Early Flight to Helsinki

Trip Start Jul 25, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Good Morning Cologne

The alarm clock rings 6:30. "Wanna get up?" - No response. "Wanna sleep some more?" - "Mhmmm..." - "Mhmmm" means "Yes!". So I put the alarm on 7. Half an hour later the annoying beep tone returns. I don't turn it off and get up. Mari gets up as well. We make some tea and pack the remaining things into Mari's big suitcase. Then we check everything. Are the windows shut? Are the power plugs plugged out? Are water and heating turned off? Yes. We take take our luggage and the trash downstairs, leaving the house around 8:30. The has already risen. We wouldn't know because it's a grey Cologne day. About half an hour later we arrive at the airport. There is no queue at our check-in. Obviously nobody wants to travel to Finland today. We check in right away. Afterwards we drink an expensive Coffee at Burger King.

Cologne Airport
(pic of giant moscitoe) The security procedure doesn't take very long. I'm asked to unpack my photo equipment, because I have a cleaning device in it that looks like a bomb (the "Gitzo Rocket Cleaner"). After the security check we proceed to the duty-free shops. Mari buys some expensive facial cream for her mother. We don't buy any alcohol because it's not really cheaper in here. Finally we find the way to our gate and settle down for a while. 30 minutes later, the stewardess announces through the speaker: "The plane is ready to be boarded. Women with children, handicapped, and passengers with the boarding cards 1 through 30 please board the plane now. The remaining passengers will be called later."
Everybody jumps to their feet immediately. A long and wide queue is forming. I really hate it when people do that. Why can't everybody just wait until his or her time has come? Since we have boarding cards number 11 and 12, we fight our way through the crowd and board the plane.
The plane is only half full. People around us are chatting in Finnish. Some German guys are drunk and loud. At least it seems like that. Suddenly the pilot starts the engines. I panic. I always panic on airplanes. I'm really afraid of flying. I'm fear that the airplane might crash or explode in the sky. I also don't understand how such a heavy machine as an airplane can fly through something as light and thin as the air. Mari calms me down. Everything is fine. The rest of the flight is kind of boring. Luckily Frank lent me his Nintendo DS... the perfect travel mate.

How to Get to Finland

Here I just want to give you some general information on how to get to Finland. Since Finland is kind of isolated, there are not so many options for getting there. From the European mainland there are only two reasonable options: by airplane and by ferry.
Getting to Finland by Plane

The cheapest airline around are Germanwings and Blue1. Germanwings has direct flights from Cologne / Bonn Airport to Helsinki for as little as € 19 (one way). Blue1 has direct flights from Hamburg, Berlin, and London to Helsinki. Tickets start at € 59.

If you want to go to Finland with your own car, your choice would be to take the ferry. Finland is connected by several ferries. For example you can go from Rostock (Germany) to Helsinki, from Tallinn (Estonia) to Helsinki and from Stockholm (Sweden) to Helsinki. You can find schedules and prices on ferrylines.com.

You can also go to Finland by car. One way would be to go through Denmark and Sweden. This way you will end up in the very north of Finland. The other way would be through Poland, the Baltic States and Russia. You would need a visa for Russia. This trip would be more interesting, but also a bit more dangerous and complicated.

How to Get to Cologne / Bonn Airport

For non-German speakers, the easiest way to get to the Cologne / Bonn airport is by taxi. A taxi from the city centre of Cologne to the airport will cost about  € 25. Another good option is the train. S13 takes you directly to the airport. There are also some trains, even ICE trains that will take you there. You can find more information about that on the website of Deutsche Bahn, the KVB website (Cologne public transport), or the official website of the city of Cologne. The train has two advantages over the taxi (or car): it's much faster and much cheaper (only € 3 from Cologne city centre). The train takes you directly to the airport. No more bus driving or anything of the kind is necessary.

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