Trip to Åland has been postponed for two summers and it happens now.
Åland: approximately 6500 islands, autonomous territory of Finland, official language is Swedish, capital Mariehamn, about 28 000 inhabitants.
Why a portion of Swedes belongs to Finland? Åland islands were part of the territory ceded to Russia by Sweden under the Treaty of Fredrikshamn in 1809. It became part of the semi-autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. During Crimean War there were battles due to different understandings about military presence on the islands and 1856 the area was demilitarized. During WWI there was brief Swedish occupation or peace keeping, as you wish. Anyway, they ignored the ban to have military presence on the islands. 1919 the population sent a petition to Finnish government for secession from Finland and integration with Sweden. 95% of voters had voted in favor of it. The main reason was Finnish nationalism which again was a product of Finnish resistance against russification. The Finns declined and offered autonomy to the islands and the dispute was submitted to the League of Nations. As a result the territory stayed part of Finland with the requirement to keep it autonomous and neutral. A surprising supporter of Finland in the dispute was Japan who was considering his own islands. Sweden's interest in adding the islands to it's territory was faint and the islanders were a bit disappointed in their cultural motherland. For now they seem to have accepted the situation.
Åland is not subject to EU VAT-rules which means that ships stopping there can sell tax-free goods in their shops. That's why they stop there in the first place. In the night.
beginning of the exercise

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