Thursday, 17 January 2013

Helsinki to Turku to boat

This modern train is as lovely as the overnight sleeper was, but in quite a different way. And passport control and customs - they don't just look at your passport and say "Next". They look at it; they look at you; you think this photo was taken five years ago, well before Michael Gove got to be i/c UK education. I will have aged, but hey my visa for Russia expires in four hours. And I have a hotel booked in Helsinki with a real bed in it.

Well, I didn't know that the clocks would go back two hours between Russia and Finland. This two hour train journey has just doubled! Hey, but what's four hours after a journey of seventeen? It's peanuts! It is no time at all. And, I have two extra hours in this day. Yippee.

Hotel Arthur is so close to the station that I walk past it. Ten minutes later. It's great; it's clean; it comfortable; it's near a lovely little pub. I have two extra hours to drink and sleep in; so I do. I decide to live in Finland.

Travelling on my own means all photos with myself in situ are necessarily in mirrors, backwards [and generally hideous] or of me drinking tea in a train [from willing fellow-traveller]. This is me in hotel lift mirror.

Day Five: to get from A to B, ie from St Petersburg to Helsinki to Turku to Stockholm etc etc, I am follwing the advice of the excellent Man in Seat 61 website, and now I have a day in Helsinki before I take the evening train to Turku Harbour.

I hang out around the old town and the harbour; find a harbourside outdoor market selling souvenirs and an inside deli market where I get a cuppa, climb up a hill, check out the Uspenssky Cathedral, buy some souvenirs from a Finnish poundshop, some provisions from a supermarket, retrieve luggage from Hotel Arthur's Luggage Room [yes, they are that perfect], and head back to the main station.

This is a double decker train; am in heaven on top deck, first class [not much more, thought I would treat myself],  little help-yourself-to-tea cabinet, more free wifi. But it's dark, so a few snowy towns and stations, and not much else to see. By now I have stopped fretting about the etickets.

This ferry terminal is a bit on the clinical side, and a two hour wait here takes longer than rushing through the snowy night in a train. My boredom threshold lowered, I am very pleased to be on M/S Isabella finding my cabin with portholes, and then taking to the decks for food and lager, people-watching and music. These are definitely a few of My Favourite Things.

Have bought shampoo and conditiner; set phone alarm for 5.30 to shower and wash hair. Have not appreciated the time zone change! Again!

No comments:

Post a Comment