Never wait for the best weather and to find good friends to make a trip. Find a place and book a ticket.
This is what I did. I booked for Saturday round cruise trip from Vaasa to Umea. I bought few sweat buns on Friday evening and went to bed early. I woke up at 5AM , got ready and it took 45minutes walk in freezing -10 deg temperature to reach the harbor. I could have taken the bus. But I didn’t know the exact bus stop. The walk with my big jacket and backpack was tiring. I reached the harbor with no person to accompany in the dark cold winter morning. The lady at the ticket counter checked my ID and gave a boarding pass. I had to wait another hour to get on the ship. That was the first time I got into a ship. I got into the ship and I was surprised to see no X-ray machines or security check. They checked my boarding pass and a little walk took me inside the ship. I was little hungry and ate one of the sweet bun. I went to the front side of the ship and I could see the ship front beak. The sea had completely frozen. But an ice cutter had made a path through the frozen sea. The navigator blew the horn and I could hear the turbine running. The ship had no trouble cruising through the path. On the left and right side I could see few island and archipelago. The main land became far and far before it completely disappeared.
I could see few sea gull catching some fish in that path. I went on the upper deck and opened the door leading to the railings. It was very slippery and I managed to walk from the door to the railing. I stood there holding the railing firmly. It was freezing cold and the wind was blowing very heavily. I couldn’t stand there for more than few minutes. From the upper deck I saw that the ice cover on the sea went thinner and thinner forming different pattern before it completely vanished. The ship was wobbling and I could barely stay outside for long time. I took a small nap and I had nothing else to do. I went to the restaurant to see the food menu. Things were little expensive and I had hard time identifying a vegetarian food. After few hours Captain announced that Umea is about to reach in another 20 minutes. As the ship passed by the light house I realized Umea had already arrived. I could see huge wind mill and the blades rotating. I knew that Europe is known for clean and green energy but I was mesmerized to see such huge wind mill. Everyone got down from the ship and few of them ran towards the bus which took us to Umea city. I got on the bus which was fast enough to take us from the harbor to Main Island. The bus took us through University of Umea and finally into city. I got down from the bus with a big map in my hand and not knowing anything. My phone was not working and neither did I have Swedish SIM card to google search. Most the old people spoke Swedish and few your children were swearing in English. I got into a burger shop and I could find a vegetarian burger. I ordered a coke and a burger. I couldn’t bear my head ache as I had little sleep. Could weather, little food and wobbling ship for 5 hours had taken toll of me. I took a pain killer and walked a little distant understanding how to cross the road. I saw a button which was supposed to be pressed in case someone needs to cross the road else the pedestrian crossing would never turn green. I had seen a similar one during my last visit to the US.
I asked a lady if there are any places to see and she seemed to know nothing. I walked along side to few market place , a railways station. I could see that the city was gearing up for European festival next week. I could see huge ice sculpture in making. People cutting ice. I walked down to see that the river had completely frozen and they were preparing to make some celebration point. I walked pass the huge City church. I had lots and lots of time and no one to accompany. I didn’t know where to go. I took some path on the bridge. I saw the frozen river which looked completely white. I could see few houses far away on the other side the river. I couldn’t zoom further and take a picture. I came back to the church. I tried to open the door of the church which was not locked. I went and sat in the last bench of the empty church. There were few families walking inside and out. They waved their head to say hello and I did the same. The church was warm inside. I removed my heavy jacket and backpack. I was feeling little sleepy and slept for few minutes on the bench. I got up and decided to walk up to the city commercial street.
I walked for some time and decided to grab a cup of coffee. I grabbed a cup of coffee, sipping each drop of it until the time was just 6:30PM. I went little early to the bus stand. There was small bus to harbor. The bus dropped near the harbor and I couldn’t wait to get into the ship which had become so familiar now.
The ship was undocked and it began to move away from the port. The city lights became dimmer and dimmer. I saw the last lights of the light house before the ship cruised into the dark sea. It was cloudy and the stars were not visible. It was chilling cold at the upper deck of the ship and I could barely stand for a minute.
I came down ordered a beer and sat in the restaurant for some time. I went to see different part of the ship and there was separate place for people with their pet too. I felt that the return journey took longer than forward journey. Finally the cruise reached the docking station and the navigator maneuver the ship . Finally the bridge was open and my journey had come to end and all I had to do was to get into the bus which dropped me to city square . From there it was a little walk to my apartment and I was dead tired and fell into the dreams quite early.