Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Room 610 - Hotel Kamp - Helsinki

Alan miscalculated the time change from Sweden to Finland which set off a chain reaction of events.  We had ten minutes to get the the Ferry to Estonia - it was rush hour in Helsinki. When we finally arrived at the Viking terminal it was departure time. We were 20 kronos short for the cab but thankfully he let it go. I burst into tears as I watched the ferry depart from the terminal gate.  I was banging on the gate yelling "don't go!".  At that I could hear the departing horn and the griding of its engines and it was moving off the dock. There we both stood watching...not sure what we would do.  It was then I realised htere was like a hundred people staring at me. Scandinavia is a very civilized place...

Our tickets cost $200 US and were non-refundable. Our first course of action was to se if they could be transferred to another ticket by some great act of mercy. I beleive in miracles.  It turned out that the woman at the counter was able to get us on a later ferry to Turku - from there by bus to Helsinki.  With no sleeping cabins available - this meant that we would spend the night on the deck or in the resturants till morning.  So still a bit jet lagged we prepared for sheer exhaustion.

We boarded to Turku and quickly made friends with some other deck folk also making the best of it. We were offered a cabin for 150 Euros...yeah right...whydon't you just ask for my credit card to go duty free shopping too...

Speaking of shopping...we made like the locals and visited the duty free on the ship - there we purchased some booze, chips,  and a pack of cards to hunker down with. We played a version of "bullshit" - known locally translated as "Man full of shit". with a swedish labourer,  a Swedish father on his way to get his daughter from camp and 3 highSchool students: Andtti, Aino and Ina. We spent the night laughing and partying ... and making the very best of the very long trip. When we were far too tired to stay upright we crashed on the cafeteria floor. I woke up to people being seated around the table infront of me helping themselves to a huge breakfast buffet. It was a bit embarrassing - I felt like a vagabond.  A Vagabond on her way to the most prestigious hotel in HElsinki: the Hotel Kamp.

We caught our bus from Turku to Helsiinki wihtout a hitch - things were looking up.  It was 2.5 hours to Helsinki.  We slept the whole way.

Arriving in Helsinki, I was amazed at all the beautiful lush parks along the waterway. This set a backdrop for the beautiful elegant modern and antique buildings. THe city was marvellous. Pedestrian walkways , groomed parks and shopping all combined. 

We arrived at teh hotel Kamp - as beautiful as imagined. OUtside is a beautiful parka nd a street lined with cafes and shops. Flowers are everywhere. As son as we checked in to room 610 we fell asleep to the sounds of a russian man singing outside inth esplanade playing the accordian outside.  And later went to the spa to enjoy the Turkish sauna and the eucalyptus grotto... and slept again int he heated chairs.



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