Sunday, 31 August 2014

Experience: Rosella to Mariehamn and back

This is the 3rd part of a trip report; The whole story can be found under the tag I Must Travel Otherwise I'll Die 2014; First part can be read here.
Straight after leaving the Grace, I left my suitcase in one of the lockers at the terminal and rushed to the center of Stockholm. There I searched for the Viking Line office and some 20 minutes before the bus I found it and bought the ticket. After finishing at the office I went straight to the bus station and got on the Viking Line bus that took me to Kapellskär. The ride wasn't too long, especially because I had never been outside Stockholm and the landscape of Sweden is quite interesting. The wait for the ship after arriving at Kapellskär harbour wasn't too long either and soon enough I found myself on board the oldest ship of Viking Line, the Rosella. She entered service in 1980 and has been in the Viking Line fleet for her entire career, having served the longest time and the most routes in the history of the company. They've replaced her and even tried to sell her many times, first in 1987, but each time something has happened that resulted in the Rosella staying.

Kapellskär harbour
Rosella arriving in Kapellskär
One of the several staircases. Compared to the average ferry I'm used to, the passageways were quite wide. 

I didn't take many interior photos. The ship is quite small and not very luxurious. Although this picture doesn't show it, the Fun Club is on two decks, there is an opening above the stage and the dance floor.
Mandatory funnel picture
Sundeck and Patria Seaways
Patria Seaways connects Paldiski in Estonia to Kapellskär. 
Finneagle had departed a bit before us but we were running faster, therefore we passed her soon enough. 
Cinderella sailing from Mariehamn to Stockholm
Showing her fancy stripes she got during her last docking in January, shortly after I sailed on her.
Birka Stockholm (also known as just Birka), operated by Birka Cruises, which is a sister company to Eckerö Line. 
She also serves the Stockholm-Mariehamn cruise route.
Sun deck, which proved to be a great place for a secret power nap...
... right after a yummy brunch at the Bistro Buffet, which was necessary after I forgot to take my pre-ordered takeaway breakfast from the Grace. Despite the fancy alarm I still woke up an hour later than intended, therefore I was quite in a hurry. Back on topic - the chefs on board sure like to use salt.
Shortly after arriving in Mariehamn

After disembarking I had some 5 hours to kill in Mariehamn, which was well enough, because Mariehamn is not exactly the big lively city I imagine when someone says "capital", even though it actually is the capital of Åland. Mariehamn is a small and lovely city. My experience shows that they probably don't get too many non-Swedish tourists, or maybe I look somehow Swedish, because I was always greeted in Swedish. Almost every store in Mariehamn had a clothes rack or several outside, and as if that's not weird enough, a few of those stores had close to no clothes inside. I spent my day walking and looking around, buying a thing or two and a lunch. I was most impressed by a store that sold 3D printers and -pens. I saw said machines in action and even got to try a 3D pen. Unfortunately, I failed to produce anything worth keeping, so I bought my mother a pair of 3D printed star shaped earrings instead. 

Just the usual street in Mariehamn vol 1
Mariehamn city hall
A signpost showing nautical miles
Picture taken from the doorstep of a store
3D printer in action
A 3D printed shoe, anyone?
View of the whole store
Just the usual street in Mariehamn vol 2
Sankt Göran's church
For some reason I have a thing for sacral architecture...
... and chandeliers
And what's a church without a.... ship?

After several hours of walking around in the city I returned to the harbour a bit early and used the waiting time to educate myself on the political status of Åland with the help of a random brochure and yet another power nap, which was much needed after a nearly sleepless night on the Grace. After boarding I met my friends Nelly and Marcus who were doing a cruise and had a cabin. Most of the return journey was spent playing card games and fooling around all over the ship. The ship was much more crowded than before, mostly by elderly people. We were probably the youngest and definitely the noisiest on board. 
Rosella doesn't have stabilizers, which means that she's close to doing barrel rolls even in calm seas, but during our return journey it was quite windy and the ship was swaying a lot. Our gang found that the best time to go to the sun deck in front of the bridge, especially since the weather was actually sunny and nice. Pictures aren't the best way to show exactly how windy it was, so I'll say I had to pull my shirt down every two seconds. 

Nelly and Ville a bit before I joined
Splish splash
At our very best in front of the bridge
After disembarking in Kapellskär the whole ship full of people were squeezed into buses and we returned to Stockholm. When I returned to the terminal in Stockholm to pick up my suitcase I was surprised to discover that the terminal was long closed. With the help of my overthinking brain I was in for another nearly sleepless, not to mention suitcase-less night.

Next post - Stockholm & Amorella

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