Naantali, Estonia, Juhannus

Juhannus is the celebration of the beginning of summer, on June 21. That’s summer solstice to you who listened in geography class. Anyway, everyone likes an excuse to have a public holiday and drink and have fun, so that’s just what we did. My friends and I got in the car and drove to Naantali, to look around. We basically ended up looking at people’s boats and taking lots of pictures and just generally being silly. But it was fun to get out of the house for a bit.

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Next stop: Estonia. No we didn’t drive, we went by ship. We had to travel to Helsinki  in order to board the ship (unnecessary stress, seeing as we have a functional harbor in Turku, but hey…), and that was the first time I got on a train in Finland. The trains here are awesome, they have free WiFi on board <side eye at the French>, so my trip was quite pleasant. When we got to Helsinki, being that we don’t quite know our way around there, we had to ask a few questions before we caught the right tram to the harbor. We got there in time, settled in for about 20 minutes before it was time to check in. We left the harbor at 21:30, and I was expecting the trip to Estonia to take about 10 hours, same as the trip to Stockholm. Apparently, I should have taken a good look at my map…Imagine my astonishment when the doors swung open at 00:00 and people started getting off. I was amazed, but continued clacking away on my phone, until this couple with kids walked up to me and the lady started speaking something in Finnish. I replied “anteeksi, en puhuu…”, and then naturally, we continued in English. She explained to me that the ship had landed in Estonia and her husband continued by saying that if I didn’t have a place to chill till morning, they could take me into their home and give me a warm bed. Aww, how sweet, I told them thanks, that I had a cabin already, but thanks.

After a bit, I went back to my cabin to sleep, and my sleep wasn’t comfortable at all, because it was a strange bed, I guess. However, the next morning, we were up bright and early because we were ‘ordered’ to leave our cabins at 7:00. Waaayy too early. We left, armed with maps, marked out places we wanted to see, and then proceeded to wander around for a bit because nowhere was open. Also, we found out that since Estonians celebrate midsummer as well, many museums would be closed to the public that day, as well as many restaurants that promised amazing food. Sigh. That bit wasn’t fun at all, but we started having fun as soon as the town came alive. Estonia has an ‘old town’, which is a charming place. We even got to eat in an old tavern, and everything in it had the 16th century look, down to the toilet. The toilet was quite…interesting, not dirty or anything but I get a little shudder whenever I remember it, so let’s skip that bit, shall we? Basically, I have to hand it to whoever did the decor for the tavern – old cow skull, dried animal hooves, traditional crockery and food, etc, and none of this was displayed in a creepy way. I was in awe (but I did spy an electric coffee maker, expertly hidden behind a wooden thingy). Oh and the food was really cheap too <fist pump> 😀

For lunch, we grabbed a bite at McDonald’s (and after eating, we forgot to take out our trays, we just left them on the table and only remembered after we were long gone. Sheesh. They must think we’re <insert tactless adjective>), saw more awesome places, bought souvenirs and took pictures – which reminds me, I didn’t buy any souvenirs in Stockholm <tears> -, and then we had to race back to the ship so that we wouldn’t be left behind. Made it in time, and got back to Helsinki in time for our train too (with 7 minutes to spare). By the time we got back to Turku, it was 23:00, and I was exhausted. Exhausted but happy.

Okay I’m tired of typing, plus it’s time for me to eat dinner and continue being lazy. Bye.

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