All of Scandinavia is submerged in a dense fog, it seems, as we stop in Oslo on our way to Helsinki. My dad (whom I am sharing trip #6 with) and I caught the late-night plane to Oslo, which means I am operating on 24 hours without sleep before I even land in our layover destination. The Oslo airport is nice, but we have trouble finding a nice place to sit so we float between cafes and benches for around 4 hours while I think about how great life was when I had a bed and a room and a regular sleep schedule. Why did I give that up to spend another week and a half watching my dad sleep peacefully on trains, buses, and planes? Who knows.
We are already admitted to the Schengen Area in Oslo, so by the time we arrive in Helsinki we don’t need to go through immigration or customs. We catch the 5 Euro train into the city center and eat our first real meal in over a day. A couple of blocks from the train station is a fun bar-turned-restaurant-turned-cafe called “Lost in Helsinki,” which serves authentic and auhentic-ish Finnish food like meatballs, salmon soup, and reindeer nachos. The soup and nachos were fine, but the meatballs were a step up from what you can find in Ikea. That evening we saw some of the streetlife of Helsinki, though we turned in early to our hostel so I could end the waking nightmare of being awake for a day and a half straight.
The following day was our first day of visa validity in Russia, so we planned on catching a bus some time around 11 am to St. Petersburg. My dad assured me that there would be a bunch of buses at 11:30, so we should go to the station around 10:30 to catch one of them. While purchasing tickets day-of had worked (more or less) in our previous Eastern European trip, it became obvious that tickets to Russia often sold out the day prior, so we would either have to take one of the late buses or take the more expensive train which would shave off about 4 hours. After a half a day inside some of the spectacular churches of Helsinki, and wandering through the food hall and tasting moose meat, we decided to hop on the train for about 80 Euro a person to put us in St. Petersburg for 8 pm. The train left precisely on time to the second (as had the train from the airport), and we passed the three hours and change watching the Finnish-Russian countryside below.
Victor Bernabei is just another millenial travel blogger. But here's the twist: He isn't a millenial! His goal is to see as many countries as he can, and spread the message that the world is not as scary as the news wants you to believe, and that there is beauty in all people, places and things.