Mission Church is the town's oldest church building.  The building has been a church since 1897.

The municipal library was built in 1989.

The Åland Museum is the town's museum of history and ethnography.  The same building houses the art museum as well.

The Mariehamn Museum covers the design and history of the town.  Unfortunately it too was closed this time of year.

The Alandica Culture and Congress Centre is located at the eastern harbour.

Lilla Holmen is an island separated from the town by a narrow sea channel.  It's a nice area to go for a nature walk.  

29.2. Leap Year

After a full day in town I caught the midnight ferry to Helsinki.  Apparently the Åland Islands are not part of the EU customs zone which means that duty-free goods can be purchased on board.  It seems popular but everything still had super high Scandinavian prices.

The ferry to Helsinki was 10,5 hours.  I hadn't seen Tommi and Eiko since their wedding 3,5 years ago.  They have moved from Stockholm to Helsinki now and picked me up at the harbour.

We went for coffee and I got got to meet their son.  He is such a handsome little chap.  After a nice visit they dropped me off at the airport and I got home late Sunday night.

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