Sunday bloody Sunday

Trip Start Apr 14, 2010
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16
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Trip End Apr 16, 2011


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Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In a bid to get to St Petersburg before our Interrail tickets run out we headed south through Sweden into Finland. After a night in a random industrial town in northern Sweden (where we did at least find a sports bar to watch the first England game of the World Cup and, no doubt along with most of the UK, groan at Robert Green) we tried to head on to Finland.  In this part of the Baltic the passenger trains no longer run so this meant a two bus-one train combo to get to our destination of Kuopio.

Except that we'd forgotten it was Sunday.  The first bus went to plan and our European rail timetable assured us there was a connecting bus even on Sunday but after 2 hours in a bus station outside (of course) Ikea in the Swedish border town we were forced to admit that the connecting bus was not going to show up, and there were no others scheduled to run that day.  So instead we found ourselves, along with another guy from our bus (who had the most amazing mullet), shouldering our bags and walking the 1km over the Swedish-Finnish border to the bus stop in Finland. No Ikea here, but unfortunately no buses either. We expected this in Albania but in Scandinavia?!  In the end Gordon bravely volunteered to cross back into Sweden to get the taxi we’d seen there, returning with Lars the driver who was a huge football fan and chortled to himself merrily on the way down over Green’s blunder.  50€ later and we made our train with 5 minutes to spare but at least weren’t stuck on the border!

We headed down through Finland, starting in slightly bored amazement out of the window as hour after hour of very flat forests and lakes sailed past;  it didn’t take very long before the novelty of this wore off a little. The 200m hill in Kuopio counts as a veritable mountain in these parts, complete with 75m lift up a tower (in the middle of a forest of course) at the top to give views of, you guessed it, more lakes and forests.

Our final European stop before we head into Russia was Helsinki for a couple of days of camping and strolling round the city in the sunshine.  We can’t believe the first 2 months has gone so quickly and that we’re leaving Europe already!
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