En Åbokryssning

14.42 Söndag, 24 Februari, 2013

This weekend, I went on another cruise, this time to Turku, Finland, with some friends.  The cruise was just a “mini-cruise,” and in reality, it was mainly just a ferry (but at 66:- per person, it’s practically cheaper than staying in Stockholm for a day).  The ship we were on, the M/S Silja Galaxy, goes back and forth between Stockholm and Turku every 24 hours to bring people and cars back and forth.  We left Stockholm at 19.30 on Friday and returned around 18.15 on Saturday.  On the way, the ship made a quick stop in a town called Långnäs at around 2 in the morning.  Then, we were in Turku from about 07.00 to 8.15, and on the way back, the ship made another quick stop in the town of Mariehamn around 1 in the afternoon.

Finnish Flag

The flag of Finland

In port in Åbo

Turku, Finland – In the left in the background is the medieval Turku Castle

In port in Åbo

Islands in the Finnish archipelago near Turku

Cruising through the Finnish Archipelago

Islands with summer houses in the Finnish archipelago

There’s not really much more to say about this cruise, since it was so short – my friends and I just talked and played cards and watched the islands go by.  We didn’t even get off the ship in Turku since the stop was so short.

However, even though we didn’t really see or do much, the area we sailed through is an interesting part of Finland that you may have never heard of before and that provided some nice scenery from the ship.  Turku is located in the southern corner of Finland on the shores of the Baltic Sea.  Around Turku is a large archipelago similar to the Stockholm Archipelago except even larger.  With around 50,000 islands, the Finnish archipelago is one of the largest archipelagos in the world!  The interesting thing about Finland’s archipelago, though, is that the half that is farther away from the mainland is actually an autonomous, Swedish-speaking region called Åland.  This region is technically part of Finland but for the most part is self-governing and even has its own flag.  The town of Mariehamn is the capital of Åland, and Långnäs is also located in the Åland Islands.

Åland Flag

The flag of Åland is a Swedish flag with a red cross that symbolizes Finland

Approaching Mariehamn, Åland

Mariehamn, Åland, Finland

That’s about it for this trip; however, you may be wondering what the title of this post means – what is an ‘Åbokryssning’??  The word kryssning means ‘cruise’ in Swedish (compare with Rigakryssning).  In the Swedish language, many of the cities in Finland have different names than their more common names in Finnish/English, and the Swedish name for Turku is Åbo (roughly pronounced: Oh-boo).

About Aaron

Hej – I'm Aaron! When I'm not working my regular job, I love to travel, study languages (svenska anyone?), and learn about history and culture. I'm also a "pandemic cook" attempting to learn the secrets of Indian cuisine from my apartment in Texas!
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