The Archipelago trail – a bike tour in Finland – 2 Kulturanta to Hyppeis

Breakfast around 08.00 and on  my way before nine. A cuckoo was singing as I left. So far in 2015 I had heard several cuckoos, in 5 different countries; probably a personal best. My instructions told me I had about 20km to ride to get to the ferry which departed at 14.45 from Teersalo. I took my time and made a couple of route deviations, none of which gave me any reason to linger. As a consequence I arrived at the ferry terminal with ages to spare. One deviation took me to the village of Merimasku.

IMG_20150630_091906110

Looking from Merimasku wharf

The village boasts a very old wooden church and a restaurant, that had yet to open when I was there. There was little else to see or do so, after a short while, I left and crossed over a bridge which returned to me to the mainland. Soon after, I spotted a novel road sign and had to take a picture.IMG_20150630_093848571 (1)

Two days later I spotted a live elk by the side of the road, in some woods. I stopped my bike quickly and for thirty seconds or more we stared at each other. Then the elk got bored and walked off noisily through the undergrowth. I suspect I was a lot more impressed by the encounter than he/she was. My wildlife highlight of this day though was a pine marten crossing the road just ahead of me.

At Teersalo I spent a while sitting at a picnic bench watching loads of terns fishingIMG_20150630_113029756

After that I went to the pub by the ferry loading ramp and had a pizza and a coffee. But still I had over an hour to wait. When the ferry did arrive there were only bikes and pedestrians and there was no charge. The trip took about one hour and when we arrived at Hakkenpää the sun had disappeared and a strong cold wind had started. I needed both fleece and jacket while riding; the only time I needed them the whole trip.

My overnight destination was about 25km and three islands away at a place called Paratulla on the island of Kustavi. I had a detached, thatched wooden hut.IMG_20150630_170411195_HDR

It was very comfortable but was already home to about 20 blood laden mosquitoes. So I was quickly on a safari hunt and dispatched the blighters fairly effectively, unfortunately leaving small red residues on the otherwise white walls. I did not get any bites then or throughout my visit. So Me 20-Mosquitoes 0 was the final score. The hut had a toilet and wash basin; no shower but a pleasant outlook.na/holiday camp and a shower block with sauna – of course – a gift and grocery shop, a barbecue area with a blazing stove and a restaurant. On my arrival it was still overcast and I was advised to turn the heating on in my hut, which I did. Later the clouds cleared and my hut was overheated by the sun shining directly through the front windows so I had to risk a new mosquito invasion and open the outside doors. I regretted that, at midnight and still just about light, when I was woken by a buzz and had to renew the safari. Me 21…

I ate in the restaurant and had a very good salmon salad with a beer. I ate inside; there were several others eating outside and no doubt in their turn were being eaten by the flying things. After dinner I went for a short walk down to the harbour entrance and, after clambering over some rocks, had a rather splendid view.

View from Parattulan with island Iso-oura on right

View from Parattulan with island Iso-oura on right

The next day was sunny all day and quite hot in the afternoon. I had a leisurely start. My next ferry was due to depart at 10 and it was only a couple of km away. I arrived with about 15mins to spare. It was a busy ferry with cars, vans, motor cycles and bikesIMG_20150701_100458563_HDR

I chatted with a trio of Finnish cyclists on the same tour as me but doing it in fewer days. They had a tight schedule and were very nervous when the ferry was 10 minutes late. The ferry captain phoned ahead for them, to help ensure the ferry from Inio waited for them. We landed on the island of Jumo after a 30 minute crossing. The cycling trio rushed off. I took my time, but there was not much to linger over and see and I caught up with the trio at the next ferry going to the island of Inio.

Inio was much more interesting and appealing than Jumo. I took a detour into the village of Norrby with its attractive church

Norrby church note the lupins

Norrby church  called Sophia Wilhelmina – note the lupins

and had a coffee and a long chat with the owner of the cafe by the harbour. He told me that often in the winter the sea is frozen so the residents drive between the islands. He said that 2 years previously this was possible into April.

I took another detour shortly after to visit the village of Soderby. There were a few houses and a tiny harbour. It was quite deserted. In a rock pool by the side of the harbour I saw a snake, probably a grass snake basking in the warm water. But there was little else to see so I continued my ride to Dalen for my next ferry, the MS Antonia. There was virtually nothing at the landing stage but fortunately I had only about 20 minutes wait.IMG_20150701_123402881 (1)This was the only ferry where there was a charge and I had a prepaid ticket as part of the tour deal. The journey took about an hour and docked at Mossala on the island of Houskari. The was a small bar on board and I had a drink and a lovely cinnamon cake.

The views from all the ferries were very similar and while I have several photos I have to look at the date and time information in order to distinguish them. Here is one from the AntoniaIMG_20150630_150238238

There were then four small islands on the route; Mossala followed by a short ferry ride to Bjorko then by bridge to Kivimo then another short ferry to Houskari and finally a bridge to the island of Hyppeis. At Houtskari I took a deviation to visit a very pretty timber church in the village of Nasby.

St Maria church

St Maria church

It was first built around 1700 and is being meticulously looked after. There were several people working in the grounds and you get some idea of the activity by looking at the water can collection outside the church.IMG_20150701_153711379_HDR (1)

The village of Nasby had many attractive old buildings all with information boards. There was also a small shop where I bought some provisions and was told not to say “Thank you” in Finnish (kiitos, sounds like keytoss) there but to use Swedish (tack, sounds like tack, as you will know if you watched The Bridge!). This group of islands are Swedish speaking. There was also a pleasant bathing beach in Nasby and I cooled off with a paddle.

I arrived at my B&B Hyppeis Vardhus around 5.

 

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