These are the Korpo islands, I really want to properly visit them! After lots of islands covered in trees and greenery these grey smooth rock formations appear out of the sea looking out to open ocean.
I took a few weeks out to go travelling. It was all planned before I was put into group work and thought I’d be doing individual work, so it put a bit of a spanner in the works. But I had my lovely friend David coming over from England to visit. We started off in Helsinki and stayed with Juha, my favorite Helsinki resident. After convincing David that Helsinki really is the most uninspiring capital city ever, we moved on to Turku. I’ve been to Turku before twice and wasn’t a big fan. But we couch surfed with this fantastic guy called Samu. He met us from the train station and took us to his house, it was just gorgeous! An old Summerhouse with no right angles and lots of little quaint features.
Samu then took us for a picnic in a gorgeous park with a great view over Turku. It was a beautiful sunny evening and all around were people drinking beer and chilling out.
Then we went to a squat party. My misconception and minor knowledge of squats at the time had me thinking it would be a Skins style, drug fuelled excuse to wreck things! But it was in an abandoned old folks home. It was meticulously clean, respectful, no graffiti anywhere and with surprises in every room! Because of it I’ve started researching squats more and talked to people living in them and found out just how hard they work to revitalise old properties that are lying empty and derelict and turn them into something beautiful and useful. The first we found a CRAFT ROOM! There were piles of materials to craft with, artwork on the walls and signs telling us to create! Every room had wardrobes full of clothes which were free to take as long as we tidied up afterwards. There was also an art gallery where you could stick your own things up, a raised bed area full of sleeping bags, a fully stocked kitchen, a fridge people had left their alcohol in (I was stunned, in England the alcohol would be nicked and the fridge wrecked!), a sauna being constantly used, a terrace full of people chilling with instruments and a main room with really awesome bands constantly playing! It went on for 3 days before the police shut it down, just amazing! Just awesomely DIY and non-profit arty good fun!
After Turku we attempted to get across the Turku archipelago islands not knowing how difficult this is to do without a car. It was a complete nightmare, we had 4 islands to get across before we got to our final island where we’d get a ferry that runs once a day to the Aland Islands. We got off at the first island, thinking we could walk to the ferry port and get to the next, this was not the case. We had to hitchhike, and when this didn’t work we hassled people at a petrol station! Someone kindly went and found out about buses for us, so we sat and waited for the next bus to take us across. Eventually, the bus came! Eventually we got to the final island! Just to find no ferry at all and very few people. These islands have very few people on them. We found one old man with shaky English who told us it was Easter Sunday and there would be no ferry, despite the ferry website saying there would be. This man gave us a lift to one of the 2 guesthouses on the island. The first one wasn’t open for another few weeks, and the 2nd reluctantly took us in. We had an entire guesthouse to ourselves on a beautiful island to ourselves, it was pretty bizarre! We made a fire, and ate a very bizarre put together meal of one packet of noodles between us all, and cheesy crackers.
The next morning we actually got on the ferry! It was a beautiful 2 hour journey past lots of vastly different island landscapes. We got into Aland at about 11 pm, on the wrong side of the island, or so we thought. So I very cheekily went and asked a couple if they were going to Mariehamn, which they were, so they gave us a lift. We then got to the ferry port, and our ferry wasn’t listed. We had no idea what to do, but the night before we were meant to stay with some couchsurfers. I had their address, so we turned up at their flat begging for help! they told us our ferry was actually from where the last ferry dropped us, but we had a few hours to go so we stayed with them for a little bit! They then showed us where the bus to the ferry we wanted went from, and after even more stress, got on the ferry and had a very disrupted nights sleep on the way to Stockholm!
Stockholm was beautiful, we spent about a week there wandering about.