I stayed up as late as possible last night, watching BBC news until it repeated, hanging up wet clothes, typing the biggest blog post ever (that I forgot to upload), and staring at the wall. I woke up at about 9 AM nonetheless. After an hour of pretending to go back to sleep, I started to gather everything together. I left the half-ass hostel at about 11:20. I had forgotten I still needed to get to Berlin in order to get to Rostock.
I hurried down to the train station and caught the train right on time. I only had a chance to set down my pack for about ten seconds before the train arrived. I made my way to Berlin Hauptbahnhof and navigated the train schedules to find the Rostock train was leaving in 30 minutes. Had I missed the first train, I would have had to wait two more hours for the next train to Rostock. I bought a baguette sandwich and waited for my ride to Rostock.
This was a regional train, so no first class, no assigned seats, etc. It was a double decker train, which I’m beginning to enjoy. The great thing about train travel is that you get to see so much of the countryside, particularly on these slower trains. The drawback is that trains never go through the rich neighborhoods, do they? So you get a bit of a skewed vision of the nation. I saw many abandoned buildings on my trip, many of which looked like old train buildings. Then again, I got to see lots of trees! German forests are a lot like the forests in the Cascades, but the trees are farther apart and have redder bark and there are big swaths cleared for farming and towns and what not.
The ride to Rostock was easy. I still haven’t had a ticket checked since the ICE trains from Brussels to Berlin. I hope my eurail pass is good enough if I ever do get checked. It took 3 hours to get to Rostock and the first thing I did was check the big yellow schedule for a train to Uberseehafen. There was one to Seehafen Nord that was leaving in 2 minutes, so I jumped on that one. It was the right one!! Sort of.
I was following some backpackers through the shipping terminal trying to get to something that looked like a terminal for my 27 hour superfast ferry. They were going the wrong way and consulted a map to get going the right way. As we were walking, I met a Palestinian gentleman who was traveling with a friend to Trelleborg (Sweden, I think.). We talked about a few things including middle east politics and how Obama will save the world and all that. He helped guide us all to the terminal. Not Obama, the Palestinian. I asked the first desk lady where my terminal was and she pointed back to the building I had passed on the way in. I didn’t see my Palestinian friend, so I walked back to the building.
The office I needed opened at 8PM. It was currently 4:30. I decided to walk back to the train station and see when the trains run. The train back to Rostock leaves every hour, so I hopped in the next one to go find a place to eat my last dinner in Germany for a while. As I was waiting, I talked with the only other person there a little bit. He spoke to me in German and I said I spoke English and then we had a little conversation in English.
I arrived back in Rostock and started out by looking at the map outside the train station. I remembered that Rostock is on a little sheltered harbor on the Baltic Sea, so I decided to go to the waterfront. I got about two blocks and realized the sky was getting dark and that noise was thunder. I happened to see a grocery store, so I ducked into that and bought some dinner and maybe a late night snack or breakfast/lunch for the boat: two small hard breads, some jarlsberg cheese, an apple, and some chocolate. When I stepped out from my shopping adventure, I saw the sky look even more threatening, so I hurried back to the train station to eat and hide from the rain. I’m learning!
About an hour later, the rain stopped, so I took a different route to the waterfront. I like Rostock a lot. It’s a sleepy little seaport town, but there’s something quite romantic about it. If I were German or ever get to come back here, I’d take my imaginary girlfriend on a walk through the rosegarten and then down by the waterfront where I’d propose. “[Imaginary girlfriend’s name], I knew from the first time we met at [that place where we met] that, of all the possible 2nd place finishers, you were the winner. You are relatively intelligent, moderately inoffensive loooking, and smell pretty good most of the time. Here’s a ring, let’s get hitched.” Its just that kind of town. So I walked around a bit, smiled at my friend the ocean, and made my way back to the train station to wait for the last train to the Uberseehafen.
Checking in to the ferry was pretty awesome. I got off the train and walked back to the office. On the way, I saw a Subaru with a Rally Finland nameplate on the side and got all excited after a long day of hauling all my stuff around. This is going to be great! I also showed the lady my eurail pass and got about $90 off the price of the ferry. It’s still $200 or so, but it will be an adventure! I just have to wait for the bus at 12:30 AM to take me to the boat. There are a bunch of cute kids speaking Finnish running around. Maybe I should put times on these things. Like “Captain’s Log: stardate 12345.” Then I wouldn’t have to worry about using the correct tense all the time. This blog thing is good for using up my waiting time or long train rides. More later, perhaps.
From the boat, 1:37 AM.
I am successfully on the boat. I paid for a seat, which I expected to be near a window. Turns out it’s an airline recliner in a conference room with a bunch of other people. At least, that’s what we could figure out by ourselves. During the load-in, I met a math teacher from the UK named Shaun who is travelling to St. Petersburg, where I wanted to go, but my pass won’t let me (for free). We talked about a lot of stuff and I am reminded of my dad’s ability to make friends with weirdos. I think I just ditched him by switching to this other conference room, but I needed a wall to lean against. The boat leaves in 3.5 hours, so I’m going to try to get a couple hours of sleep. In a horrible chair. But I’m on a boat to Finland! In the morning, I’m going to walk around on the Baltic Sea!