Meeting in Finland

Åland islands

The Cypriot team arrived to the Åland islands on Wednesday the 19th of September 2012. The Ålandish teacher came to the port and welcomed us. The first meeting with our hosts took place at the school. My host, Kevin, was there searching for me and when we found each other we went straight to his house. For dinner we had some tea, accompanied by local cheese.

On Thursday morning, we woke up, had our breakfast and began biking towards the bus station. From there we took the bus and went to the school. Firstly we were given a tour around the school and after we were welcomed by the school’s headmistress. Once we finished our workshops, we made our way back home. We played a bit on the computer and then ate our dinner prepared by Kevin and his mother. Our meal consisted of pasta and a magnificent sauce made of green tomatoes!! At nightime, we went to a place where there was a tower and climbed all the way to the top floor to gaze the breath taking view. In that area Kevin’s brother owns a restaurant so we were kindly offered an ice cream.

On Friday morning we stayed at the school until the end of the workshops. Afterwards, all of the Comenius students and teachers went to Marienhamn, the only town of the islands. There we had the chance to visit the parliament of Åland. During the guided tour, we were informed that the islands used to be under the rule of Sweden and later on of the Russian empire. Although today an autonomous region of Finland, the only official language of the islands is Swedish. The Åland islands have their own flag which looks like the Swedish one but has an additional red cross in the middle. Kevin grabbed the opportunity and took me also to some lovely local shops, where I bought my beloved souvenir, a miniature “Pommern”.The Pommern is a ship found in Marienhamn, which in the past, used to make trips from England, all the way to Australia.

Saturday was unfortunately my last day at Åland but the hosts made sure that it would be a memorable one. Under the leadership of Mr.Karsten we went on a cycling tour and had the chance to visit Vardo, another island of the 6000 that comprise the Åland islands. There I had the chance to visit a local church and compare the differences between the Lutheran churches and the Orthodox ones.

On that afternoon Kevin and I went to a farm in order for me to have a taste of the Harvest festival. It was great fun and a good chance to buy local products such as honey and chocolates. My Åland adventure finished on Sunday when it was time to leave. On the ferry I and my friends had the chance to eat a very rich, and truly ‘royal’ breakfast. Thank you Åland, with no doubts it was the best trip ever!

Michalis Fieros

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