I did not intend to be on a boat riding towards Finland.
I didn’t even intend to go to Estonia or even to Latvia for that matter. This foray into the upper Baltic states all started when I was sitting in the Warsaw airport with two boarding passes in my hand: one to Riga and another from Riga to Vilnius, Latvia. I looked at them both and then threw the latter one in the trash.
I decided that I would stay for a while in Latvia. This sentiment led to Estonia, which, apparently, also led to Finland.
Last night I was walking around the port area of Tallinn and saw the passenger terminal. Why not go for a boat ride? I went in and asked where they had boats to.
Helsinki? Why not? I’ve never been to Helsinki before.
The ticket wasn’t too costly and I figured that I could just work on the boat — a floating office of sorts.
I was out of the hostel a little before six in the morning. I got a coffee and a cinnamon bun — some kind of discount combo package — at a gas station and walked over to the ferry port.
The ferry boarded and departed on the exact minutes it was scheduled to. At 7:30 the engines were revved and we were pulling out of the harbor.
I’ve been on many ferries during the course of this 16+ year journey, and they are usually rusted out hulks with wavering floatability. I have to admit that after riding around on the sledges that count as ferries on the lower Yangtze and perpetual sinkers of Indonesia, I was perhaps easy to impress, but this Baltic ferry was among the nicest that I’ve ever ridden.
The boat itself was like a sea-going shopping mall: it was all places to dine, drink, and spend money. There wasn’t even a seating area for cash-strapped plebians: you either had to sit in some bar or restaurant or hang out in the stairwell with the other urchins.
Or maybe this ferry was more like a sea-going casino, as there were gaming machines stuffed in every cranny that had enough free floor space to hold one. Gambling is my family’s pastime. I sacrificed five euro for nostalgia’s sake.
I set up a little office in the far rear of the ship before some huge windows with a view of the sea we’d just passed through. I kicked my feet up on the sill and alternated between staring off empty and working.
In two hours flat I was docked in the port of Helsinki.