A short trip to Vaasa; my nephew got baptized.

September 15, 2014

I’ve known about this trip for quite some time, I booked it back in June or July. The reason why I haven’t talked about it is because both me and Paulina were going to be away on this trip, which meant that the apartment was empty — being paranoid as I am, I wanted to be quiet about it so it wouldn’t be public knowledge that the apartment was unprotected and empty.

You might be wondering, “Okay, but what were you going to do in Vaasa?”. Well, Tobias, my nephew, was born earlier in the summer, and usually, when talking about Lutheran-Christian children, they get baptized. And both Paulina and I were going to attend the ceremony.

But let’s start from the beginning.

Morning flights suck.

Paulina had already left for Vaasa earlier in the week, I didn’t want to take out too many vacation days, so I opted for the early Friday morning flight.

The morning flight leaves Arlanda 07:30 AM, this means that I need to be out at Arlanda around six in the morning, seeing as Arlanda is an hour drive from Stockholm, the bus leaves at five and that means I had to get up at four in the morning. Four. In. The. Morning.

You know what really sucks on your vacation? Getting up four in the morning. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, for me, relaxing equals plenty of sleep.

I see myself as a somewhat frequent flier, and I pride myself when I get through the security checks in an orderly fashion, without any hassle, because I prepare well and I know what is expected from me. I never get stopped for anything; unless, apparently, if it’s freaking six in the morning, almost everything that could go wrong, went wrong. For example, I forgot to remove my laptop from my bag, probably one of the basic thing’s of airport security, unless you have a TSA approved bag for the computer, you have to remove it from the bag; I forgot.

vaasa_airport_finland

The flight in itself was pretty uneventful, I read through a magazine and once I was done, we were already on approach for landing.

As I left the airport, I looked around for somebody that I knew, because surely, someone was there to pick me up, right? Yeah, at this point I remembered I hadn’t actually called anyone, and I don’t think anybody knew when my plane was going to arrive. I called Paulina, and listening to her voice I could easily determine that she had no idea when I was coming, I ended up taking a cab.

I hate morning flights, I really do.

benjamin-horn
I walked around like a living dead, a zombie.

The whole day was pretty fuzzy, I was completely dead-tired. But I did go out for a Lonkero with Linus, which was refreshing (Lonkero is one of the drinks that are not available in Sweden, and every time I go to Finland, I drink it almost exclusively when it comes to alcohol-based beverages, and I always post a picture of the it, hence the next picture).

lonkero

I also met Carlos later in the evening, this was by a freak accident. I already told you earlier that I had kept myself from publicly announcing that I was going to Vaasa this weekend — Carlos on the other hand, wrote about it last week.

What’s the chance that we’re both heading for Vaasa the exact same weekend? Sadly, it was too dark to take any pictures, but it was really nice meeting him in person again. The funny thing is, Carlos wasn’t the only one back in town for a few days, I had loads of friends that have moved from Vaasa that were either visiting over the weekend or had just moved back. So many people, so little time.

My nephew got his name

The next morning, Saturday, I got a good 10 hours of sleep. As I got up I had to get ready for church. I brought a blue shirt with me from Sweden. This apparently wasn’t acceptable for Paulina, and she felt I looked like a hobo.

laihia-kirkko

The Baptism was to take place in Laihia’s church, which is a half an hour drive outside of Vaasa (Laihia is a neighbouring village). Generally I don’t really care for churches, but I have to say that I actually, kind-of, almost, liked this church. It was pretty basic, not a lot of extra stuff, pretty modest — that’s how I like my churches, nothing extravagant.

laihia-kirkko2

The only luxurious thing I found was the light fixtures. They were a bit too much.

baptism
Tobias getting baptized, his godfather Marcus is holding him.

As Tobias was being Baptized, I got a pretty nice surprise. I had been told that he was only going to get one name, Tobias, and of course his surname, Konster. But apparently my dear sister had planned quite the surprise for the audience, and she had been able to keep it a secret; not even the god-parents had known about it.

