Arrival in Rauma, crew, not boat
02/07/2007

July 2, 2007

We got off the ferry at 7:30 am Finland time, or 6:30 Stockholm time, about a ten-hour trip, most of which we slept through. We knew there was an express bus from Turku to Rauma, but when we got off the ferry we saw twenty or thirty buses with various resort destinations showing. Completely mystified, I went up to the first bus to ask what bus would take us to Rauma. He said we had to go to the bus terminal, all the buses we saw were tour buses. He sort-of pointed around the corner, and so Peter and I walked in that direction with all our luggage, only to find a bit of a dead end at the corner. I told Peter to stand guard and I'd walk the other way to see what I could find. Down the other block, the opposite direction from what had been pointed out to me, and only a few steps from that first bus, I found what looked like an abandoned railroad platform, and a bulletin board with various schedules posted. You don't have to read the language to understand a bus schedule, fortunately, and there were two buses to Rauma, one at 8:20. I quick-stepped back to get Peter and our possessions. The driver loaded our luggage underneath the bus, and I asked where I went to buy a ticket, to which he replied "later." ??? Well, his English wasn't good enough to explain further, and I certainly knew zero Finnish, so we were going to have to wait until.... later.

With few people on the bus, Peter and I each took two seats for ourselves, though all that extra room was short-lived. A young woman boarded the bus with two young children, and there was not a place on the bus with two seats together. I didn't notice the group until she had settled one little boy next to me and she sat with the younger boy, about 5 years old, next to Peter. I didn't think that sitting with a 5-year-old on her lap for close to two hours was going to make either of them happy, and certainly Peter and I could move to make her job a bit easier, so I told Peter that we should move so she could sit with her two boys. The woman then spoke up, in perfect English, with "I just asked people on the bus if anybody could move so we could sit together, and nobody offered. But that's the way the Finns are." I guess she decided we looked safe, because she declined our offer to move, and she left the boys next to us and she took a seat just behind us. She was a lovely woman and her boys were very well-behaved, making our trip to Rauma very interesting and pleasant, and she gave me good walking directions to our hotel when we arrived in Rauma.

When I told her about my inability to find out how to pay for our ticket, she explained that there would be a person on the bus who would come around to take our money later. Sure enough about half an hour after we started, a woman who was already in the bus got up and collected fares from everybody.

Because she was a young woman, the distance for our new friend was not as great as it was for us with all of our luggage. By the time we got to the Hotel, Peter was tired and ready for a nap.

Who should we see sitting in the lobby when we walked in, but our friends the Goodings from another PDQ, Horizons. They had just checked into the hotel that day, having spent several days earlier in another hotel in Rauma. We were the next to the last boat owners to arrive in Rauma to wait for our boats to arrive.

As the newbies in the group, we were told and shown most of what there was in Rauma. It's quite a nice LITTLE town, and it was pleasant to wander about a bit, though we were all very anxious to get our boats and start the Baltic Adventure in earnest. Isn't this a cute bridge in a little park in town?

We all went on a day excursion to one of the islands near Rauma on a local ferry boat - drive us there, leave us for several hours, and return to bring us back. Pretty little island with a wood-fired sauna, neat tower that the adventurous can rappel down, and just a lovely day. We got a chance to familiarize ourselves with the different navigation aids, which require a bit of getting used to since they are quite different from what we are familiar with. The hardest thing is that we really have to pay attention. There are no numbers on their marks, so you need to keep a much closer track of where you are.

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