Places where you can … just breathe
During busy holiday times it’s great to be able to pause for breath and recharge your batteries. In Åland there are plenty of naturally beautiful places that provide an invitation to reflect and meditate.
In the Middle Ages Hamnö on Kökar was the site of a Franciscan monastery. You can sit in the ruins a few steps away from the charming stone church and meditate in an authentic monastery environment.
Feel an important moment in history in the old ruins and go on a journey of discovery among the rocks and cannons. Or you could just sit down in one of the mouths of the fortress and gaze out at the horizon.
Badhusberget rises 40 metres above the water and provides a stunning view over the town and the sea of Åland. A little path called Kärleksstigen extends over the hill in an east-westerly direction and provides a setting for a romantic excursion or a quiet walk.
The rocks facing the Norrhavet sound
Find yourself a smooth rock and look out at the stormy sea. A perfect spot for reflection combined with a bit of sunbathing.
The seaside promenade provides a winding journey over hills and wooden bridges along the eastern seashore of Mariehamn. You can take a seat on a wooden bench and watch the boats that come into the harbour or simply pootle around at a leisurely pace along the path, which is leafy in parts and stony in others.
The chapel in the Maritime Quarter
A few metres out in the water is the charming seamen’s chapel, linked to the beach by a granite red gravel path. You can come here and take in the scents of the sea and tar while you meditate, sheltered from the brisk sea winds.
Åland’s longest sandy beach provides hundreds of metres of contemplation by the water’s edge. Take a blanket and sit at the edge of the beach – look out over the sea and let your tracks gently be washed away by the swell as you take a walk at sunset.
Bare rocks, shrieking gulls and lapping water. It doesn’t get much more peaceful than this. Kobba has a strange, quiet atmosphere that invites reflection and tranquillity. There is also a café where you can get a snack or a cool drink after you’re done philosophising.
Text: Heidi Hendersson/ Åland Right Now 7/2014. The whole event magazine and the article are available here.