During the following weeks you will find some travel posts here. What do those have to do with my happiness- / motivation- / inspiration- / health blog, you may ask? I have had one wish for so long. Like very many other people, I want to travel the world. See all the different beautiful places. And as this year is all about living my dreams for me, I am giving it a go from the very beginning. I decided to start with baby steps, exploring my home country Finland, starting with the island Åland as part of the #NBE Nordic Blogger Experience … and now I’m in awe.
Have you ever heard about Åland before? Don’t worry. Most people haven’t. It’s a little island that belongs to Finland, is much closer to Sweden though and where they speak Swedish too. That’s all I knew before going there, but during the two days I fell in love.
We took a ferry from Helsinki to Marienhamn, which was apparently very smart decision. The ride, a night in a cabin and an incredible seafood buffet with all the fish and DESSERT you can wish for costs less than a night at a hotel, so it’s a real bargain. And I would pay lots for the food alone!
In Marienhamn we stayed at the Hotel Arkipelag, which I also enjoyed most because of the food (what’s wrong with me?). They served typical Åland butter and cheese, Åland apple juice, Åland pancakes and Åland honey. THAT is experiencing culture for me! There are fancy resorts with croissants and eggs all over the world, but in how many places do I get to try square Åland pancakes?
We spent our two days in Åland exploring all the beautiful sights the main island has to offer and I definitely want to go back in summer now. You can even rent your own little island..!? Like, how cool is that? There are islands for 4-12 people and they start at 160€ / island / night. Does anyone want to treat me with a romantic surprise (much needed!) – I’ll have an island please!
I think my favourite things in Åland were the activities. That’s one of the things I always enjoy most when I’m travelling. Activity in new places is immediately more fun than jogging in your same-old-neighbourhood at home. Åland is amazing for cross-country skiing and nordic walking in winter (we did both and I was so proud of my skiing skills!) and you can cycle in summer. You can even island-hop on your tour!
And on your stops you must visit the restaurants for the best food I’ve had in a while. Andy put it quite right: “The food is Finland’s best kept secret.” I haven’t had as good food in AGES. We had salmon, salad with hot goat’s cheese, and lots of incredible desserts like hot chocolate brownie with pecan ice cream or kanelbullar (cinnamon rolls in Swedish).
My top tip: the mudcake at Bagarstugan. I cried. I first almost cried because we entered a cute little wooden doll house with lace, roses, flowers, embroidery and sweet pastel porcelain and the most beautifully decorated cakes, then I almost shed a tear when I saw the 20+ pots of different tea leaves (blueberry caramel rooibos was my favourite!) and when I tried the gooey, fudgy chocolate mudcake I couldn’t help it anymore.
I am such a happy person now. My baby-step travel experience was a winner! This shows that a “holiday” doesn’t always have to be very far away or even expensive. I loved absolutely everything about my little trip and can’t wait to take on bigger adventures next time!
PS.: Also make sure to check out my first video from Åland: