Girls Weekend in Helsinki!

Trip Start Aug 18, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Thursday, May 31, 2012

Now that classes are done a small group of us decided to take a quick trip over to Helsinki. We booked tickets on a booze cruise, but getting onto the ship was a little challenging.Wanda (The Netherlands,) had told the other three of us to be early so that we could buy train tickets and be on time. She did this mainly because Ana (Georgia,) is always late. I was first, and then Nasha (Philadelphia,) was second. As the time got closer and closer to the train we were getting worried. Wanda came hurrying up, but there was no sign of Ana. We finally had to go to the train to be able to make it to the boat on time, but Ana had not arrived. When we called her she was not near the station yet.We had to leave without Ana, but if she hurried she could make it. The rest of us were a little worried that now it would only be the three of us. I called Victor and he gave me directions about the metro to pass along to Ana since she would miss the last bus to the ferry.Finally in Stockholm we went to get bus tickets and check in for the boat. The woman behind the counter said that she could sell us bus tickets, but could not check us in because Nasha, being only 20, was underage for the boat. This was annoying/ confusing, because why would the website allow us to book and pay for tickets if one of the birthdays entered was too young? We were told to go to the boat anyways. We figured that if Ana did not show up that Nasha could pretend to be her. Then Nasha realized that she did not have her passport, something we were not sure we needed, but had brought just in case. Basically by this point Wanda and I were beginning to think that we would be the only ones going. The stress was mounting.Amazingly Ana made it, Wanda got us all checked in and they never asked for any Identification so the passports were not needed. The fact that we all made it on the boat was shocking to all of us. We all cursed the woman at the ticket counter and got on board ready for a visit to the bar.On the boat we did what was normal, we wandered through the gift shop and oggeled the alcohol. We got a sample of the new biscotti flavored Bailey’s Irish Cream. We went to the disco, but had missed the show. We watched the dancers, but they were all middle aged and slightly drunk, so they all looked more sad than anything else. We were pretty much the youngest people on the boat apart from the children traveling with their parents. Before heading to bed we went up on deck and looked at the two different sides of the boat. One side had the sun coming up while the other was pitch black. It was a spectacular difference.The next day was a very enjoyable day in Helsinki. The weather was a little chilly, but it did not rain, which was nice so we were able to enjoy the sunshine as we strolled around the streets. I had been here before, but that was with a larger group and now I was with a smaller group who had never been here, so it was more interesting this time around, plus it was much warmer that it had been last time I was here.We discovered the city museum in the heart of the city that had an exhibit of old Finnish films from the late 1930’s. They sounded interesting, but after making a lap around the museum we left. There was not much else to see.We then moved on to the Lutheran church at the top of some very long stairs, that made it okay that I was not going to the gym today. We were not sure the church’s denomination when we got there, but the large statue of Martin Luther in the corner sort of gave it away.None of us knew much about the city, had bothered to look anything up or could figure out the map, so we just sort of wandered. When we came across a super cheep Chinese buffet we decided that it was time for lunch. I was not that hungry, but food for the price was worth it.After lunch we had a few more hours to kill, so when we found an advertisement for a boat tour we decided to do that. We took a small boat out into the harbor where we were told the history of Helsinki. We talked to an older American couple who would be heading to Sweden in the next week. I wrote down some places for them to see including, or course, Uppsala.The tour was very interesting. Apparently a majority of all cruise ships in the world are made in Helsinki. There was a fascinating old fortification out in the harbor that is not on my list to visit. Sweden built it when they owned Finland, but then it was captured by Russia and held until Russia lost Finland. Now it is a museum, but is still used by the military for certain things. It also has the last submarine in Finland. After world war two Finland was not allowed to have submarines anymore.We got a great view of the cityscape from the boat. We passed by the zoo which had some sort of structure that looked like the death star. The winter ice breakers were docked not far from our cruise ship, which we got a fish eye view from as we went past it. We saw these from the top of the tour boat, but could only stand to stay up there for a few minutes because of the freezing wind.When the tour was over the others were quite happy to get off. The choppy seas had made them feel a little sick. We had just a little bit of time left, so we found some shops and a café where we had some awesome Belgian hot chocolate. Warm drinks after a cold boat ride were the best end of a day.I was the one watching my watch, so when my clock read a certain time I made them all get up and go.Back on the boat it was about as exciting as the day before. We went and danced in the deserted disco hall. There was an adorable little girl in there that enjoyed dancing with us and paired up with Nasha. After we were done dancing she followed us upstairs away from her parents. So I picked her up and we went back and found her parents and gave her back. I want to know where her parents thought she was considering the size of the ship and the fact that she was five.. We were all still pretty full from the buffet lunch, so some munchies form the gift shop were enough to get us by. We went up to see the show this time but were annoyed by some overly aggressive advances by some somewhat intoxicated Finnish men. We wanted to watch the show they wanted to flirt. After the show we stayed a little longer but then left. We went to the disco, but there were boys there to who smelled terrible, deodorant people (!) so we went back to the bar. We had pretty much given up on the night by this point. We were all tired and people watching can only entertain you for so long. So we went back to our cabin and enjoyed girl talk instead. Not long after this we all curled up and went to bed in our bunks.I was the first up the next morning, awakened by the morning announcements in three different languages. Always the worst way to wake up, but you know if you don’t get up that the boat will dock and the cleaners will come in and we will have to leave in a hurry. I turned on some classical music to wake the others up to. We eventually made it off the boat although we were all still half asleep. We had intended to go into Stockholm, but the pouring rain made us head home earlier to avoid the rain and a potential cold, which Ana ended up with anyways.It was a nice end of the year trip. We are all heading to different places in the summer and Nasha’s exchange was over, so this was sort of a last hurrah for the year. 


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