Wake Up, Boo

By Stephen Ewashkiw | July 28, 2013

4621 km so far.

I do not like getting up early. Today, because we took the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki, our alarm went off at 5:40am. This is way too early for me. I hadn’t had the best sleep as it was, with three mosquitos at different times buzzing my ear, and was unfortunately already awake when the alarm rang.

We dutifully got to the ferry at 7am like we had been asked, and then were made to stand around at the mouth of it until about 7:40am. I really could have used that extra time sleeping.

ferry from finland to helsinki

Hungry ferry, ready to eat cars.

Musical Chairs

Unlike BC Ferries, this boat had very few chairs for passengers to sit in. The regulars knew this, and rushed up to the eating and disco decks, and spread themselves out on several chairs, benches, and the floor, taking up as much space as they wanted to get comfortable, without a care for the other passengers. Many passengers were already stretched out for sleep even before we had managed to lock our bikes.

red headed woman on ferry finland

People in this part of the world have hair like Jane’s.

We found a couple of chairs near the restaurant and joined about a thousand screaming children (not literally) who ran around us as we tried to catch a few minutes of shut eye.

Somewhere in the midst of it all, the curtains, on a stage neither of us had previously noticed, opened and a giant dancing cat appeared, leading the children in a dance. Did we dream this? No. Did we get a picture to prove it was real? No.

How Does A Log Sleep?

When we arrived in Helsinki a couple of hours later I felt terrible. I felt like I hadn’t slept in days, despite a pretty relaxing time in Tallinn. I knew I would need to be sociable once we arrived at our hosts’ home.

The bike ride to their house was beautiful. At least there was that. We followed a bike path along the water, past several parks, boats and many people out for a walk. The bike paths were incredible. We rode on a section of a path for joggers and cyclists that has been built between the opposing lanes of traffics, about 10 feet lower than the road, and landscaped.

When we got to Jaakko and Yacine’s house, Jaakko could tell I was worse for wear, and was very nice about it. We set up our bed in their living room and he arranged to go out for a few hours with Yacine as soon as she got back from yoga class, so that I could get some more rest.

A couple of hours later I still needed more sleep, but they were due back. Feeling a bit in the way, a bit strange, but also feeling so poor I didn’t have the energy to care, I stayed in bed as Jane, Jaakko and Yacine sat at the table next to my bed, eating, and getting to know each other a little. I heard it all, and desperately wanted to take part in the conversation, but all I had the energy to do was lay there, eyes shut, hoping to fall back asleep.

Jane’s note: It is always a little awkward to arrive in a complete stranger’s home, load in your piles of gear, and make yourself comfy in the middle of their living room. It is far more awkward when your husband is sound asleep in the middle of it all while your hosts make lunch for you. Yacine and Jaakko helped ease my discomfort by being completely understanding and apparently not at all bothered by the konked out figure on their floor.

Life Goes On

Jane then went out for a walk along the sea, and I kept sleeping.

Jane again: At Jaakko’s suggestion, I headed down to the nearby beach for a little stroll around. Guess what, Helsinki is absolutely beautiful you guys! At least, the part along the shore of the island these two live on is. There is a huge park along the shore with a great walking and cycling path that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, not in the middle of the city. The only hint that you’re somewhere populated is all the half-clad Finns enjoying their Sunday in the sunshine.

bay and water in helsinki

Yup, this is Helsinki!

When I used to work in the music industry and had to go on week long work trips, one of the constants was that I would come home and almost always get sick. My body had been worked and partied to its limit and it knew it could finally crash.

I worry my body is doing the same thing now that St Petersburg is one more ferry ride away. I hope this clears up before tomorrow, as we have to sleep on the boat tomorrow night.

Jane says: All day, I have been coming up with possible causes for Stephen’s illness. Too much restaurant food in Tallinn? The result of drinking Baltic brown water for a month? Dodgy blueberries from the market yesterday? The thought of the beer prices in this part of the world? Any, or all of them could be the cause. I’m just hoping that whatever it is, it’s the 24-hour kind of illness Stephen usually gets, and not something more serious.

J&Y went out to the beach a while later, and I fell off to sleep again. By the time they got back we had been at their house for about 10 hours and I had been in bed for approximately 7 of them. Jane and I went for a brief walk, which felt terrible and good at the same time. She made me a soupy-noodley dinner like a loving wife does, and by this point I was starting to feel a bit more human.

J&Y are also watching Homeland but are a few episodes ahead of us, so we all got into our respective beds and watched double-bills before I finally went to sleep for the last time of the day. With a long ferry ride tomorrow I hope this passes by morning. With all this rest, how can it not?  

Did you like this post? Please share it!


  1. Comment by Diane

    Diane August 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Hope you are feeling better Stephen. Guess what? vancouver Island does look just like your pictures and yesterday we brought the girls over. The ferry was 100 percent full , there were seats for everyone and it sailed on the scheduled minute. Just hoping to lure you both back.

    • Comment by Stephen

      Stephen August 9, 2013 at 4:12 am

      We’ll be back at some point. Not to worry. However, the vastness and emptiness of the Finnish Archipelago is temping. Of course, 10 months of the year it is dark and cold so we’re quite lucky with timing.

  2. Comment by Taina

    Taina August 1, 2013 at 6:11 am

    I think it is so funny that Stephen wrote the post when Jane actually got to see some of Helsinki :). But glad you liked my “home town” so far! Excited to hear more and see more pics when you return.

  3. Comment by Chris

    Chris July 31, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Excited for you to get to Russia.

    • Comment by Stephen

      Stephen August 9, 2013 at 4:12 am

      So were we. What a terrific first leg of this journey!

Comments are closed.

Go top
Share via