Venetian EveningAugust 30, 2015
So I was on my way, bags packed, ready for Iceland, and then, Tuesday evening, I fell ill and had to cancel the trip. Which sucks, since Iceland is definitely one of the countries on the short list of places I’d like to visit.
Anyway, as I was working alone in the office, I decided that I wanted to do some kind of trip, and spontaneously bought train tickets for Vaasa. Interestingly enough, I noticed that Vaasa is almost at the same latitude as Reykjavik. Reykjavik is at 64N and Vaasa’s at 63N, I also noticed that only the northern most parts of Iceland is actually in the arctic circle (66N).
The last weekend in August is celebrated as the Venetian Evening in Ostrobothnia, the end of the summer house season. This is a pretty local thing, for example, they don’t celebrate it in southern Finland at all. And since I’ve lived abroad for a couple of years, I haven’t been able to celebrate it in a long time. (Here’s a post I wrote back in 2011, my last Venetian Evening in Finland)
So after work on Friday, I took the evening train to Vasa, which was rather uneventful. I usually play magic the gathering on my computer when I’m on trips, but in preparation for the Iceland trip I had found out that Wizards of the Coast have released “Magic The Gathering: Origins” which is completely free, and the best part is that they haven’t just released it for the PC through Steam, but also on the App Store.
Even though I had brought with me my laptop, it stayed in the bag for the complete trip since I could play the game on my Iphone, and I have to say, they’ve really managed to make it super enjoyable even though it’s on such a small screen.
I arrived at Vaasa around 11 PM, there’s something special about stepping off the train on a Friday evening in Vaasa, even though it wasn’t that late, a lot of people are already completely drunk. And it’s even more interesting the fact that Vaasa is such a small city, but the nightlife is really vibrant.
When I got to my mom’s place we stayed up and talked ’til around 2 AM, and she lives pretty much in the city center, so when I went to bed in the guest room, which faces the street, it was really nice hearing all the sounds from the city. I generally prefer complete silence when I’m heading to bed, but the sounds from Kauppapuistikko (one of the main streets) in Vaasa haven’t changed much from when I was a child and still lived at home, and so it’s reminiscent of me growing up.
I had talked with Christian about me coming to Vaasa, and we made some plans about getting some people together and celebrating the Venetian evening together.
Initially we talked about going to Öjberget, the small mountain (or hill) just west of Vaasa. Since people shoot fireworks during the evening (in many ways it’s very similar to new years ‘eve) I had wanted to make a timelapse from Öjberget, with the sunset and then the fireworks going off from the city.
Though the plans had changed a bit, and we decided to celebrate it outside of town instead. My sister wanted to meet up with me before I went off celebrating, which also gave me a chance to play around with Tobias. She had earlier in the week asked me if I wanted a miniature German flag which they had in her office but they were going to throw it away, I obviously wanted it.
I was a bit afraid about ruining the flag since the evening would contain some drinking. So as soon as I got out of the car at Christian’s family house, I placed the flag in the middle of the table.
After a couple of hours Mic and his girlfriend Carro showed up. I haven’t met Mic in a couple of years, and it was really nice catching up with him, and it was fun getting to know Carro as well. Both of them work with art and design, and me being interested in the subject (even though it’s mostly on a amateur level) it was really nice picking their brains about different things.
The sun was, just last week, ridiculously strong, but I’ve learnt from my prior mistakes, and this time I avoided direct sunlight, and was able to not get burnt at all. When the sun finally went down, the cool air came in. Even though Vaasa isn’t that much further north than Helsinki (or Stockholm for that matter) the air gets really cold here.
When I lived in Vaasa I remember that there were only a couple of summer mornings you could go to work in just a t-shirt, usually the night cools down the air so much that you always need to wear a sweater both during the evening and morning. This was one of the big things that I remember about moving to Stockholm, that all the way up ’til end of September is basically t-shirt weather.
Anyway, we sat up ’til around 2 AM, talking mostly about art and different kinds of Swedish accents/dialects. At the end of the evening I was so tired that I could’ve almost just fallen a sleep in the chair I sat in, and that’s when I called a cab and went home. I had already gotten in to the cab when Niklas came running, with the flag.
I woke up at 8 the next morning, with the worst hangover ever. Lots of water, some aspirins, a shower and back to sleep. It helped a bit with my headache. I was reminded why I try to shy away from alcohol, I tend to get awful headaches after a night out. And this time I was extra scared about getting a bad case of migraine, since I was going to have to sit in a train for 3 and a half hour getting back to Helsinki. Luckily I was able to mute my headache enough for the train ride.
When I travel alone with train I usually book a single seat i.e. a single seat row, because I don’t want to sit with strangers, plus I get more leg room. This time was no different, and as I was getting comfortable in my seat, a family came in to the train car with a lot of small children. The kids kept playing and screaming, which really sucked because being hungover meant I was a bit sensitive to loud noises.
But the thing that really pissed me off was that the family, inconsiderate as they were, had their stroller with them, they unfolded it, placed it in the middle of the isle (beside my seat), and put their 2 year old daughter in it, and she kept screaming, singing, crying etc. throughout the ride. And since the stroller was in the middle of the isle, everybody who had to pass through the car, had to push the stroller so it hit me.
Halfway through the trip, the whole family went to the restaurant car, but left the stroller rolling around in the isle, blocking everyone who wanted to visit the restroom. I was really close to throwing it out of the train when we stopped in Tampere, but kept my cool.
The best part of the train ride back, was definitely getting off the train. Easily.