Calm Seas

July 28, 2002

Back Up Next

728.jpg (56922 bytes)

020728-135537.jpg (193158 bytes)020728-141858.jpg (184400 bytes)The breakfast at the hotel was free, nice, and filling - I had five croissants with huge amounts of ham. Yes I know it's a weird combo but I like both, so why not mix 'em. The plan of the day was a visit to the art museum in the morning, and of course the whole ferry business in the afternoon. Shamefully I must admit that I am not a big art lover, at least not what most people consider art. The Helsinki art museum, right by the central train station, featured an exhibit of many paintings and the occasional sculpture. I guess especially with paintings my taste in art is about as far from mainstream as it gets. For instance, most oil paintings gross me out because it looks like the painter left pieces of colorful butter halfway on the canvas. Add to that the fact that in most cases I either have to guess what the picture means, or it's painted in such rough strokes that there is no detail visible. Fortunately, they had some nice pencil and watercolor paintings, where one actually can see the details of a scenery and doesn't feel the need to clean up after the artist. I guess this is why I do photography. 

020728-143032.jpg (146869 bytes)020728-144405.jpg (220468 bytes)We got to visit the local Hesburger after all - me for a drink ("large" Sprite, being 0.5L, for two bucks) and Essan for an ice cream. Then back to the hotel to pick up the car and off to the ferry, the Silja Symphony. They started boarding shortly after our arrival in the usual car line, and  we soon got to our nice cabin which was of the 2nd lowest class, the special perk being that it's actually above water. Yes, you can get a cabin next to the engine room - we didn't. Actually, our cabin was on deck 11, with deck 12 being the sun deck, so we were lucky. Two beds, one shower, what more do you need we thought, especially after discovering the second, very well hidden towel. One step up would mean that you get a window facing the inside promenade; the next step would give you ocean view and a TV, probably as backup in case it was foggy and the view didn't hold up to expectations; the two next levels up would be very nice suites. Next time, maybe.

020728-144445.jpg (159207 bytes)020728-144547.jpg (130880 bytes)The boat is very nice indeed; the only competitor running the Helsinki-Stockholm route is the Viking Line, which is considered less luxury and cheaper. But we opted for the premium competitors and I must say had no regrets. There are many restaurants on board, so we picked one which suited our tastes, and 42 Euros later (with tip) we were well fed, even if not bursting. You can also opt for the 25 Euro / person buffet dinner, where you can pig out, but which was lacking quality and selection. However, it apparently suits the boat's captain, Henrik Cars, into whom we bumped twice during the evening.  

020728-144845.jpg (145318 bytes)The life on deck is very active until sunset, ranging from people sunbathing, reading, to others drinking heavily the tax-free liquor which can be had on board, to the gentleman with a super-telephoto lens and a very, very flimsy tripod taking pictures of the sunset. I think I was the only one with a Powerbook on deck, though. Once it got cold we went to one of the lounges, equipped with TVs and some music. In our section Voyager's very own and unmistakable Captain Janeway was giving commands with Swedish subtitles, an unfortunate thing since especially her voice could use some dubbing. Hey, it's not just me, the 6 year old boy at the 1995 Star Trek convention in San Francisco felt the same way, I am not ashamed to admit.

020728-163837.jpg (104741 bytes)020728-163956.jpg (128429 bytes)I am also not ashamed to admit that I purchased 6 kg of wine gums. Now think about it (or don't, maybe it's better that way). Facing a hard decision, I left the Haribo gummy bears on the shelves because I can get them right in Santa Clara, but wine gums, the real ones, 5 Euros per kilo, how could I say no to that? Essan was a bit more reasonable and purchased a small pack of peanuts, for snacks in between as she said. Overall we were freaks in the store, not just because of the gums but because of the lack of liquor in our purchase. Others had shopping carts full.   

020728-161645a.jpg (146999 bytes)020728-163203.jpg (131885 bytes)Just before bedtime we went to the Atlantis bar, where the night show was beginning. Five dancers were performing to popular 80s tunes, some of which are long forgotten (many rightfully so), and some of which must be completely unknown beyond Europe (if even there). The performance included some obscure Swedish songs which I was ashamed to admit I knew, despite having lived in Switzerland at that time.

020728-201253.jpg (147847 bytes) 020728-201712.jpg (181125 bytes) 020728-203048a.jpg (61106 bytes) 020728-203113.jpg (66291 bytes)
020728-205906.jpg (115571 bytes) 020728-202616.jpg (83131 bytes) 020728-215536.jpg (183637 bytes) 020728-215611.jpg (141458 bytes)

020728-145358.jpg (177023 bytes)

020728-145546.jpg (211220 bytes) 020728-145153.jpg (176659 bytes) 020728-210145.jpg (115759 bytes)
020728-210225.jpg (94263 bytes) 020728-233515.jpg (222570 bytes) 020728-224820.jpg (136378 bytes) 020728-164824.jpg (139014 bytes)
020728-225428.jpg (189162 bytes) 020728-225630.jpg (190335 bytes) 020728-231044.jpg (144487 bytes) 020728-233345.jpg (132627 bytes)
020728-225257.jpg (165665 bytes) 020728-224855.jpg (118856 bytes) 020728-233721.jpg (158825 bytes) 020728-233907.jpg (178489 bytes)


Back Up Next

Email Stan