Travel Diary: A Week in the Archipelago

Beautiful sunset in the archipelago

Introducing a new concept to this blog – Travel Diary! A more personal and faster way for me to tell you about experiences and what’s up before finishing my travel guides in which I delve deeper, providing facts and details.

As I’m an incorrigible perfectionist I seem to take forever researching, writing and tweaking my posts. Sometimes all you want to know is “how was your travel”, but right now, completing my posts seems to take ages what with work and a hectic life in general.

Travel Jael has existed for over six months now and going through my posts I realised there’s a lot of facts, but perhaps not so much personality…or what do you think?

With my Travel Diary posts I hope to tackle these two issues – speed and personality.

Recharging batteries in Southwest Finland

Island life in Southwest Finland

Photo: Me and my dog checking out the views from the pier.

First up within this new Travel Diary concept – let me tell you about my week in the archipelago in Southwest Finland!

I’d just slept off a hangover (well, okay, I was more sleep deprived than hungover) as a result of throwing my friend her bachelorette party. Me and my boyfriend packed our bags and the dog’s bag and drove off towards the archipelago. We’re so lucky, since we have the great privilege to be able to use my lovely grandparents’ summer cottage out in the archipelago in Southwest Finland.

Korpoström located on the island of Korpo in Southwest Finland

Photo: Pretty archipelago flowers in Korpoström on the small island of Korpo.

The summer cottage is located on a small island outside of Korpo (Korppoo), a medium-sized island south of the city of Turku (I’ll be sharing more blog posts about this island and the surrounding islands in the future, stay tuned). There’s no place quite like it, although getting there is quite the hassle. We have to take two ferries and then to top it off hop on a small boat that we drive to the island. This usually takes the greater part of a day.

However, once there you truly feel disconnected from everything and there’s no other place were I so instantly feel my heart-rate slowing and myself ease into a zen mode. All my life I’ve suffered from insomnia, sometimes I can sleep well, but from time to time there’ll be shorter or longer periods of problems falling asleep. On the island, I usually sleep like a baby.

This time was no exception. What a luxury sleeping for a minimum of 8 hours every night! Can’t describe the feeling! Felt like a whole new person. Or actually, more accurate would be to say I felt like myself again, happy and positive.

Island hopping adventures

Renting bikes on the island of Korpo is a great way to explore the island

Photo: Riding our rental bikes on the island of Korpo was so much fun when we tried it out last year we just had to do it again. This time we explored a different part of the island.

Much of the vacation we stayed on the small island at the summer cottage. We had planned to explore more, but since it was Midsummer week in Finland, which means major traffic jams by the ferries, it kind of limited the days we had to venture outside of our island as our idea of a good time doesn’t involve getting stuck in endless queues. Still, we had time for surprisingly many adventures as well as time for me to work on my blog.

On Tuesday we rented bikes on the island of Korpo (Korppoo) and rode them around the island. This was such a great way to explore, taking in the lovely scents of thousands of blooming flowers along the road and stopping to watch – and listen to – wildlife.

Admiring the beautiful views over the island of Jurmo in Southwest Finland

Photo: Way out in the distance you can see the tiny village on the windy island of Jurmo. It’s so cute with all the wooden houses huddled up together.

On Wednesday we headed to the island of Nagu (Nauvo), where we jumped aboard M/S Eivor, a ferry connecting the larger islands with the outer, smaller islands in the Archipelago Sea. I was a bit nervous about how my dog would deal with a total of 7 hours on the ferry as he didn’t have any previous experience, but it went so well. I was so impressed with him, such a good boy!

Eivor – the ferry – also exceeded my expectations. How cool is it that you can island hop for free in the Finnish archipelago!? I wasn’t expecting the ferry to offer warm home-cooked meals (12 euros). The fact that you could buy yourself an alcoholic beverage and drink it anywhere on the boat was also an unexpected plus. In the land of bureaucracy (a.k.a. Finland) this seems to be a rarity. I was driving the car later so didn’t get to enjoy this perk that much though.

Jurmo, the island we visited with Eivor was so cool! I’ve visited before with my family back when I was a kid and we went there sailing, but obviously that’s some time ago. It’s a beautiful place I’ll write more about later! However, I don’t know how I managed to miss the fact that we should have booked the restaurant (the only one on the island) the previous day. I ended up having Digestive cookies for lunch, which was quite the bummer since I was eagerly looking forward to smoked fish.

Beautiful archipelago views from M/S Eivor near the island of Aspö in Southwest Finland

Photo: Beautiful archipelago views near the island of Aspö in Southwest Finland.

On Thursday we headed to the village of Korpo (on the island of Korpo) to shop for Midsummer food. We enjoyed the hustle and bustle at the village centre and also popped in to visit the old church. I gathered Midsummer flowers by the road as summery flowers are also part of the traditions.

Saturday we explored the teeny tiny village of Rumar since I wanted to see the Midsummer pole. When I was a kid there used to always be a Midsummer pole in Korpo village, but lately there hasn’t been one, don’t know why. When I asked on a nice lady on Thursday while shopping in Korpo, she said that Rumar still continues with this Midsummer tradition. It was nice seeing a Midsummer pole, although it had less flowers and was a bit smaller than I was expecting.

Midsummer magic

Double rainbow during Midsummer

Photo: Double rainbow as seen on Midsummer day outside of the island of Korpo.

As if all of this wasn’t enough on Midsummer day, nature put on quite the show for us. Out of nowhere it started raining, but it was just a quick shower. As the sun was already setting this created the effect of first one, then two rainbows on top of each other, wow!

The sun had warmed the rocks and this turned the cold rain into steam that the rays of light from the setting sun proceeded to light up. Beautiful!

All in all a great week and actually felt really rested and recharged. No place like the archipelago!

Beautiful archipelago evening in Southwest Finland

Photo: As the sun slowly set, steam rose up from the sunwarmed rocks after downpour.


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