from Mariehamn to Degersand

In the morning knocking on doors is heard from far away. The Åland-interested have all been put near each other, I guess.
A woman opens the door and shouts: Good morning! Mariehamn!
Downstairs by the door leading to car deck there is nobody. The door is locked. So the guys were right, no-one can go there during the journey. At last a young nervous-looking man brings four cyclists from an unknown country. He is delighted to hear Estonian. He's English is very basic indeed. When he has gathered enough people, he opens the door and lets us access our transportation. Foreign cyclists have buried my bike under theirs. Even so I get out before them. They start going out the wrong direction.
Mariehamn in early morning is grey, foggy and chilly. No people. Damn, why do I have to come to these cold places all the time? I head south to wait for sun to rise and cafés and tourist information booth in Mariehamn to open. The wind is not very cold, I speed through streets and then along a narrow motorway. Heaviness of the bike means nice speed going downhill. It smells of cut hay, wet under-forest and wild strawberries. Cows. Horses. Sheep in all colors. Goats. Roebucks on the way all the time. One of them runs along with me for some time, stops on places and watches me but runs away when I stop as well. Probably afraid of the camera. Sun is inside clouds but there are still lilac-pink-blue patches on the sea.
It is complicated to find a picnic place with nice view that was not someone's garden. Finally I find a parking area and boat landing piers in Järsö. The car park is full of cars but no people belonging to them to be seen. Gun shots can be heard. I eat a muesli bar. No coffee-making because salty water wouldn't make a tasty coffee and no sweet water in sight.
I read a book on the pier. Sun has strength only for light and shadow, no warmth reaches me from this burning stone. Put more clothes on. Cold and sleepy, I start back towards Mariehamn. I'd rather doze off somewhere.
Julius' coffee house is open in Mariehamn. It also serves food. People who have slept enough are in summer clothes, only a seaman-like looking gentleman walks past in thick jacket.
Tourist information booth opens at nine and there's a shy lady in national gown. I get a brochure with ferry timetable and one more especially useful publication.
The goal today is to go through Eckerö and Storby to Kärsund which should be a lovely fishing village and to end in Degersand, boosted as the most beautiful beach in the area. After that I'm supposed to do nothing.
It's 29 km to Eckerö. Cycle road goes away from the big motorway, along little pink village roads. The surroundings look like home: birches, pines, meadows. Only more water and houses are red and with a lot of flowers. Hay is in big white packages. Potato is blooming. A lot of horses. Sloping ups and downs. Approaching Eckerö I switch to motorway because the distance meter shows already more than 70 km and I'm hungry. For some time I doubt that the distance meter is working right but then I remember that before breakfast I had already cycled more than 30 km. My right knee starts to hurt. Damn. I had forgotten why I don't cycle much.
In Kärsund is a resort and restaurant. People are having fun in water. It feels rather chilly. Either I'm ill or they are polar bears. I don't feel ill. The girl behind the counter does not know how to say 'perch' in English and switches to Finnish. I wouldn't have known it either.
The village consists of a row of discolored houses by the water and is filled with tourists. I record the houses and drag myself towards Degersand. Remaining 10 km go slow but by 3 o'clock I'm there.
Cabins, caravans, yells of children. New interesting sub-culture. In reception they take 10 euros for a place for tent and 5 euros for shower and show me where to put my tent. There's a choice between bushes and a bare space before beach. I opt for the latter, fight with the ants some time and go to the sea. Sandy beach is really nice and with foamy waves. Water is cold, no doubt. I jump there a bit and then go to my book. And then doze off and lie there and look at the sea and even don't read much. Total relaxation. Less and less people at the beach. Finally I go to check until when dinner is served. It is served.
Some walking along the beach and plans for tomorrow. It turns out that the bicycle ferry I was aiming at does not run on Sundays. Well, let's see how far does my knee carry me tomorrow.
In total there was almost 90 km cycling today (87,2 km). Despite all my efforts it still turned into sports.
beginning of the exercise
from Degersand to Godby

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