In the Autumn 2016 tourism students in Novia University of Applies Sciences got the chance to be a part of a big project with St Olav Waterway. Our assignment was to test walk the routes on the Finnish side and give feedback and improvement options. We got divided in groups and some walked already in the Autumn and the rest of us started planning our hikes in the spring 2017.
My group contained of Heidi and me from Finland and Juan from Spain. We also started off the walking with another group which consisted of Daniela, Annika and Clara, that later on focused om Kökar. We met up with them again in Långnäs and walked together to Mariehamn.
My group knew for a long time that we wanted to walk on Åland island, because none of us had really been on the small islands before. With the other group we decided to split up and they chose to go to Kökar while we went to Sottunga.
Annika and Heidi on the ferry to Kökar and Sottunga
Sottunga is a small island with only barely 100 inhabitants, and it’s the smallest municipality in Finland. We arrived to Sottunga on Friday afternoon with the ferry that came from Galtby, and we were immediately welcomed by two locals, Ralf and Sarah, who drove us to our accommodation, Lyckliga Lotta. We left our bags at the accommodation and started walking together with Ralf, Britt and Sarah who functioned as our guides along the route. The route was marked with some white tape pieces, and would have been pretty hard to find without the guides. Hopefully there will be better signs in the future when the route is done!
Ralf, Sarah, Britt, Heidi and Juan
We walked almost 10 km that day and saw all kinds of different terrains and beautiful surroundings during our walk. There were fields, woods, sand roads and beaches. We also got to see the church on Sottunga, which was a small church but really pretty! We had a lovely weather and a nice day! In the evening we had dinner that our hosts had prepared at Lyckliga Lotta, and after that we had a good night’s sleep!
Juan on a beach
The next morning, we ate a big breakfast at the accommodation and met up with the other group on the ferry going towards Långnäs. We arrived at about 10 a.m. in Långnäs and started our 30km hike with positive energy.
Everything went well for the first 15 km but after that people were getting tired both in the head and the feet. We were almost giving up, but we made it all the way to Mariehamn! We were really happy and proud of ourselves for managing to walk the whole 30 km. It took almost seven hours, and you can probably imagine how tired we were afterwards. We would not maybe recommend to walk this route (Långnäs-Mariehamn) because there were not actually much to see. Biking on the other hand would probably be more fun!
We spent the night in Mariehamn at Hotel Savoy and ate a big hotel breakfast the next day. Then it was time to go home, and we went back to Turku with Viking Line in the afternoon.
All of us are really happy ant thankful that we got to be a part of this project and we had a lot of fun! We also have big faith in this project and we recommend it for everybody interested in walking 🙂
Written by: Annika and Heidi