The priest said his full Christian name;

Tobias Benjamin Alexander Konster

I pretty much lost my breathe, I couldn’t be more honoured (and Alexander, is my older brother).

priest-and-tobias
Tobias and the priest

After the ceremony, my sister and her husband were treating all the guests with coffee and cake at their house (and the priest was there too, it’s actually the same priest that married them last year).

cake
My sister has a lot of talents, and one of them is making cakes.

Sunday, the day for resting

But instead of resting I went out to try and capture some pictures for my dear blog readers. But alas, Vaasa isn’t a beautiful city, and it’s hard to make pretty pictures of ugly things.

rand
But we do have a lot of grass.

I pretty much gave up, couldn’t find any inspiration to take pictures, so I headed for Kotipizza — the most awesome pizza around. If you ever end up in Finland, get a Capricciosa at KotiPizza, and if you end up not liking it, you should be ashamed (at this point I’m thinking of one person in particular).

kotipizza
mmmmm, pizza.

Later in the evening, I went out with Linus, trying to capture at least something for the blog. A year before I moved to Sweden, they built a wind turbine just in the outskirts of Vaasa. You haven’t been able to get near it (they blocked the roads), but we decided to give it a try, and they’ve actually removed the road blocks, so we were able to get pretty close to it.

linus-photo
Linus, changing lenses.

I took a lot of pictures, with a variety of lenses, only to notice that I was shooting with a really high ISO, and they all came out pretty shit. (I was using the Canon 5D which lacks auto-iso and has a really, really crappy LCD). I didn’t want to retake all the photos, so I took one more, with a bit more subtle ISO settings, and this is it;

windmill
The Vaasa wind turbine, it might be hard to believe, but each of the three wings should be 60 meters long.

Time to go home

Monday morning, flight home, leaving 10:05 AM, got up at eight, not as bad as four in the morning, but still, a morning flight.

morning-coffee
Morning coffee at the airport.

Got to the airport, no plane in sight. The clock turns 09:30, plane hasn’t yet arrived, and you usually start boarding half an hour before the estimated departure. I’m bored, and tired, really tired. Looking forward to getting home. The airport has a thick layer of fog surrounding it.

The one good thing with early flights between Finland and Sweden is that you get to have the whole day at your destination.

norwegian-air-fog
The plane finally arrives, at 10 o’clock in the morning, five minutes until departure — ha-ha, fat chance.

I hurry off to the gate. I always get the seat 31F on Boeing 737’s. For those not familiar with 737’s, this is the seat furthest back. I usually book this seat because of two reasons; 1. People generally try to get the seats in the middle of the plane or in the front, the back parts are usually empty which leaves a lot of space. 2. You’re usually the first one off the plane from the back exit — efficient.

The only downside is that there’s no overhead bin space for the last row, the lockers are reserved for the crew, which means if you’re not early on the plane, you might end up with your luggage under the seat in front of you, which sucks, big time.

Anyway, I stand at the gate, waiting, first in line. I see that the crew is standing outside of the plane talking with ground control. Half an hour later, no boarding as of yet — we get the dreaded announcement, the plane has experienced technical problems, and they have to fly in a technician from Helsinki, in other words, we’re looking at a 4 hour delay, at the very least.

Paulina, having worked at the airport for countless of years gets the inside info. Upon approach the plane experienced a bird strike, and the plane engine and wing has to be inspected before the plane can take off.

I want to make it clear that I feel that Norwegian did the right thing, ground the plane until it can be inspected and approved for flight, I’d rather lose a few hours than lose a life.

We end up leaving the airport, we left for the archipelago, one could say that if you want something beautiful in Vaasa, the archipelago is exactly the thing you’re looking for.

replot-bridge
The Replot bridge

The airport personnel told us that we had to be back no later than 2 PM, because that’s the expected arrival of the technician. Instead of risking anything, we decided to eat lunch at the aiport, and so we were back at the airport at 1 o’clock. The fog had disappeared, and the sun was shining brightly.

norwegian-air
The useless plane resting on the tarmac.

The technician got to the airport in time, he inspected the plane and gave the go-ahead. We boarded the plane at 14:30 and took off at 15:00. It took an whole other hour to get from Arlanda home, and I finally sat down in my couch at around 5 PM, six hours later than expected.

I only had one thing to say, and I really meant it;

I hate morning flights.

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