Monday, January 4, 2010

The Aland Islands

As much as I complain about the cold....I really loved our two years in Iceland. (Honestly, Nebraska was colder than Iceland and I saw way more snow there.) Iceland was amazing...which made me want to check out some of the colder locations in the world. Brave, huh?

Today lets take a look at the Aland Islands. They are a province of Finland that lies about 25 miles off the Swedish coast in the Baltic Sea.
It has an interesting history. When Sweden gave up Finland to Russia in 1809 they took the Aland Islands also. The Russians built a submarine base on the main island during WWI. Finland then broke aware from Russia and took Aland with it. The Alanders did not want to be a territory of Finland as about 90% of the islanders were of Swedish descent. They were afraid their culture would be assimilated. In 1921 the matter was taken to The League Of Nations, which ruled in favor of Finland even though most of the islands wanted to be under Swedish control if they could not be independent. It was pointed out that Aland was actually a continuous archipelago that joins it with Finland while there was deep sea separating the islands from Sweden.

Today the Aland Islands are under Finland, but are pretty much left alone to govern themselves. Their people are exempt from serving in Finlands military.

Most of their money comes from Shipping and tourism.
The culture is pretty much Swiss.
They have a neat Viking Fest Village that draws many people.
The Åland food culture is all about carbs! Two of their most famous foods are the robust black bread with a taste of both malt and syrup and an everyday bread that is great with a thick slice of Kastelholm cheese....
And the Åland pancake with prune jam and whip cream!(Hope I can get mine without the prunes thank you.)

I do believe you are going to find me wandering around with a camera mostly. Like so many islands, there are some great shots to be had.

We can wander around in town.
Or maybe take a sail.
And we can visit the local church.
And the historical Castle.
This will have to be a summer trip. Maybe in the middle of July or early August....when we are frying eggs on the sidewalks here in the states. Sounds like the perfect way to beat the heat.


  1. I love this, I love learning about new cultures and places. I am very happy that our current assignment is in a warm place as I cannot tolerate the cold. But I want to visit all the lovely cold places on the planet!!

  2. It looks very similar to Sweden. I can tell they still draw a lot of their culture from there! Oh, I am having a craving for good, fresh Scandinavian bread and cheese now. Thanks a lot!

  3. Great photos...I'm playing online poker with someone from here. Had to check it out. Now it's on my travel you have suggestions of where to stay? I prefer the B&B experience myself.