maanantai 9. tammikuuta 2017

Trip To Finland By Land & Sea (Part 1)


We have been back in France from our trip to Finland about a week now. That journey ended up taking me into some very deep waters even though it was amazing to visit my homeland again. Even now that we are back I have a strange feeling that things are taking the direction they are meant to take, but the end result will surprise even me. Am I making any sense?

Our trip to Finland took some time as we had decided to cross Europe by land and sea. We took a TGV train from Avignon early morning which took us just until Frankfurt. I must say that during this whole trip I wasn't really able to enjoy the public transport because of the fear of possible attacks. I think everybody was nervous around Christmas. It is always so heart breaking when you hope that you are afraid for nothing and...then what you feared and expected takes place (like in Berlin and later in Istanbul). I don't feel care free anymore when I travel in Europe or when I go to big events in France. But I am happy that France is really doing its best to make people feel more and more safe. Police is very active and visible everywhere and during any kind of events. Even in grocery stores there are more guards and they perform check ups of people entering.

Well, enough about that.

What made me feel also gloomy and thoughtful was the common atmosphere that I experienced in Germany. I have visited the country before and I don't remember remarking this kind of absolute coldness in the air. When we arrived to Frankfurt and were waiting for the next train we were treated only rudely and this attitude continued just until the harbor of Lübeck. Me and my husband both speak a little bit german, but I expected that at the terminal of Finnlines I could at least have service in english. I hardly received even a "hello" from the front desk staff and after few seconds it was clear we weren't going to speak english. I was baffled by the minimal amount of service she provided us. We were lost looking for the shuttle to the ship for a good time until we found the place. When we found the spot, there was no information on when the transport would arrive etc. Well, we were quite amused by the situation and the rudeness we were constantly handled with, but also after being on the go for about 15 hours it was also not that funny anymore. In France politeness is valued so much that this change of atmosphere was quite a culture shock. I remarked that the the more north you go in Europe the less small talk or basic politeness you should expect. This goes for Finland also unfortunately.

So after about 15 hours of travel through France and Germany we made it on the boat. My husband and I had opted to not take a common cabin in order to save some money. I was in a female berth with three beds and he was in a male one. We both ended up having one roommate and we were both having some great conversations in our cabins. I was with a retired finnish woman who lives most of the time in Germany and my husband shared his cabin with a finnish man who works in Germany for the European commission. He was what my husband and I jokingly (but respectfully) call a man of fine feelings. You know, someone who is a bit of a renaissance man and on the top of that has impeccable manners and a good heart. In the end of the trip he shook my hand and said: "You have a very intelligent man here". Do you know how rare a compliment like this is from a Finn?

Story of our trip shall continue soon!

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