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davidx Mariehamn - A travel report by David
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Mariehamn,  Finland - flag Finland -  Ahvenanmaa
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davidx's travel reports

Mariehamn - lovely capital of Åland

  23 votes
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Finland is bilimgual - Finnish and Swedish. It's province of Åland is monolingual - Swedish only! Moreover it has its own flag, stamps, TV and radio. It's completely demilitarised. Åland is the only town and the capital.

Assembly building
Assembly building
Situated on the main island of the Ålands, roughly half way between the Finnish mainland and Sweden, Mariehamn has coasts on both sides, about twenty minutes walk apart but a long way by sea right round the South of the island. The ferry quays are on the west and near them is the Nautical Museum and the Museum Ship, Pommern, a now unique four-master made in Clydeside and formerly used on the Australian wheat run. Between the coasts lies the centre of Mariehamn with many green spaces and tree-lined roads reminiscent of France. On the east side there is a fine marina, the Åland Assembly building and the Åland Museum. Town transport is limited but free and the five island routes, not free, start near the library. Two of these go to the ports of inter-island ferries that are free to pedestrians. To the South on the east side are the Town Hall and a park merging into open country.

Favourite spots:
Mariehamn market
Mariehamn market
It's barely possible to separate the town from the province in your imagination and one favourite lies on the bus route 4 at Kastelholm where there is not only a fine old castle but a free open air museum, a prison museum and a walk to the old church of Sund. The partcularly scenic island of Køkar [pronounced Chirke with the e very soft] is better used for a night en route between Mariehamn and Turku, Finland's second city. In Mariehamn itself, favourite sights are the Pommern, mentioned already and the elevated park near it with a panoramic view and the west coast going south.

What's really great:
Pommern - lower deck
Pommern - lower deck
The spring flowers on the last named coast path were fabulous, cowslip, the island flower, taking pride of place but with shows of violets, wood anemones, wild geranium and a host of others. Apparently later in the season the orchids are splendid. The cleanliness of the town and the informality of its attractions for children were also pretty impressive, particularly a 'pirate ship' that seemed to have a child swarm over it.

The church, Kokar
The church, Kokar
There are so many sights that it is difficult to select particular ones. The old Post House and the village at Eckero are impressive.
We particularly liked the church and its immediate area in Kokar.

Coast nearest to chalet
Coast nearest to chalet
Östra Ytternäsvägen, 22100 Mariehamn, +358 18 12525
Open: 1.5-15.10. No. of beds (B&B): 54.

There is a hostel-like building with rooms and a restaurant that supplies a buffet breakfast for those in the rooms and those in the chalets which spread between it and the coast.

Scandinavia is noted for high prices but this was very reasonable.
Highly recommended.

The real Pommern - boat not restaurant!
The real Pommern - boat not restaurant!
The Pommern Restaurant, rigged out a bit like the boat but not very near to it, provided delicious and reasonably priced meals on two evenings.

It may be worth saying that the main inter-island ferries have cafeterias that provide unexpectedly tasty food at very reasonable prices. The food is cooked on demand and served at your table when ready!

Published on Tuesday December 28th, 2004

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Fri, Dec 31 2004 - 11:49 AM rating by nedkelly

Real Interesting david, eeerm was there any surf when you were there and if not do you think it may hold potential? Nicely ilistrated , enjoyable read.
cheers for your contribution!!

Wed, Dec 29 2004 - 01:06 PM rating by britman

Hi David,

Great report and a good read - also beautifully illustrated. A tip for scoring ful marks on Globo if I may mention them; If you complete all 9 sections and use 9 Photographs you stand a chance of getting higher ratings. Also we do vote on quality too. Please jkeep your reports coming - it is a pleasure to have you join us in this travel community.

Wed, Dec 29 2004 - 02:54 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii david ,
very good report indeed.

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