Train ride to HEL

October 11, 2015

Finally. Finally winter is coming. Early this week, the morning felt a bit more chilled than usual. I pulled up my phone, and it reported sub-zero temperatures.

It’s now just a matter of time before the first snow arrives.

below-zero

The evenings have already become a lot darker, the sun is already down at 7 PM.

Anyway, one evening as I was configuring a server, Paulina came in from the balcony and told me that the northern lights were visible. I took a short break from the screen, grabbed my camera and went out on the balcony.

aurora

And indeed, the northern lights were quite visible, even though there’s a lot of light pollution in the area, it was quite big as well, a lot bigger than I can remember the northern lights I saw in Stockholm last spring. It’s really interesting that I’ve not only once, but twice been able to see the Aurora Borealis this much down south.

Somebody told me that there’s been a lot of solar activity this year, so here’s for hoping that we’ll get a lot more northern lights throughout the winter. And now, since it’s so easy for me to get up north, I’ll definitely spend some weekends up in Vaasa doing photography.

Train ride to HEL

I spent the weekend in Vaasa, mostly with family, and so I don’t have any pictures from my stay. The ride to Vaasa went smoothly and I arrived at around 9 PM. The weekend flew past in an incredible speed and on Sunday I stood on the platform waiting for the train. The train was to leave at 3 PM sharp, and I boarded around ten minutes before the departure.

I found my seat, car 5, seat 16, threw my bags up on the luggage rack and sat down and started reading a book, a few seconds went by and a young women told me I was in her seat, and she showed me her ticket. I knew I was in the right seat, but took up my ticket just to prove it, and that’s when I noticed that it said Sunday, 18th October 2015, and today’s date was the 11th, I had the right seat, on the right train, but on the wrong date.

I apologized and got up, and took my stuff and basically ran for the door, since the train was going to leave in a couple of minutes, and I didn’t have a valid ticket. Luckily I got out. I went for the information disk in hope of being able to clear this up and get a new ticket, but the ticket booth was closed as was all electronic tickets booths as well.

There wasn’t much I could do, the train was going to leave any minute, and there was basically no chance for me to get a new ticket for that train. Took up my laptop, navigated to vr.fi to order a new ticket for a later train. The train that I had initially wanted to go with was an express train to Helsinki, with a total travel time of around 3 and a half hours, and incidentally that was the last express train.

The next train to leave was an intercity train, which was going to leave at 20 past three, the ticket was around 70€, but I didn’t have much choice, so I bought it.

Since my new train was going to leave in about 15 minutes, I decided to head back to the platform and wait. When I got to the platform, my original train still stood there, apparently the whole train system in Finland was being delayed, and so was this train. I stood there, wishing I would’ve bought a ticket for it, at twenty past three, the train left, my new train had yet to arrive.

Finally after another 10 minutes my train arrived, I was going to have to switch trains in Seinäjoki, and because of the delay I was scared I’d miss my connection, I was only going to have a couple of minutes to switch.

An hour later we arrived at Seinäjoki, and I ran out, as luck would have it, my connecting train was at the opposite platform, and I got on it in a couple of seconds.

Found my seat, sat down.

The clock keeps ticking, 5 minutes later an announcement was made, the train was being held back because of a technical problem, and the fire department had been dispatched. Another ten minutes went by, and they had fixed whatever problem they had, and we were now on the road again.

I was originally going to be in Helsinki at 18:30, I watched the clock as I sat on the new train, just wishing I hadn’t fucked up with my tickets.

The rest of the journey was pretty smooth, and I was standing on the platform in Helsinki’s central station at 20:10, and was home at around half past eight.

The worst thing with this ordeal? It wasn’t that problems kept compounding, but rather I had nobody else to blame but myself. I wish I could be angry with VR for giving me the wrong ticket (I bought the wrong ticket), for not having their information disk open (it’s a Sunday in a small town, of course it’s closed), but being perfectly honest, they hadn’t done anything wrong. It was completely my fault, and next time I’ll double, nay, triple check that I’ve gotten the dates right.

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