Feels weird not having my computer, you do not know what you have or had or whatever until it is gone. Enough of that, back to the point of this story, a ferry from Helsinki, Finland to Stockholm, Sweden on the Silja Tallink ferry lines. The ferry left at 5:30pm and arrived at 9:40am. I woke up at 11 when a cleaning lady came in.
In keeping with my social experiment of what will you be treated differently if you look derelict and potentially destitute, I am pleased to say, so far soooo good. Checked into the Commodore or gold glass line with manic hair an old Beatles t-shirt and cargo shorts not washed since WWII. The other lines were massive, go get yours.
The ferry is first class, lots of fine dining and not that over priced. The most expensive meal I could find was the lobster and it was only 36E a plate. Not bad for a swanky restaurant banging about in the middle of the Baltic Sea. It also has a casino, spa, blah blah blah, oh and a night club, more on that later.
Get in, I paid 61E which is way too much, even with my Eurail pass. These guys from Germany I met paid 300E round trip with a car (for both) and these ladies from Helsinki paid 146E for a round trip, total so 47E each or something. Granted they were 3 in a room and the gents 2 in a room and I had one to myself but still. Lesson learned? Book a round trip if you can, they charge PER CABIN not person so fill it with 3 or 4 people and you pay way less. These are C class cabins aka the cheapest ones aka where you meet all the young people. They are low, 2nd floor, below the cars. Now you know.
I had grandiose plans of washing my shoes, sleeping, backing up all those files I just lost and getting a good rest. Everything was cool and I kept moving and ran into those German dudes who offered me a beer, I figured it would be anti social not too. Suffice to say after a few I went looking for dinner, much too my chagrin, everywhere was closed but the duty free.
The ladies from Helsinki joined us and we hit the club. The club was alright and there was this massive gang of Turkish women who were basically out of this world. yada yada yada lots of people just go on the cruise, hang out on the other side for a day then do it all over again. It is quite popular and I recommend you try if you are in the area.
Rolled into town with those ladies and found that Max burger deal so we parted ways and I sat in that hamburger shop for a long time, drinking sinful quantities of coffee. Spent the rest of the day sleeping on benches, people watching, eating Ben & Jerrys ice cream and stuff like that. I met up with the lady I knew from Thailand at 5:30pm, she was with a friend. We went to this building that has a bar on the 25th floor and looked down on Stockholm while enjoying whatever beer was on tap. Stockholm is a beautiful city surrounded by water. It has a very nice feel to it.
Parts of Stockholm are really expensive, 18E for a hamburger platter, huh? You will know when you are in one of those areas though. Flip side, Stockholm is not that much more expensive than say Vancouver, BC or Toronto etc… It is just that the euro is at 1.3 or 1.4 something now and basically you get screwed on every transactions. Flip side is, if the euro and pound sterling are the only currencies stronger than yours, you are doing ok . Many people from many countries lose through the teeth everywhere. Part of the reason you run into lots of Canadians, Americans, Swedes, Brits, Aussies while traveling.
I will note that the subway costs 3E a pop. Beer on top of that place cost 5.25E a pop which is a good deal in my mind. Many clubs charge near that and the atmosphere, venue is not even a tenth as nice. Said it once, say it again, could easily live here for the summers but since its seasons are same as Canada, I would obviously opt for Canada. My dad did a similar trip when he was young, starting to believe he is 100% correct when he says you will learn it is basically the same everywhere but have a really good time doing it.
For the most part people are friendly, one lady even began running her hands through my hair and rubbing my beard, too bad she had a beard as well and shorter hair than myself. Always the way yes? Also ran into this lady who looked 50 but she was 34, it is really weird how some look old fast, others do not. I truly believe if you are happy you look young and full of life, if you are not happy or bored with your existence you look old and low on vitality.
Finally, there is a real old boys network of beards. Like flick of the cap, pull of the beard. The longer and more manly it grows, the higher your status in the crew. From old men, to young metal heads, if you can grow sick facial hair you are part of an exclusive club, trust me. If you have blonde hair you get extra bonus points as many people with blonde hair are not known for manly beards. Also, facial hair does not grow over night, well it does but not in mass quantities, it involves commitment and 9 out of 10 times means you probably do not do something seriously vanilla for a living.
P.S: Thanks to the lady hosting me. So nice to be out of the hotels or hostel circuit and thanks for baking me that apple pie, it is delicious.
P.P.S: I suggest you read this piece by Richard Branson.
P.P.P.S: Thought of adding photos but I lost my cord, no computer, no camera, great. Win some, lose some…