27 Sep 2007

Racing to Vaasa

Posted by walterheck

The next morning I woke up at 6:30 and silently got up to start packing, I wanted to be on the road as soon as possible to try to make the 10:30 train, or the 13:00 train (latest possibility to attend the meeting). Philippe got up a little later and decided that he wanted to give me a ride to Rovaniemi to drop me on the train and drop some battery off at a friend’s place. I politely accepted. This gave us a little more time, so we had a cup of tea to properly wake up.

We left in time to catch the train. At least, that’s what we thought. When we got to the train station at 10:25 or so, it turned out the train was leaving 10:15 and not at 10:30 as we thought. All the rushing for nothing 🙁 The next train wasn’t leaving until 13:00.

I decided to treat Philippe to breakfast since we now had some time to kill. Since Philippe wasn’t very familiar with Rovaniemi and having breakfast out the door is not very common we decided to go to a lunchroom connected to a gas station. We had some breakfast and then decided to go drop off the battery at Philippe’s friend’s place. While driving there, Philippe got a business call and he needed to use the internet for a while. I played with the cats (Doerak, I miss you!) for a while and after 15 minutes we left to put me back on the train.

Halfway to the train station I noticed my phone was missing. Fuck! We went back to the lunchroom as that was the last place we had seen it, but it wasn’t there. Philippe called his friend to ask her to look around and luckily she found it. We drove back there (me being ashamed 😉 ) and picked up the phone. Then we made our third attempt at reaching the train station and catching the train. This time we made it and I got on the train with all my stuff actually with me 😉

The 8 hour train ride to Vaasa was quite boring unfortunately. Finland is quite flat like Holland and full of forests. I guess I was just spoiled with Norway for the last three weeks 🙂

On the train I updated my blog, watched a movie, read my mail and of course slept a considerable amount of time.

Around 21.00 I arrived in Vaasa, just in time for the meeting. I contacted Marianne, my CS contact, to ask her where to go. Luckily the pub was literally a 5 minute walk from the train station. When I got there, there was only one group that was bigger than two people, so I just walked up to them and asked if they were the couchsurfers. They looked at me like I was speaking Chinese to them, so I guessed they were not 🙂

I got myself a beer and sat down in a strategically good position so I could see who entered the pub. There was some sports playing on a large screen, so I had some distraction from just staring. After a while Marianne found me and I met her, her sister Susanne and fellow CS’er Samuli. We sat down and started the meeting. About 5 more people showed up during the night and we had some good fun. This was my first non-Tiina (sorry Tiina 😉 ) encounter with the Finnish stereotype that people start talking way more after a couple of drinks. I would get to see a lot more of that in the coming days 🙂

One of the guys that showed up was known as ‘the swinger guy’. Apparently, at a meeting a couple of weeks ago, there were these guys that were interested in this rather large group of English speaking people that seemed to have fun. When they asked, the surfers told them they were swingers and one thing led to the other. Apparently no one ever told them that this was not true (CS is _not_ a dating site 😉 ) so he still believed it. Over the course of the evening I think he slowly figured out the truth as he signed up for couchsurfing the next day 🙂

After a few hours in the irish pub, we decided it would be fun to go to a karaoke bar. Unfortunately the bar was closed, so we went to the shabby bar next door. We played a couple of games of pool and then decided to call it a night.

I also met my host for the night, Marianna (not to be confused with Marianne) and her friend Kaisa who also stayed the night at her place. She happened to live close by, so we were home rather quickly. I put down my stuff, lay down on the couch and I think I was sleeping before my head even hit the couch.

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3 Responses to “Racing to Vaasa”

  1. Hope you hung out a bit in the restaurant car on your way from Rovaniemi to Vaasa! It is a rather interesting experience… I believe even during the daytime.. 🙂
    And although I can’t quite agree with you about the scenery being boring (I always get really nostalgic feelings about it..) I agree it’s not the best Finland has to offer.. But what about the fjälls in Lapland? Didn’t you see any of them? And the thousands of lakes (in the Eastern part) are just amazing. And you will still get to see the sea with the cliffs. Wait a minute, am i just defending my country although it was not really attacked..? 😉
    Anyway: Have fun over in Finland!!! I fell a bit homesick now and wish I could be there too…



  2. Dude!

    Good to read all these interesting stories about your journey around the world in 80 years.

    Life down here is thriving and thrilling like always with work, lots of homework, more work, school and still more work…couldn’t be happier! 🙂

    Actually I am currently (re)listening all my “favorite” Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish Black Metal albums. So far I’m still not sure whether it would be easier to sell all the crap that’s populating my media collection or just hang myself. Basically I should choose the last option since I actually bought all this “shite” somehow. But I’ll let you know when I’ve made my decision. 😉

    Well, take care and enjoy your Polar Trip!




  3. Wanneer ga je alles aan de ketting leggen? Je tas, je bril en je telefoon? Je bent pas een maand onderweg (maar ik mis je al wel!)