The plan for today (yesterday) was to paddle east from Lerviks. Good plan, except for the wind and rain.

The plan for today (yesterday) was to paddle east from Lerviks. Good plan, except for the wind and rain.

Instead, we visited the Åland Museum of Art and Culture. It is quite the little treat. This is not a large museum, with two main halls and a few smaller spaces.

The first hall is an art gallery showcasing local artists and subjects. Some very traditional works are offset by some very creative and edgy abstracts, which are, in turn, balanced by unusual pieces that bridge the gap - like a woven work that represents the community and nature of the region.

Adjacent, there is the largest hall - one we entered from the wrong end, and viewed backwards! It traces the human history of Åland, from pre-history to the post-EU entry modern day. There are also some special sections devoted to medicine, traditional life as overseen by the church, and home life history.

The importance of the sea is shown by another small hall with projections of the sea around the area, and a traditional 4-oar skiff in the centre of the room.

Finally, there is a special exhibition ("Do Objects Speak Swedish?" An Exhibition About Identity) running at present about what it means to be Ålander, and how symbols and images change in meaning, and how the meaning of history changes. It featured things like the various flags that have flown over Åland, the origins of an old idol and other artifacts - and how the interpretation of their origin has changed. There is even a section about how the swastika has changed in meaning. One particularly moving item was a beautiful necklace with golden swastikas from the 1920s, and how the owner has such conflicted feelings about it, now that the symbol has gained such dark connotations in western culture. This is contrasted with how the symbol is seen, still, in India, where it is a symbol of the Sun and life.

It was deeply moving, and has a lot to teach us as Australians, about our own place and history.

Then we had a wander around town, visting tacky (and not so tacky) souvenier shops, restocking our fridge, and getting some fresh berries to have with bread-cheese and coffee. Which we tried out when we got back to our room. And it is good!

The rest of the day was spend photo editing, postcarding, and vegging.


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