It was yet another lovely, sunny day on our Baltic expedition. Early in the morning, our ship berthed at a pier in the town of Mariahamn on Åland Island. Located at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia, Åland is Finland’s largest island. Three bus excursions were offered to guests. The first option was for those wishing for an in-depth dive into the history of the area. Guests visited ruins of the fortress of Bomarsund. In the 1830s, Russians began building the fortification on the island; it was destroyed in 1854 during the Crimean War by Anglo-French troops. The second option focused on Mariehamn’s maritime heritage, starting with a panoramic drive through the region to neighboring Lemland. We started by visiting a beautiful medieval church, followed by the Pellas Museum, an authentic homestead, and the birthplace of Captain Sven Erikson, the last captain of the four masted steel ship Herzogin Cecile. The final option was for those wishing to learn more about modern life in Åland. They visited some of the local producers while enjoying a panoramic view of the island, starting with a living craft house in the Maritime Quarter in Mariehamn, followed first by one of Åland’s best known apple farms and then Stallhagen Brewery. During all three excursions, guests enjoyed local cuisine in the area’s restaurants.

In the late afternoon, guests took Zodiac tours around Mariehamn Harbor to Kobba Klintar, which was an active pilot station from 1863 to 1972. This much beloved landmark is the first site seen upon entering Mariahamn.

That was not the end of the day. After a delicious dinner, guests were invited to the back deck for a concert by local musicians, the Gölby fiddlers, while enjoying a beer tasting from the local Stallhagen Brewery and a gorgeous sunset.