Stockholm to Rauma, Finland

July 1, 2007

Departure day for Rauma. Having checked out of the hotel this morning, we piled all of our luggage in a locker at the Central Station, since the ferry to Turku, Finland doesn't leave until 8 pm and we wanted to be more efficient than is our normal wont. We wandered around Stockholm all day. We went to the museum of antiquities, and it was extremely interesting, though now I need to buy a book to read more about this entire part of the world.

I think that the highlight for us was the Vasa Museum. The Vasa was a Swedish Warship launched in the late 1600s, headed for Portugal and the Swedish king's navy, and it promptly sunk just outside Stockholm proper without ever seeing battle. It was raised 333 years later, and is undergoing restoration. A very interesting museum, with an old lightship and old ice breaker also part of the exhibits. For Peter, it was a "two-fer"; two very interesting exhibits which meant he happily wandered about for most of the day.

I realize that I am shamefully ignorant about too much of European history. We took the underground to the museums, and several buses to get us to various places, and we returned to the Central Station in time to catch the bus to the Viking Ferry terminal.

The ferry is HUGE. Peter just couldn't imagine that so many people would be taking the ferry to Finland every day! We had signed up for the buffet dinner, which was served as soon as we boarded the ferry and stashed our luggage in our stateroom. What a mad dash for the food it was, with seemingly the entire roster of passengers competing for the head of the line. The ticket seemed to say that we had an 8 pm seating, and 30 minutes to eat. I don't know what it really said, but clearly my interpretation was wrong, fortunately. Never having been on a cruise ship, it was only later that I was told that the buffet was set up like most cruise ships' buffets. I wasn't particularly impressed with the quality of the cooking, but there was certainly lots of food.

The stateroom was a 4-person room because all the 2-berth staterooms were already booked. I'm glad that we didn't have a choice, because the 2-berthers must have been very small, considering the size of the 4-berth one.

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