I’m never going to get any sleep, am I?! Cursed! Cursed I am to spend this month wide awake like a teething baby. Ah well. I somehow managed to struggle free from my bunk after a microscopic amount of shuteye; and furthermore I managed to jump in a taxi to the port for the crack o’ dawn ferry to Finland.
Talk about 24-hour party people! The Finnish and Swedish onboard had turned the ship into a floating Valhalla for the sole purpose of getting as drunk as humanly possible. The cabin corridors looked like student digs and reeked of booze. Everyone who attempted to speak to me fell over before they could finish their sentence. Most of the people on board hadn’t even got off the boat when it got into Stockholm – they were just going to Sweden and back to get rotten and have a party.
Now, being a kind of travelling version of Keith Floyd, I would have, under normal circumstances, manoeuvred myself into a position which would have seen me joining in with the festivities – dancing on the ceiling, showing strangers my appendix scar etc., but today it was all catching up to me and I crashed out in a particularly uncomfortable chair.
By the time I was back in the land of the living, I was possibly the only sober person on board. After desperately trying to organise somewhere to kip for the night (everywhere was fully booked in Helsinki), we reached the port of Turku at 7pm. All in all, a bit of bad timing – the train to Helsinki left at 7:45pm, getting in at 10pm, but the last boat of the day over the water to Tallinn in Estonia leaves at 10 also, so there is no chance of making the connection.
I had finally found somewhere to stay for the night, but I didn’t have a CLUE where it was – the lady who ran the hostel said something about an island. Now, there was another Backpackers on a sort-of island to the east of the city, so I assumed it would be close to there. So I walked. And walked. And walked.
The fine, clear spring day had given way to a frosty cold night and the chills were running down my back legs (as opposed to my front legs, of course). I finally got to the Backpackers listed in the Baloney Planet, when I found out that no, the lady had meant an island, a proper one called Suommelina – one that you had to get a boat to reach. By now it was past eleven. Luckily, the ferry runs once and hour until 2am, so I headed down to the harbour and waited.
The island is a UNESCO world heritage site, an old fort from back in the bad old days when Sweden and Russia liked nothing more than to knock seven shades of crap out of each other every bank holiday weekend. The youth hostel was sparse, but more than adequate. Got chatting with a bunch from Spain who had fallen into the same trap as me – all the other hostels being full. Cabron!