Europe: Helsinki and ferry
Published 08-03-2009 on my old wordpress blog.

Room 210, Academica Hostel, Helsinki, Finland, 9:22

Well, today is my last day in Finland. Tom left about 4 hours ago and left me a note that said this was the best trip ever, so that’s pretty satisfying. I finally shaved and got all cleaned up last night, so I don’t feel so gross. I just need to do some laundry and then I think I’ll be ready for two more weeks of travel. My rough plan, day by day, is: boat, Berlin/trains, Warsaw, Auschwitz, Prague, Vienna, Venice, Rome/Naples, Zurich, trains, Paris, trains, London, plane to Seattle, new life. Roughly.

Laundry place, Helsinki, Finland, 12:19

After a morning of doing absolutely nothing except rehydrating, it’s time to get things started. Like laundry. I think it’s going to cost me about 20€ to get my laundry done. That’s pretty awesome. And that’s sarcasm. But I should only have to do laundry once more, I hope. And they are playing 80s hair rock, so that’s always good for a stroll down memory lane. “Love bites, love bleeds…” After this I have to go to the store and buy a day’s worth of food. Then just wait around Helsinki and get on a train and bus to the ferry terminal. Then just hang out on a ferry for 27 hours… Fun!

Some beach, Helsinki, Finland, 14:15

There are these tiny fish jumping. This beach has been zen-gardened by some rake machine. Two little kids are swimming and/or drowning, judging by their squeals. A seagull is standing on the seagull statue. Finns are playing beach volleyball under overcast skies. I’ve been thinking about who would show up if I threw a party. I’ve been thinking about walking in the Baltic Sea a mere 10 meters away. I’ve been thinking about one year and eight months, today. I’ve been thinking about the last two-thirds of my life still to go and how the last two weeks of this trip seem the same. I’ve been thinking too much, obviously. “An on/off switch would sure come in handy.” This nu-metal cover of that George Michael or whoever song “Never Gonna Dance Again” or whatever it’s called isn’t helping matters either. I think I’ll get some ice cream.

Some park or botanical gardens or something, Helsinki, Finland, 16:28

After leaving the beach, I got 8€ worth of bread, cheese, chips, and muffins for my meals tomorrow. Budget shopping! Then I went to the store Tom and I passed that had sports stuff in an attempt to acquire a local soccer jersey. They were all too expensive. The Finnish national jersey was tempting even at 70€, though. I walked past the train station to a little park. I’ve noticed that the Finns are pretty active folks. I’m eating ice cream while some old geezers are playing poor doubles tennis over here. That’s pretty awesome.

If I had my own apartment/condo in some hip place, I’d organize a tennis tournament for sucky tennis players. Thrift store rackets and late night games. Well, I probably wouldn’t organize it, but I’d think about it. I need an person to enact all my fantastic ideas. Either that or I just need my own apartment and to stop being such a loser. Well, time to mosey over and catch the train to the bus to the boat.

Superfast VII, passenger deck, Helsinki Vuosaari, 20:52

In mere minutes, the ship will get up the gumption to push itself from this dock and jet across the Baltic Sea towards Rostock, Germany. It’s a little bit awesome to hear a language other than Finnish for a change. One that’s a romance language, so I can understand a few words, at least. Although, I did learn quite a bit of Finnish, I suppose. I probably couldn’t write it all out here, but if I saw some words, I might know what they mean. I bet my Finnish (sorry, Suomi) vocabulary might be up to 20 words or so. Kiitos. Kiitos, very much.

Now that I’m leaving this place, I want to reflect on what I’m taking with me. I don’t really know how to put it in words. A realization that I can’t stay still for too long. A deepening, unanswerable question about my fundamental nature. A reinforced love of dark-haired, pale ladies. A tighter bond with my brother. A memory or two of gravel dust, race gas exhaust, and the particular note of a WRC rally car. And a little bit of a realization why I live where I do. An appreciation for food that doesn’t suck ass. A few new words and a few new ways to survive in a place that cannot possibly understand what I’m saying. I wa hoping to bring a bit of “sisu” back home, but I think that needs to be cooked up at home to be most effective. And I think I actually brought a little to Finland with me. Because haven’t given up yet. It’s not possible to give up. I just keep pressing on even though it sometimes seems like there is little reason to do so. My own version of “sisu” keeps me from complete despair.

It will keep me going for the next two weeks as well, even if I have to sleep at a bus stop tomorrow night. Which I just might have to do. After that, though, I plan to explore as hard as possible. I plan to do the best I can with what I’ve got. I have no other choice, right?

(also, this app ate my post from yesterday, but that’s probably for the best. It was sort of depressing.)

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Keywords: boat, europe, finland, travel

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