Let’s start in Finland: just a short ferry ride from Helsinki city centre lies a former sea fortress called Suomenlinna. This tiny, near-car-free island, once a key part of the city’s military defences, is now a residential area and welcomes tourists every day.
A few from our time volunteering in Karjalohja for Micke: first, my Ecoffee cup on the outside table after breakfast outside on a hot day :) You may spot my partner Mr. Duringer (who has already eaten, washed and shaved), waving in the background!
Second, the cup by some freshly-painted planks – we’re told that this blue (VERY pale blue) is rather fetching and unusual for traditional Finnish houses like Micke’s. Third, this is the scaffolding we were clambering about on as we painted / drilled / sawed things; it’s also the scaffolding we took apart several days later while still standing on it...
Still in Finland, at the castle in Turku where we later boarded a ferry to Stockholm: here we’re trying to balance my (fortunately empty) Ecoffee cup on our heads, with mixed results!
And here’s the dining room in the hostel where we stayed: it’s a former commercial sailing ship called the “Bore”. The dining room hasn’t changed since the 1960s (and we loved the decor nearly as much as the food :)
Onward to Sweden, then! Here (right... and very dark) I took a cheeky snap of the Ecoffee cup next to the Viking Ship “Vasa”, which sank in 1628 and was retrieved in the 1960s as a result of enormous effort and expense (it took 16 separate lifts to gradually move the vessel to shallower water so it could be pulled out).
Here’s the Ecoffee cup in the midst of the action in the Stjärnsund outdoor kitchen (below), as our host Eliza cooks porridge over the flames of her rocket stove.
(below) On our day off work at Stjärnsund we went for a long walk.26.5 km if memory serves – it took about 5 hours! One worthwhile stop was at the Silfhytteå ironworks, now in ruins but once the beating heart of iron production in this rather pioneering area of Sweden...
Ah, how lovely to wake up in a tepee and be presented with flask coffee reheated over a hexiburner! Thank you Mr. Simon :)
(below) The last stop in Sweden before catching the train onward to Norway was at Karlstad, where we found Sweden’s longest stone bridge that stretches 168m across the Klarälven river .