Gluttony / Day 38 of 64 / 16 June
- Helsinki, Finland
- Viking Line M/S Gabriella to Stockholm, Sweden
Sadly, it’s my last day in Helsinki. In just two days, I’ve really grown to love this city and its people. The city feels good for the soul: it’s almost like there’s a hidden tempo in Helsinki that I’ve latched on to. There’s a sense of social warmness here: a super-glue bond, formed through a combined effort to endure that Helsinki remains as an affront to the harsh and cold Baltic weather. But, I cannot remain here: my ferry for Stockholm leaves today.
After waking up, I had breakfast at the hostel. My first and only place of interest for the day would be the National Museum of Finland [Kansallismuseo]. I reached the museum at 11am.
Passing by Senate Square on my way to the museum.
The National Museum provides a pretty comprehensive overview of Finland’s history. The museum begins with pre-history when Finland was still covered by the 2km thick Scandinavian Ice Sheet. Then, there’s an area dedicated to the arrival of the first Nordic peoples and the lifestyles they adopted. After that, there’s insight into how the political landscape of the Middle Ages spurred the development of the egalitarian Finnish culture. Finally, the museum reflects on recent events in Finnish society, such as the country’s 1980s economic crash. One thing that I admired about the museum was the frank and open tone of the exhibits. The museum definitely did not shy away from darker parts of the country’s history, such as the emergence of certain far-right movements in the early days of Finnish independence. Only by keeping alive the memory of such events are we able to prevent them from ever happening again. “Wallpapering” history can only lead to the same mistakes being made.
I left the museum at around 12.30pm and decided to have lunch at Market Square. I ordered a salmon platter, which was clearly meant for two, and finished the entire dish in about fifteen minutes. History makes me hungry.
After lunch, I headed back to the hostel where I relaxed and did some blog writing until 4pm. My ferry was leaving at 6pm, and boarding would begin at 4.30pm. I reached the Katajanokka Terminal just slightly after 4.30pm and waited to board my ferry to Stockholm (Viking Line M/S Gabriella, vikingline.com, 113 EUR/177 SGD/pax).
At 5.30pm, the gates finally opened and us passengers could finally board the ferry. By the time I arrived in my cabin, it was 6pm, and the ferry began leaving the terminal.
The M/S Gabriella, like other ferries that ply the Baltic Sea, is big. It sort of resembles a smaller cruise ship. On board, there are at least three restaurants, a cafe, a nightclub, and a tax-free department store. Much like on a cruise, there are activities lined up for passengers that will keep them entertained for most of the sixteen-hour journey to Stockholm.
Shopping centre or ferry?
I was starving, so I decided to splurge a bit and had dinner at the famous Viking Line buffet. Suffice to say, the buffet wasn’t exactly cheap. But, for the price I paid, I was allowed to eat and drink as much as I could for a whole two and a half hours. Furthermore, a free flow of beer and wine was included in the price, so I made sure to thoroughly enjoy my time at the buffet, of course. My “tactic” was to eat till I felt slightly full, then I’d stop and sip on some beer and wait for the food to digest before going back for more servings. In the end, I spent almost the full two and a half hours at the buffet. Gluttony is delicious but slightly expensive.
Stuffed like a taxidermied animal, I headed back to my cabin to knock out for the night. Food comas are wonderful for getting some amazing sleep.
It was definitely not a good idea to wear admin tee and admin shorts out onto the open deck.