July 16, 2002
plan of record was to head north to Stockholm, spend there a day or two, and then take
the ferry to Helsinki. The drive from Gedser to Stockholm was very smooth and
quick, and already at noon we arrived in Stockholm. The first order business was
to find a hotel. However, it seemed that there are either no hotels in
Stockholm, or they are very well hidden, like in Brussels. Finally we checked in
at the Globen hotel, right by the Globen stadium, also conveniently located by
the subway. From there the second priority was to get a ferry ticket to
Helsinki. But no such luck: all ferries to Helsinki and vicinity were sold out
for the four coming days. This was quite a blow to our plans, and I was
childishly grumpy because I wanted to go to Finland; if you look at the map
then you'll see that by ferry is about the only way if you also want to see
With the bad news in the back of our heads we walked around Stockholm for a while, seeing the old part of Gamla Stan and surrounding areas. We then took a boat ride around the canals -- at how many locations can you take a boat ride starting at 20:00 that goes for two hours until sunset? The light was wonderful for some pictures, and our feet were happy to get a break.
At a crisis meeting later in the hotel we decided that we could reverse our trip and go to Norway first, and then return through Finland. Unfortunately we lost about two days through this detour, and also it is very difficult to guess how long the trip to Tromso and back to Helsinki will take. I just know that it takes longer than one thinks, so we booked the ferry for the afternoon of the 28th. I thought that was a very conservative estimate which may give us some extra time in Helsinki, but this is a vacation and not a race, as I noted, so the 28th it was.