On the Fence

We left our cruise ship early this morning at 9:00 am! I am on the fence about the cruise experience. It was a great deal financial and offered some AMAZING views. There were some minuses: sleeping in a coffin, music from ‘da club’, kids running unattended, and no breakfast.

When I woke up this morning to the ceiling, I was never more certain that I would be cremated when I die. I will never sleep for eternity in a small confined space. I need to breath, have room, be set FREE! I sleep fine. The bed was comfy. I felt like I was at summer camp being on the top bunk and my mom on the bottom. It was fun. Unfortunately our room was directly near the Viking Line’s hottest dance club. I could feel the vibrations from ‘da club’ until two in the morning. I used my ear buds and some mellow music to lull me to sleep. 

I think I am on the fence about cruises because I just didn’t fit the right demographic. There were the ’20-somethings’ getting cray-cray on the booze cruise. People were going wild in the tax-free store with alcohol. I observed two young men with 12 cases of beer on travel rolling carts. I honestly don’t think the prices were amazing, but maybe alcohol is really expensive here in Finland. The other demographic was ‘mommy and daddy weekend of fun’. Parents who have kids ranging from late elementary to high school age boarded the boat in droves. Their kids were let loose to roam the halls and play video games which looked like slot machines. Let’s get those kids addicted to gambling early in life! I am pretty tolerant of kids, but at 2 in the morning, they should be asleep not rolling around. The last demographic was the elderly who enjoy a slower pace of life. I think this is more my speed and I related most with them. 

When we arrived for breakfast this morning, they asked for 30€. I looked at mom, who didn’t understand the language barrier and said let’s go. Unfortunately, we had to purchase round-trip tickets to get the breakfast meal for free. That was not so clear on their website, but I wasn’t too worried. I am NOT a huge fan of buffets. Germs, kids licking their fingers, people who don’t wash their hands after bathroom duties…I was sad I misinformed my mom, but we simply purchased some coffee in the ship’s cafe and two yogurts for about 6€. 

My brother, Peter, went on a cruise a while back and he said three to four days of fun is the perfect amount on a cruise. I can see getting on ship with some friends and floating around, soaking up the sun, and enjoying my crew. I don’t think I could do anything longer. Tight quarters with perfect strangers, I might save to commission my own private vessel next time…in my dreams 🙂

When we docked in Helsinki, our mission was to purchase transport passes, secure a locker for our backpacks, and then hit two locations before meeting our AirB&B owner at three. Everything went smoothly! We purchased a 5-day transportation pass for all transportation in Helsinki area, including trains, trams, busses, and ferries. They were 25€ for each of us and this will include our transportation to the airport Monday. We locked up our bags in the train station for 6 Euros and took off for food at the Old Market Hall. It reminded me of Ponce City Market, but more fish products. I was not too adventurous. I stayed away from the smoked eel. E. Eriksson had a corner booth with every meat product possible. Obviously, I am not from that string of Eriksson’s with my occasional meat consumption. We picked two delicious sandwiches, three cupcakes, and some amazing strawberries. I am not sure the picture below captures how perfectly ripe, sweet, and delicious these berries were. Mom says we are going back for more this weekend!

After lunch, we walked long the fence of a beautiful garden. Kaisaniemen kasvitieteellinen puutarha (Botanical Gardens) of Helsinki. It was a beautiful green house with over 800 species of plants. The interesting notation was they used different color name plaques to distinguish if they were endangered, useful, local, or poisonous. My favorite room was the water lily room. The larger than life lily pads could easy fit my mom on one of them. They only live from April to November. They need adequate amounts of sunlight, so when it does dark in the winter the lily pads go away too. 

Tomorrow, we are hoping to celebrate midsummer’s eve with the locals with nearly 24-hours of continuous sunlight! Let’s see what trouble we can get into at our final stop. 

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