Archives for category: tired

My dog died. How’s that for a reason to neglect a blog all week? Don’t worry, this won’t be a super melancholy post, because this isn’t that sort of blog, and I’m not that kind of writer. But suffering such a huge loss — here, alone — has revealed, in the final days of this trip, a bittersweet layer to traveling. And in the most unexpected way, it has crystallized the total experience for me.

Even as I was blissfully enveloped in a pretty Swedish bubble, I learned that life will keep charging forward — whether I’m paying attention or not. That’s just part of the fine print when you sign up to try a new life for a while. You don’t get to press pause, and you have to know that when you return, things may be different than the way you left them. We gamble that experiences like this will change us — change things for us — and we hope that they will. We hope for change. But we only dare to imagine change for the better, never really factoring a change that might hurt.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it — losing my girl sucks. I’m heart broken. But if I can say anything positive about this at all, it’s that I know that both kinds of change come with the territory of travel, and with growing as a person in general. The truth is, meaningful and life-changing things are always going to include the good, the bad and the ugly. Because only with the latter two can you appreciate all that you’ve gained.

Advertisements

Unless you’re an exceptional swimmer, there are only two real ways to cross the Baltic from Stockholm to Helsinki: hop a short 45-minute flight, or take a 17-hour boat ride. Assuming you want to make the trip over a weekend without taking extra vacation days, this is a no-brainer, right? You would obviously choose to fly because then you’d have that much more time to actually sightsee and enjoy the city. But you would be boring! Seriously where is your sense of adventure? We took the boat.

(It’s worth mentioning that there was a bit of a price difference that factored here: Flights were around $250 not including an extra $30 for the airport bus, while the round trip boat ride was only $45 each and accessible via the tunnelbana. We’re not completely retarded, we’re just cheap.)

So just how was the boat? In college, I developed a sudden and crippling fear of flying, and was too scared to book a ticket home for spring break. By relying on my powers of passive-aggressive persuasion – such as by reciting aviation disaster statistics and leaving subliminal terrorists are going to be on our plane and we’re totally going to crash hints all over the apartment – I actually managed to convince my roommate that we should take the Greyhound bus to Miami instead. From our school. In Boston. It took 27 hours each way, including a 3 AM mandatory refueling stop in Deliverance, North Carolina both directions – and suffice it to say, this boat ride wasn’t as bad as that.

But it was something. The Silja Serenade bills itself as a cruise, so I think that’s where we went wrong. Had we gone into this expecting a blinged out ferry, well then I would be singing the praises of this method of Scandinavian travel.

Hey speaking of singing, there was a show!

What you’re seeing here is some sort of motionless, bungee-trapeze rendition of Con Te Partiro that took place, unannounced, on deck 6 to the cheers of screaming drunk Norrlanders. I think Katie’s face really tells the complete story.

Among the other fun surprises on board were spacious cabins…

A bizarre “Italian” themed scarf-as-ball-gown fashion show (good thing we booked months in advance to get seats for this)…

And all the inebriated, old Norwegian men that three girls could ever hope would badger them into dancing in front of a crowd…

There was also, of course, a selection of buffet-style restaurants that ran upwards of €30 for a plate of pasta (better not to do the conversion and just eat), and a smokey casino full of whiskey-soaked karaoke and seasickness delights. Seventeen hours x 2 = 34 hours, and guess how much of that was spent sleeping? 0.2.

You’ll notice this blog was not about Helsinki at all, and that’s because we were only there for about 14 seconds when all was said and done. But stay tuned because I just might have enough photos to scrape together an ugly photo collage Helsinki edition after all!

Hey when you do laundry, do you have to reserve a day and time weeks in advance by putting a nonsensical padlock on a giant metal calendar so your neighbors can’t book the same time frame? And then on your designated day and time, do you have to drag your dirty clothes down five flights of stairs, exit the building, walk across a courtyard in the rain and then go inside a dark, tiny shed swarming with ghosts and boogiemen and creepy sounds, where the Barbie-sized washer and dryer are programmed entirely in Swedish, causing you to accidentally lock your sheets and towels in a two-hour spin cycle at 9 PM when all you really want to do is shower and go to bed? If not, then doing laundry does not suck for you. Come to the bourgie east side of Stockholm where people have real problems.

Well, that’s my bed…how do you like them apples? Who wants to visit? I think I had a roomier big girl bed when I was four, and at 5’6″ when I stand up straight, I can only fit if I curl up on my side. But you know what? It doesn’t even matter because I still haven’t slept yet. That’s right, folks – six nights and only dark circles and daydreams to show for it. I don’t think the sleep deprivation hallucinations have kicked in yet, but I had no idea this city had so many unicorns.

Hej hej vänner! It’s 3:30 AM. Or 9:30 PM – though if you asked me, it’s noon-ish. I know that relative to world travel, a six-hour time warp isn’t that big of a deal…people venture out like this all the time, and to far more distant places. But I have a knack – a talent really – for overcomplicating simple things, like going to bed. And so on the cusp of Day 4/5 in Stockholm, at 3:30/9:30/noon in the morning, I’ve decided that THIS is the right time to finally start my blog! Sadly, I’ve been without wifi for the first four days of my trip – four days of exploring and eating and drinking and GROWing, only to be distilled now into this lame intro blog in which I discuss none of those things. But I have a camera full of photos, a map full of scribbles and a (groggy) head full of memories already – so stay tuned. Circa 4 AM tomorrow I just might have a story to tell.