Only a few hours away from Stockholm lies heaven on earth. At least my very own slice of heaven. Ok, so I am a bit biased, but still, I promise you will never regret a visit to the bluetiful Åland Islands, situated in the Baltic Sea in between Stockholm on the Swedish mainland and Turku on the Finnish mainland.

And the best thing is that you can actually even make it there even though you are on a time constraint. Let me tell you about my 24 h visit starting Friday afternoon.

Getting out to the port of my choice, Kapellskär, takes about an hour by car or bus from Stockholm. The passenger-ferry takes a bit more than two hours – and there is lots of stuff to see and do – and eat on board the ship.

There is even a special pet room on board, where you can choose to sit at café tables with your pet, or “park” him/her in a cage. Our lab Salmiak is very cozy in one of the bigger cages where he gets his own bowl of water. He is such a nice sport so he stays happily – and quietly – in there letting his family roam around the ship at their ease.

We always make sure to eat well on board and usually also visit the different tax free shops on board.

This specific trip was all about family. I visited with my immediate family – and feel so blessed that we are finally living so much closer and can see each other regularly. I had some really good visits with my mother and one of my aunts who both are getting up in age – and also had the opportunity to stay with one of my brother’s and his wife.

Not stopping at that I also saw my other brother and his wife a couple of times. There is no limit to what one can accomplish during a mere 24 h. An added value was the spontaneous visit to my nephew and his family where they had celebrated their youngest  first birthday-party.

Then I also managed to enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful landscape of the Enchanted Island of my home commune Vårdö on this gorgeous sunny winter-day!

Walking to and from my mom’s assisted living in -12 C with Salmiak gave me a good taste of real winter; and he was all so happy in his new boots…

Then some local sightseeing with man’s best friend. First stop at Alören where you have to catch a small ferry to go to the village of Simskäla:

Another stop at Båthusudden in Sandö where my very own poster-boy posed for some pictures:

And of course never a visit to Vårdö without going to my very own Tallgläntan.

Had a couple of errands inside the freezing cold house – and had to stay inside longer than I wanted since I had to clean up the mess of two exploded frozen soda bottles…

But thereafter I also stayed on outside at Tallgläntan on overtime, indeed so long that Big Bro called to see if something had happened…

Vårdö cable ferry and late afternoon views

And then back on the same ferry 24 h later…

So whenever you come to Stockholm from far away do try to add a couple of days to visit and enjoy the full glory of the Åland Islands!