Last year we vowed to return to Åland, those islands between Finland and Sweden, part of Finland but where they speak Swedish. However we wanted to put a cap on the distance driven, so after crossing Northern Germany we are booked on a Finnlines ferry from Travemünde to Helsinki. We have also booked the small ferries to get us to Åland. What after that? Well it's as yet undecided, hence the working title of 'Scandinavia'. What I would like to do is cross Sweden and go to Lofoten in Norway again. That would be a lot of kilometers though so we will see how we go.
In 2016 we saw a map of Åland advertised in the ferry timetable book. It was a 1:100,000 cycling map and was advertised as being "Available in shops and tourist facilities all over Åland." Well it certainly wasn't available on the ferries and terminals or shops that we went in. We only saw it in one place, the tourist office in the main town, Mariehamn. Foolishly I didn't buy it, mainly because we were leaving the next day and really you need the map right from the start. Anyway when we went to Standfords in Bristol in March this year to buy Spanish maps I asked about this map.The assistant, who it has to be said was a total map nerd, eventually tracked it down on Amazon's German site. He found that for some reason he was unable to order it from there. So for a couple of weeks or so since then I have been trying to find a stockist that was willing to sell a copy to me. I opened an account with Amazon.DE found the map and started to order it, for it all to break down when I got to the check out. There isn't a Swedish or Finnish Amazon they use the .UK .DE or .COM ones. In the end I found a Swedish bookshop Bokus. They don't have an english version of their website but they do an english FAQ about ordering. Unfortunately there must have been several revisions of their ordering procedure since they wrote the FAQ! Anyway by using the FAQ, Google translations etc I managed to place the order. Today I got a confirmation email that the map has been shipped by first class letter post. The email was in english however the tracking information is in swedish so we will wait, in hope.
I can report now that it arrived it's not Ordinance Survey quality but at over four times the size of the free tourist one, it is the best we will be able to get so I am quite pleased, but see the PS in conclusions.
Link to part 1 franksblog.webnode.com/blog/scandinavia-2017/