Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Experience: Gabriella + final days

This is the 5th 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.
Shortly after my arrival in Kirkkonummi I met my friend Victor who hosted me for the next few days. It was quite a nice change from the big cities, being a very nice remote forest place. Most of the time there was relaxation at it's best with not much to do besides probably the best sauna I've ever had. One day was almost entirely spent in Serena.

Remote forest place
Inside Serena - the yellow tube slide was the best!
The weather wasn't exactly what it had been a few weeks before, but still bearable enough to go outside as well...

... so we did.

On the penultimate day of my trip I moved back to Helsinki and met up once again with Tuulia to spend some time in the city walking around, doing some little shopping and a really nice lunch. Later in the evening I had one last walk and the next morning I had to wake up early to catch Gabriella back home. Despite the efforts, it was a very close call; I made it to the harbour about 10 minutes before the departure and I was one of the very last to board.

Astor in Helsinki
Silja Serenade, same place
Balmoral, Brilliance of the Seas and a bit of MSC Poesia in the West Harbour
Mandatory funnel picture
Not-so mandatory mast picture
Linda Line's fast catamaran Karolin approaching...
... some minutes later, the Finnish Border Guard's patrol ship Turva followed. She's the first patrol vessel in the world powered by LNG and the 2nd such ship to enter service in Finland, first being the Viking Grace.

Under the bridge. I quite enjoyed the colouring of the sundeck. 
Ella's Italian-American Restaurant
The fun club on the Gabriella was almost exactly the same as the fun club on her sister Amorella
Staircase art on the remote deck 11
Met the Finlandia closer to Tallinn
Quite a contrast between the weather in Helsinki (left) and the weather in Tallinn (right)
Soon after we entered the wall of thick fog surrounding Tallinn, Baltic Queen appeared, heading to Helsinki. She had replaced the Silja Europa some weeks before.

The weather in Tallinn really was bad; Gabriella's windows are not the clearest thing in the world either. Superstar departing and Marina.

Europa at the "Baby pier"
Marco Polo and Marina
Costa Fortuna coming in about 20 hours early again; the itinerary was probably changed after the cruise ship schedules were published.

Viking XPRS after freeing her spot for Gabriella.

The movement was necessary, because the gangways over the pier to the right are being rebuilt, therefore Viking XPRS had to free her spot for the short time Gabriella needed it.

But hey, who needs gangways anyway, right?

This crossing also marks that I've travelled on every Viking Line ship currently in service. My favourite is definitely the Viking Grace; I may write a separate post about the company when the time is right. I'd also like to give a million thanks to Tuulia, Inkeri, Nelly, Marcus, Steven, Victor and everyone else who made this trip what it was, including every single one of the wonderful people I first met during the trip. If any of you happen to be reading this by any chance, I encourage you to contact me. I wouldn't trade this amazing experience for anything at all and I really hope I can return to some of the cities I visited and ships I sailed very soon. 

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