Journey through the archipelago…

No, not on the bike, of course, but on the Finnish equivalent of a ‘booze cruise’…..on a ship called the Baltic Princess, which was built as a cruise ship, but designed for the only duty-free shopping and drinking experience on the high seas…..and it has everything to do with the political independence of the Aland Islands. To qualify for such privileges, all ships have to dock somewhere in the Aland archipelago, then they can serve duty-free….

I spent most of my time getting lost on board, never able to find a loo when I needed one, then I looked for help to find my bike on the vehicle deck at the end….too much for a cyclist of very little brain….

When I cycled off this cavernous monster, I was met by a former pupil of mine and his family and, until 36 hours ago, I didn’t even know he lived in Turku….all a testament to the positive power of social media, and the strength of old friendships.

It was a delight to share a meal with them, have a sauna (a standard addition to every Finnish home), and be offered a couch for the night. Round every corner lies a suprise….all we have to do is ‘go find it’!

About Frank Burns

My journeys around the world are less about riding a bicycle, and more about what happens when I get off the bicycle. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on August 21, 2019, in Biking the Baltic 2,400km and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Thanks Dave…..goodness, you have some memories….
    The two boats I took for the crossing were very quiet, and people were not indulging that much….but then the main summer holiday is over here…all the schools go back the 2nd week of August.

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  2. Yes, those ferries are something else. Was that on a Silja Line ferry? I tried to get on one once from Stockholm to Helsinki but it was fully booked. The taxi driver taking me to the airport said at the end of the month these ferries, and Viking Line, are booked solid. As you say they become ‘booze cruises’! Overnight to Helsinki. In town all day in Helsinki, there’s a brewery on the Esplande, then catch the night ferry back. I see on you map the town of Porvoo. One of the original Finnish towns and very picturesque. Would liked to have gone to Tampere but never managed it. The rep I worked with took me to several places in that area. It’s a lovely country and the people are wonderful. Best education system in the world, and probably better than Kimbolton!! Take care, Frank, especially when you get to Belarus and eastern Poland.

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  3. …and because most of the traffic on board is freight, it is intimidating squeezing between these towering giants as they start their engines….

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  4. I know what you mean about loosing your bike in amongst the cars and lorries. We did too going from Denmark to Norway – very confusing for us “oldies” heehee

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  5. Were there no pedallo’s to rent then 🤣

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