I suck at traveling, and other fun things in Europe

I think the last time I posted I was going to Finland soon. Well Finland was rad.

We landed Friday night to a pretty wild central station. Finland, right away, seemed a lot edgier than I had thought. It wasn’t what I had been expecting after coming from Oslo, but it was cool change up.

The city itself had a lot more Russian influence than the previous cities we visited. It was easy to tell that right away. Finland didn’t feel like Scandinavia, it had it’s own feel. The architecture, the people, the way public transit didn’t phase us, it was definitely separate from the rest of Scandi-land.

My favorite part was Helsinki’s south harbor. There was a local market square selling all sorts of touristy things and homemade crafts. We spent most of the day on Helsinki’s old fortress island, Suomenlinna. The island was home to so many old structures and points of interest it was hard to explore it in just one afternoon. We made it to a place called King’s Gate, which was the most beautiful place I had been up to that point. It was an old grassy flat that overlooked the Sea, which had some crazy frozen waves continuously bombarding the coast.

I came back from Finland pretty exhausted from traveling but satisfied that the group and I had been to every Nordic country now.

The week in Oslo proceeding was great as well. It was nice to get out and explore it some more and meet some amazing people while in Norway.

The traveling picked up quickly, however. We went to Tromsø, Norway on Thursday. It’s located well-within the arctic circle, its actually the second biggest city in the arctic.

It’s hard to describe my experience in Tromsoø. Yes it was cold. But it was also the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The first day had us hiking one of the local trails, which we soon ditched in favor of blazing our own way up one of the mountains. The same night we took a bus about an hour and a half outside of the city, going further north and east. We spent the night reindeer sledding and searching for northern lights in this beautiful Sami valley, wedged right into the mountain range surrounding us. The night included some culture lessons on the Sami people, given by a Sami couple that lived in the valley, and some reindeer feeding and bonding time. It was amazing. My reindeer was named Chad.

To our luck we did see the northern lights. I’ll have pictures coming with those. Never in my life did I think I would be riding behind a reindeer in the arctic looking for those lights.

Anyways, the longest day of Europe yet came on the ride home. My booking website to get to Tromsø cancelled my reservations home and relocated me to a different flight schedule. So instead of going home with my friends at a reasonable hour, 1:45 PM on Sunday, my new schedule had me flying out of Tromsø at 7 PM. Instead of flying out of Bodoø with the group after the lay over at 9 PM, I was to fly out of Bodø the next morning at 6 AM, getting back in Oslo around 8.

So instead of putting up with Mytrip.com’s bull, I waited anxiously for standby tickets in Tromsø’s gate going to Bodø and amazingly got the last seat on. I repeated the process in Bodø’s airport going to Oslo and again, I made it on.

I’ve documented my struggles with transportation here over and over, but nothing gives you anxiety like possibly staying overnight in some Godforsaken arctic airport by yourself. I will get kicked out of another country and ten more trains before I repeat that. I’m lucky though, and I got home in one-piece. Hopefully my luck doesn’t run out.

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