Countless are the times that I have travelled by boat. I come from an island and for a long time the only way to get a glimpse of civilisation was by taking the ferry to the mainland (the mainland being located a few hours away by boat). As countless are the hours that I have spent in the cafeterias and bars, looking at people, listening to them, being inspired by them. Yes, I am that quiet person in the corner, what you say might be recounted later – in some other time, and in another place, than where the original story was whispered, shouted, cried out, narrated.
Today the cafeteria is not that full, but there are some people here. One man talking on the phone (to his wife?) while telling the person on the other side of the line about his day. He has a typical Finnish accent. There are also a lot of young men (and surprisingly few women) – they all look very typically Nordic. Blonde, medium-height. Funny accent (not a typically Nordic characteristic). Most people drink beer and have a late dinner. There are some children playing, and someone is talking about skagenröra. Google Translate tells us that skagenröra is mayonnaise – in fact, it is more than mayonnaise, it’s prawn salad. The Swedish kind that you have on toast or with baked potatoes. Do not trust GT on this one!
There are 323 people on board. And I’m on my way to the Åland Islands and I will be there in less than two hours. Going abroad from Sweden (and back) will cost you 50 SEK (that is approximately 5 €). You hop on the bus in the Stockholm Central Station (actually, avoid that place on Fridays if you can – it will drive you crazy, unless someone runs you over first!). The bus takes you to the port, where the boat is waiting. In less than two hours you will be in a new country. During that hour and a half, you can drink beer, have something to eat, or just sit here and observe people. You can also pay a visit to the duty free shop. I’m quite happy eavesdropping on some Polish people – lovely language, that one, but they could really try to mind their vocabulary.
Practical trips: there are three main shipping companies you can use to get to the Åland Islands. See the links at the end of this post for those. From the Åland Islands, it’s possible to continue your journey to Finland or Estonia, unless you want to stay there or return to Sweden.
People are fairly calm here. The buzz is relaxing, and most of my co-travellers seem to be happy about wherever it is that they may be going. I’m going to visit my parents and eat a lot of delicious Finnish bread. And in less than two days, I will be back in Sweden again.
Considering the amount of snow outside, you might not blame me for dreaming back to another boat trip…
By Boat On The Baltic Sea
Are you interested in travelling by boat (we are talking passenger ferries, really) across the Baltic Sea?
Take a look at the following pages
- Eckerölinjen (Åland <-> Sweden) (Helsinki <-> Tallinn) >>
- Vikingline (all major routes) >>
- Tallink Silja (all major routes) >>