Saturday, 25 August 2012

float, float on

It's almost two months later (October 18th) as I write to record all the fun and hi-jinks we had in the Åland islands.  Hang on, let me just check the photos on, no, no hi-jinks there.  Fun, you ask?  Are you kidding? In Finland? Well, okay, it's not really Finland.  These islands are inhabited by a rowdy bunch of Swedish speakers who have their own government and their own flag.  I'm thinking of the Isle of Man - another Viking stronghold of yesteryore.
Keep your distance on the Aland Islands
My lasting impression from Mariehamn is the modernist architecture of the public library.  Light, airy, bright white.  Coffee machine. Toilets with hot and cold water. Full of all the good things libraries have - books, newspapers, internet, magazines, music and films.  I think I'm not overstating it when I say that this is the kind of place I could live.  Undoubtedly it says a lot about how we are travelling and what our needs are that this remains a highlight from the islands.  I guess in the end we felt that now familiar nagging push to carry onwards.  This is something to do with being on the bicycles and feeling like we have to propel ourselves to the next significant destination - Helsinki in this case.  We cycled for a couple of days along country roads with scenery that didn't really startle us - light, airy, bright green - and then, instead of the planned island hopping across the archipelago, we took the ferry the whole way across to Finland proper.

Somewhere I turned 45.  I can't remember where now.  That's okay with me. I'm past caring about birthdays. But while I reflect on my passing years, take a look at this here feast and consider how hungry you might be after a days' cycling through rolling countryside:

the recipe for this dish can be found in Jamie Oliver's latest book
"Cracking Nosh On The Go"

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