They'll start the party with a heave-ho me hearty!
Trip Start Jun 02, 2009
39Trip End Aug 10, 2009
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I arrived in Rostock last night around midnight, after a 24 hour ferry ride from Helsinki, Finland. Unfortunately, the ferry left from a terminal in Helsinki that was....well, not in Helsinki, but rather some 20 kilometers outside of the city. After taking the metro out to the last stop, the information centre lady told me to take "any number 90 bus". What she should have said was "any number 90 bus BUT the actual numbre 90". Dutifully catching the bus, I realized things weren't right when I noticed we were going away from the sea into a birch-forested poor looking suburb. It was also right around then that I realized the ticket I had wasn't even valid for the suburbs. So, there I was, riding around on the wrong bus without a valid ticket
no more. 50,000. Russian forces completely surround the city. Artillery and
Airpower turn the city into rubble.''
We found our seats in the hold of the ship, and kept talking. We were in the elevetor with a young guy about my age, who also began speaking Russian. I could tell that he was an English speaker and I asked him where he was from. It turns out that he was an American who had just finished a month of studies at the Smolny institute in St Petersburg, which is where I studied two years ago. We spent most of the evening in the bar and out on deck, discussing Russia and our future aspirations, including his of becoming an antique book collector-writer-crepe maker in Paris after he finishes his studies in philisophy.
The ferry itself was quite nice and had a snack bar where we got most of our food. The crossing was perfectly calm, and for most of the trip, there was no land in sight. We were completely and utterly surrounded by water. At one point, as we stood on the deck under the stars, the American commented, 'We could be in the middle of the Atlantic...there's nothing here to tell us where we are
Oh Captain, Art Thou Sleeping There Below?
Eventually at midnight, we decided to go to bed. Being in steerage class, all we had were seats, and they were mighty uncomfortable. Lena had a sleeping bag, and had offered to let me sleep with her on the floor, but by the time I got to bed, she was already asleep and I thought it rude to wake her, although I later caught her sitting up and staring at me, as if wondering if I was asleep yet and if it would be possible to talk to me. I nudged over to my seat, stepping on what, in the dark, looked like a pile of rope. Funny, I thought. I don't remember that rope being there earlier. That would be because it wasnt rope, but somebody's hippie head, which was connected to a hippie body that was none to happy about being stepped upon. Unfortunately, I saw this person again at my hostel. Luckily, we weren't in the same room or else he might have exacted revenge. I spent the next four hours rumbling and turning around, trying to get comfortable. Finally, at 4 in the morning, I tried lying on the floor, but was freezing cold and gave up and went back to my seat.
The next day passed uneventfully. Lena, the American and I spent most of the time together, telling jokes and talking about Russia and our homes. I ended up translating quite a bit, which was a nice little bit of practice, as Lena spoke very little English but was eager to talk.
That evening, as we pulled into Rostock harbour, Lena could hardly contain her excitement. Although she had travelled before, this was her first time travelling alone, and she was going to see some friends from Russia whom she hadn't seen for two years. They met at the terminal, and I walked by quickly, just to say goodbye to her. She grabbed me and told her friend to help me, which she did, after giving me a flower and some fruit. Although their car was too small, after some discussion in German and Russian, they found me a taxi, and some Finns joined me on the ride. They got out earlier and paid the bulk of the fare, so instead of paying 25 euros, I ended up paying only 3.
The hostel worked out well - shared a room with a Danish mother and her two children. Leaving shortly for the train station with the hopes of getting on a train to Berlin. Auf Wiedersehn!