Friday, January 3, 2014

Booze Cruising to Estonia

We arrived in Helsinki late, after 17+ hours of travel, then easily grabbed the airport shuttle (no reservations required and only 6€ each) for the 30 minute ride into town, and walked the short distance after being dropped off at the central train station, to the Omena Hotel.

The Omena Hotels are a comfortable chain where you take care of yourself without the assistance of a front desk staff, room service, etc. They text you a door code and room number 24 hours before arrival, and you use that for the front door, elevator, and room door code.

Our room was large and slightly resembled a cabin on a ship, complete with table and booth seating. It was clean and comfortable also, and the perfect place to crash since we went to bed at 1am and got up at 7am to catch an early ferry to Tallinn. After meeting Forest & Thibault for a quick nightcap at the nearby American Bar we called it a night.

We boarded our ship around 8am for a 9am sailing and the common areas were already full, mainly of octogenarians drinking and dancing to a very loud live band. Did I mention it was 8am?

The crossing was quite rough which made it hard to walk around, but these grannies were waltzing and fox trotting all over the place. Most tables were crowded with pint glasses of beer, some of these with folks looking a bit green around the gills. Besides partying it up as the big draw of the sailing to Estonia, there is the opportunity to do some duty free booze shopping, as the price of liquor in Finland is very high. The shops were busy with folks snatching up cases of beer and 10-bottle packs of vodka. We focused our efforts on gin & rum- nothing unusual to be found but larger & cheaper options than in the Alko stores in Helsinki & in Lapland.

The ship serves a pretty decent buffet breakfast, there are two seatings, one at 8:30 and one at 10:30, but We hadn't booked in advance and the first seating was full. We grabbed a quick snack in a small cafe and then watched the dancing until our reservation was ready in the main dining room.

2 1/2 hours later we docked for an overnight in Estonia, my 34th country on my 45th birthday.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Tallinn, Estonia

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