Trying to leave

[this and the previous post kind of overlap timewise a bit – I was tapping this all up from memory!]

I now needed to figure out a way of getting west. I’d looked at the ferry, but that got me into Rostock at 10pm after a 25-hour journey. Not much use as I don’t know anyone in Rostock and didn’t have time to arrange anything. The price wasn’t too bad, though I’d have needed to load up on food for the long journey. Meal prices on board weren’t cheap.

So that left flying and having to resort to the loathed RyanAir. Who, I discovered, would not let me book a ticket for same-day travel unless I rang them direct (at a cost of €silly per minute). Especially annoying as the flight I was looking at didn’t take off until almost midnight so it was almost the next day anyway.

End result was that I had to book a flight on the Monday night instead of the Sunday. And from an airport 2 hours away. And into Frankfurt-Hahn, which itself is 2 hours’ from Frankfurt. Fortunately I already know of a good hostel there. And I’d be arriving around the same time as Hans would be coming in from Darfur, which would be a bonus – and a surprise for him!

Of course, this meant an extra night in Helsinki. After some discussion and checking of maps, it was decided that heading to Mike’s again would make more sense. He lives just off the main road that turns into the highway to Rovaniemi. A short tram ride a few stops north would be an ideal place to hitch, so Mike invited me over and I said my goodbye’s to Tiina.

That evening, Mike and I struggled to find anywhere open where we could watch Italy v Spain, but eventually located Bar 99 down the road from his. When we ordered our beer, Mike asked if they could turn up the volume a little on the TV, but the reply was negative. “Sorry, we have music on so I can’t really. It is all finished anyway.”

We looked confused. Kickoff had been 10 minutes earlier. “Finished?”

“Yes, finished. All the commentary is in finished.”


With quarter of an hour or so of the game gone, we nabbed a couple of comfy seats and settled back. In fairness, the music wasn’t bad. You can tell Finland has a much better musical culture than the UK when even a regular bar has AC/DC and Iron Maiden on the music loop.

Partway through the second half, a rather drunk guy asked if he could use one of the other spare seats as he was waiting for his friend. We politely said yes, and the guy spent about 10 minutes staring at Mike. Rather unnerving.

Eventually his friend appeared who was even more drunk and kept falling asleep in his seat, in between trying to make conversation in very drunken English. I had to act as translator as Mike’s New York-ian ear couldn’t quite get the gist of drunken Finglish. All very strange.

Our new friends left one by one just as the bat was calling last orders. Unfortunately the game had gone into extra time and we were kicked out (very politely, by the nice lady who was in charge) at midnight with the second half of extra time to go.

No worries, Mike has a Slingshot box in the US which forwards TV down his internet connection.

Only the wireless signal he uses in the apartment was FUBAR, so we couldn’t get online. And the neighbour who’s connection he uses (with permission) wouldn’t be up at midnight so we couldn’t get the router rebooted.

Eventually, we picked up another signal for long enough to watch Italy get hoofed out on penalties. Shortly after, that signal vanished as well. We resorted to that old method of communication – talking. Mike had managed to Skype his sister before the connection was dropped. A good thing as she’s just given him his first “blood” nephew (his others are from step-siblings), and Mike’s over the moon about it!

So with plans in place for the next day, I zipped myself into my sleeping bag and pondered about how I was going to swap all my luggage around to fit in with the blooming 15kg weight limit…

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