At this point it should be pretty obvious why I’ve been stalling on posting the Helsinki ugly photo collage. As I mentioned last week, we spent that entire weekend trapped on a floating mall food court just traveling to and from Finland, so we were only actually there long enough for me to take 11 pictures — and they’re all terrible. But I’m a girl of my word, and I promised you this, so here. Take it. (Yes, it’s a mini version.) Just please promise me you’ll form your opinion of Helsinki from a way better source than this hot mess.
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!
And just like that, it’s November. I know. I can’t believe it either, but just to prove it, my landlords back home deducted rent from my checking account this morning, so it’s for real, folks. It’s the final countdown.
I have a few topical and amusing things from this weekend that I should definitely blog about before I forget them, but I’m going to be totally honest – I’m not really feeling it tonight. So I’ll jot down some of those stories tomorrow-ish, and in the mean time I will leave you with another installment of the ugly photo collage. That’s right, they’re back! You thought I had done away with these because they’re lame and you have to squint really hard just to see what’s in each one, but the truth is I just forgot all about them. And, in the process, I lost three full weeks of my-life-in-pictures. I’ll never get those memories back, and the world will always have to wonder, but wait, what did week seven look like?? – but there’s nothing I can do about that now. We all have to just move forward from here.
Take it away, Stockholm: Week Nine-ish!
Annnnd, without further ado…the ugly photo collage: Prague edition is here! And well worth the wait, eh? Yep. These just get better and better.
This week’s ugly photo collage is brought to you by Riga, Latvia – the historic Baltic capital I just explored this week. More on that soon…
It’s a little weird to be posting the highly anticipated Stockholm: Week Three ugly photo collage recap tonight, because that means I’ve already entered Week Four of this whole adventure, and that’s impossible. I just got here. In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s been a mix-up with the dates, and I’d like to speak with someone in charge. I only came into this thing with 13 weeks to play with, and I’m supposed to believe I’ve already used a quarter of of it? No! I’m not fluent yet, I haven’t eaten nearly enough meatballs, and I still look the same (ok yes, a very small part of me thought I might look taller and little more European by this point, or at the very least have stopped dressing like an American college kid…UGG boots and faded jeans to the office today, Reagan? really?). I can’t go back yet.
Interestingly, though, my bank account makes a convincing argument that it’s time to go home. This is probably why they don’t let us stay longer…I’ve already been reduced to eating Swedish cup-o-noodles for lunch twice this week, because even that is like $27 a packet – and, this being a particularly desperate weekend between paychecks, if I want coffee tomorrow (and who are we kidding? yes, I’ll want coffee) I’m going to have to walk the 1.8 kilometers to the office cappuccino machine. On a Saturday. I dare you to think of something sadder you’ll be doing this weekend than that.
Now, without further ado…Stockholm: Week Three!
In the spirit of last week’s really unremarkable and kind of sad-looking photo collage, I’m proud to present to you, Internet…
Stockholm: Week Two*!
* Now with 43% more pictures!
I think I’m really improving…
Some people are just born creative: designers, painters, photographers, illustrators, each inherently understanding – from their very first breath – good design, composition, aesthetics and what makes a work of art work. Other people are born me. I studied art history because those who can’t do, teach, and those who can’t teach, spend a shitload of money taking artistic appreciation courses at an expensive private university. So I request that you – all four of you who read this blog, and all four of you being the annoying creative types I’m talking about – please not mock the following collage I just pieced together. It took me like a month to make this so just back off.
Behold, Stockholm: Week One…