The Plan: Trains, Planes, Ferries, Bikes, Stockholm, Turku, Mareiehamn, Helsinki - Biking and Ferrying Across Finland's Aland Islands - CycleBlaze

July 5, 2018

The Plan: Trains, Planes, Ferries, Bikes, Stockholm, Turku, Mareiehamn, Helsinki

Man Plans, God Laughs When Man Doesn't Notice Passport Has Expired

I do a lot of road cycling where we live in Maryland, while Carole does some cycling but much more running. For our 2018 vacation, Carole and I decided to do a 5 day supported cycling tour of Finland's Aland Islands with Freewheeling Adventures. To keep this from  looking like an advertising product placement, I won't mention Freewheeling again but they were responsible  for all the route, hotel, restaurant and ferry choices, as well as various shuttling services. 

Alands Bike Tour Overview (Freewheeling Adventures graphic)
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We rented hybrid bikes from them - brand new Nishiki with disc brakes for Carole, a nice Felt hybrid for me. There were two guides and they did a great job.

The bikes and the support van (Bill and Martha photo)
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The original plan was on 5 July we would take Amtrak from Baltimore to Newark and then take United Airlines non-stop from Newark to Stockholm, burning up some of my United mileage for free tickets. We would then spend a few days seeing Stockholm, then fly to Turku, Finland to meet the tour guides and the other couple (Bill and Martha) who would be on the ride with us. After the tour, we would fly to Helsinki to explore that city and maybe visit a friend of mine who lived south of Helsinki. Luckily, we would leave Helsinki just before Putin and Trump arrived for their summit.

The mileage each day was generally under 40 miles, leaving time for exploration all day and at the end of each day. There were options for adding some miles, but I only did that on one  of the days.

I planned long in advance, had a detailed checklist, double checked everything - but it wasn't until the afternoon of July 3rd that I noticed  my passport had expired back in April... Too late to run down to the State Department for same day service, and the next day was the 4th of July - feh. 

Had to push the departure back a day, got a new passport and off we went. We had a great time in Stockholm - the weather was unusually warm, in the high 70s and not a cloud in the sky.  Visiting the Vasa museum, dinner at The Hairy Pig and cardamom pastries were some of the highlights. 

That weather would hold for the entire trip - we never saw a drop of rain and clouds were rare, too.

Update - Freewheeling made a video during our tour, and it is now up on their website. It is an advertising video, but pretty low key. I'm the bearded wide-bodied guy with the shiny bike helmet mounting site, my wife is the hot redhead. 

The video is here.

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