I told my parents that I am on a weekend trip to åland islands (You pronounce it as Oland), my mom replied, Hey didn’t you just go to Netherlands? Sorry it is not Holland, its åland. This island lies exactly in between Sweden and Finland. Mariehamn is the capital of åland. The best part was we did not pay for the tickets. (No no, pls don’t think we just sneaked in 😛 ) Thanks to Pressbyrån who sponsored the trip through Viking Cruises. You don’t have to feel jealous that we got a free ticket. We ended up paying something at the end. Stay tuned to the story 😀 . We planned the trip for two days. As usual, we got a place to stay, again free of cost. Thanks to Couch surfing. Frans Johansson was our host. He writes many articles for the local daily. While we were sitting at his couch and chatting, we saw him in the news channel too as he also reports news. I was looking at the channel, of course with my jaw dropped! But he is such a humble person that he doesnt feel much proud about himself. Until we reached his home, we took some time to go around the city to have a feel of this charming place. We had gone crazy watching this video,
So we folded our sleeves and started to plan for a big photoshoot. We had high expectations of the city after watching this video. As soon as we stepped out of the cruise and into the city, we had that Meh feeling. Nothing in the video was matching what we saw. We explained this to Frans and later he took us out. In fact he planned to take us in his speed boat but unfortunately we did not have enough life jackets. So he drove us to an idyllic place. He says many guys often come there for booze! It also seemed to be a little adventurous. And there we had the best moments of the trip!
We also learnt from him that he had already been to India and especially Tamilnadu. What surprised me was he had an album of Danush – Kolaveri. He said that the song was so famous that it was played in so many places. Talking about the places that we visited, the first day was spent in the cargo ship – called Pommern. It seemed to be small from the outside but it was really big inside! It is essentially a cargo ship museum that contain many artefacts. Thi cargo ship was owned by Gustaf Erikson and was used to transport grains from Australia and all the way to England. We got to understand how difficult it was in those days for the people who work in those ships. https://instagram.com/p/5Wz8RfGkEH/?taken-by=sandheepkumarvb The next day was spent in maritime museum which displays the maritime history of mariehamn. The town itself grew because of it’s strategic location between Sweden and finland. As it was in between the trade route, the sailors halted here. So the industries related to shipping grew!
Now, coming to that story of how we paid! We are basically two smart people right? So we decided to make the ultimate use of the tickets for two days. On day one and two, we booked two tickets from Stockholm – Mariehamn. We boarded the cruise on day one and spent that night there. On day two noon we arrive at the port, about an hour in advance. We went to the counter to get the boarding passes. There was a beautiful lady smiling at us, as she got the ticket printout from our hands. In a matter of couple of minutes, her beautiful smile turned into an ugly pout. She responded, “Sir, please go to my colleague’s counter”. We immediately turned back and there was this guy who looked like Stone Cold in WWE. He seemed to have some cold looks too. Nevertheless, we went there just before a huge queue started behind us. Now this man gave us much worse pouts than the previous girl. (Just imagine Stone Cold giving that pout. It was exactly the same). I guess at the first place, he did not understand this “Jugaad” and so says, “Sir, you must have checked in today morning at Stockholm. Since you did not check-in, your ticket was cancelled. So you must pay for the ticket now”. A big lesson well learnt! and we said “Ok!” and happily swiped the card with Prasanth and myself exchanging big smiles. So here ends the story of åland and begins the voyage back to Stockholm 🙂