Since it seems that we’re traveling mostly in Finland nowadays – or extended Finland – I decided to switch my reporting language for a while. And no-one else seems to share relevant information in English about traveling in Finland(ish) with kids. So, let me start with the all time favourite – the classic – Sweden boat, cruise to Stockholm from Helsinki, with two nights on the ferry and one day in Stockholm.
Eating at the ferry
In Sunday afternoon we stepped on board Viking Gabriella. Right after finding our cabin (with one double bed and one bunk bed) we started eating the pizza we brought with us. Good idea. Bringing also drinks would have been another good idea as the tap water at the ferry wasn’t really tempting.
We chose to have breakfast at the ferry on both mornings. With a hungry son, this is a must. There are two levels of breakfast, we took the cheaper, but next time I’ll choose the more expensive one where you get sparkling wine + some items served to the table. This one was also claimed to have more peaceful atmosphere – suites us, as at the dinner buffet a group of men intending to concentrate more on drinks refused to be seated to the table next to our party.
Eating at the ship’s dinner buffet indeed has its pros and cons. The greatest pro is that the buffet is free for kids under 6. And the con is that when you serve the kids at the buffet you don’t eat much (not to mention enjoy) yourself. Maybe the optimum would be to have the kids eat in the buffet with one adult. The food was ok, and wine was good when mixed with soda water. And eating at the buffet also meant spending an hour and half less at the kids play room…
Fun on board
Where we spend almost all the rest of the time. The room seemed really dirty to me, as nothing had happened in 30 years when I was playing there myself. I remember my mom hating the room and making us wash our hands really well afterwards. But still – if it was dirty already then, what about now? The kids liked it anyways. But not as much as the karaoke dance at the FUN BAR… Olga found two cavaliers to dance with when people sang karaoke classics like ”Elämää juoksuhaudoissa”.
That’s life at the ”Sweden boat”. Both nights we went to bed at the same time with the kids and slept actually a lot more that an home. It was nice and peaceful, no one yelling at the corridor etc.
Day at Södermalm
What surprised me was how nice it was to spend the day in Stockholm. We took a quick look at the princess castle (which was a little disappointment to our princess fan) and took a metro to Södermalm (Medborgarplatsen). NICE, NICE, NICE! Friendly & helpful people, lovely cafes, playgrounds… And yes, in the playground there really was more dads than moms. In the metro we were offered help when carrying the stroller and offered seats – seldom happens in Helsinki. And what hit me, was that the Romanian beggars looked straight into your eyes and smiled as in Helsinki they stare the ground. Interesting that they seem to have different strategies in these two cities.
The day was so nice that it is almost worth the ferry trip. I’d definitely recommend this trip for someone a) who is a bored stay-at-home-parent, b) who takes a week-long holiday in Helsinki or Stockholm (and can take a look to another city + skip a couple of expensive hotel night this way).
”Sweden boat” ++
– Skip it
++ Why not
+++ This is a must