Despite the thrill of sailing right into the harbour at Helsinki with Silja line and the inconvenience of having to travel to Turku to catch the Viking line ferry, I thought the Viking one was better – or at least my cabin was. For a start, it wasn’t situated away down under the car decks. Instead it was on deck 8 – there were 11 or 12 decks altogether – and had its own porthole. No, kindle fire auto-correct, it definitely didn’t have any potholes. My only regret was not being able to spend longer enjoying this, as it arrived in Stockholm at around 6.30 a.m. I suppose some people had the stamina to stay up late enjoying the restaurants, spas, casinos and shopping facilities, but not me. I was in my cabin quite early on, trying to work out how to switch off the cute little lights round the porthole. Of course there was so much daylight anyway that extra little lights made very little difference. I had sort of planned to take a bus tour during my five hours in Stockholm, but the most I managed was an extremely short stroll round the town hall and an hour or two in almost the same place I had sat on Sunday. The weather was similarly pleasant too.
I wasn’t too far from Stockholm central station, so I had no trouble getting back there with the statutory two hours to spare before my train time. It’s only an hour for UK trains. But on this trip I have often needed extra time to work out how to open luggage lockers, to make sure I have the right currency and attempt to buy suitable refreshments – in this case a power bar with yogurt and Apple and approximately five pounds of sugar, a giant twix in case that wasn’t enough sugar, and a banana. Then of course I have to find my way to the platform, usually so far from the station concourse that I’m extremely glad the relevant authorities seem to be able to decide on which train departs from which platform hours beforehand, unlike the people who run King’s Cross and Edinburgh Haymarket, to name but two stations I know well. Note added later: this last point is not of course applicable to Deutsche Bahn, but more on that in my next post.