You can see part 1 of 2 by clicking on the link below:
YYC-SEA-CPH-HEL-TKU: AS/SK/AY (101 PICS) 1 Of 2 (by Vio Feb 20 2007 in Trip Reports)
I’m glad you’re all back here reading the second part of my report and I appreciate it very much because I’ve put a lot of time and effort into it. I have to say that I’m a little disappointed with my picture taking abilities, especially in low lighting conditions. The Nikon D50 that I purchased has potential, but in the hands of an experienced photographer. Before I begin, I apologize for the bad quality of some photographs. I tried my best to capture high quality images but my limited knowledge had me shoot mostly on Auto settings.
As I mentioned in Part 1 of 2 of this trip report, I will take the time to show you and of course tell you how I spent my time there. This report is VERY long and has over 160 pictures so it will take a bit to load on some computers. For those of you who aren’t interested in the non-aviation part you can scroll down until you get to the actual flight itself. I recommend that you read it though and you’ll find parts of it quite amusing. I’ve had some interesting moments
I also have to warn you that some portions may not be too appropriate for the younger crowd
Thanks and enjoy…
Friday January 12th 2007
Like I’ve mentioned before, I arrived in Turku around 21:00 (local) after more than 24 hours of travel time. It took four flights to get me there and I was exhausted, but my excitement kept me going. My friend Nikke picked me up from the airport and made our way to his flat where I would stay for the next week.
After the customary Finnish sauna and drinking about six Karhu beers we (Nikke, Pekka and I) took a taxi to a club where we met some of Nikke’s friends. After a few hours and a “few” more beers we decided to go to go to a club called Onnela. I’ve met quite a few people that night, but I can’t quite recall anyone specific and that’s probably due to the copious amount of alcohol I drank. By the time we returned to his flat it was around four in the morning. I got a little sick on the way home and ended up vomiting in front of his building. Great ! “Welcome to Finland Vio”.
Saturday January 13th 2007
Waking up with the mother of all hangovers, I decided to get ready and go meet my friend Anne which came from Lohja (a town located about 120 km East of Turku) just to see me. I wasn’t in the most ideal shape. All I wanted to do was sleep, but I would have never forgiven myself if I didn’t see her. We ended up going to the mall and having a coffee. I was clearly sick and by the 2nd hour I was ready to die. Perkele saatana! Why the hell did I drink so much? I’m not 18 anymore. I apologized to Anne for being in the state I was in and I promised I would make it up to her. I think she wanted to spend more time with me, but I was in no shape to be out in town, so I decided to go home and sleep a bit.
At 17:00 we had to go to the harbor, because we had tickets reserved with Silja Line for an overnight cruise to Stockholm, Sweden then a day trip back to Turku. I didn’t want to stay too much in the cabin because I knew that I’d fall asleep if that happened. After buying some beer from the onboard store, the party started and we didn’t stop until 6 am the next morning. I didn’t drink as much this time, but still enough to have a good time. Around 21:00 we went to the disco, where we me some nice ladies and ended up having an awesome time. Nikke went to bed around 4 but I stayed up with my new “friends” and partied until we arrived in Stockholm.
“Sveriges Television” building, in Stockholm, as seen from our ship, Silja Europa.
Sunday January 14th 2007
After departing Sweden for our trip back to Finland, I ended up going to bed as well, where I slept until noon. I felt surprisingly good considering the self abuse I’ve done over the past few days. The rest of the day was uneventful; I spent it watching a Calgary Flames game, enjoy the scenery and of course take some photos. We arrived back in Turku in the evening and went straight to bed, after having a bite to eat at a local Mexican restaurant.
Me, on deck of Silja Europa on our way back from Stockholm
Monday January 15th 2007
This was the “I’m going to be vegetable” day for me. Nikke had to work so I stayed home trying to catch up on some lost sleep & download / sort all the photos I’ve taken up to that point (see my previous report for some of those photos). I also called my little sister Alexandra (in Canada) to wish her happy 22nd birthday.
Anyway, I gave Anne a call and I apologized once again for being a selfish jerk. The following day (Tue) and Wed. Nikke had to work a lot of overtime so I decided to go visit Anne in Lohja. She thought it was a great idea. Awesome! This was my opportunity to make it up to her. After searching some information on the net about getting there and having Anne translate a few things for me I found out what needs to be done.
Later that evening, Nikke and I went for a few beers at a pub called “Laituri” where mostly university students go to forget about the hardships of school… even on a school night. By Monday night my liver was ready to divorce me, but I didn’t back down.
Tuesday January 16th 2007
This was an early morning wake-up call for me. I left the flat around 7 am and headed to the bus stop and catch a city transit bus to the Turku Bus Terminal. Getting around in Finland is very interesting if you don’t speak Finnish. It’s not that it’s hard, but when you ask people for directions (in English) they look at you with a semi-panicked face. The older crowd doesn’t really speak English but almost everyone under 30 can speak it, however the majority of them are incredibly shy. Sometimes, I had a hard time getting information out of some.
Turku Bus Terminal, before boarding the bus to Lohja
I managed to get to the bus station without hassle. Turku’s public transportation system is fantastic. Shortly after, I was on a bus on my way to “Lohjanharju” where Anne waited for me. We then took another [short] bus ride to Lohja.
The Finnish country side between Turku and Salo. Quite green for January. The unusually high temperatures melted all the snow
In Lohja… Not a very big place, but it’s nice
We spent the day talking and hanging out at her place. In the evening her classmate and good friend Pauliina came and the three of us went to a small local tavern. It was pretty lame but a few beers later, these two girls were pretty giggly and in high spirits.
I suggested that we go to Helsinki because this pub sucked. To my surprise they agreed, so we took the next bus there. They both had to attend a school trip the next morning, but nobody cared, especially them. I guess beer had its say and who was I to intervene? We spent about three hours in an Aussie Pub. After getting pretty drunk (again) we took the bus back to Lohja around 1:00am. By 2:00am all three of us were sleeping. No… not that way…
Just after we arrived in Helsinki
One of Helsinki’s trams. It adds a to the character of the city.
Pauliina & I in Helsinki
Me, Pauliina (middle) & Anne (right) at the Aussie Pub in Helsinki
Walking in Helsinki, heading back to the bus terminal
Wednesday January 17th 2007
Waking up the next morning was surprisingly good (for me), but the girls didn’t seem to be in their best shape. They drank maybe 1/5th of what I drank, but after all, they’re both tiny and don’t have the practice I’ve had throughout the years. We planned to meet in Helsinki again on Saturday, which was my last night in Finland. So I took a bus back “home” (via Salo) and spent the rest of the afternoon taking pictures of the city (Turku).
Going back to Turku, nearing Salo
Turku’s Market Square (Kauppatori) in the city centre
Club Onnela, located on the corner of the Market Square. Good times here. Very good times. There are many Onnela clubs located throughout Finland.
And a few more shots of Turku’s streets
A shot from the shore of Aura River with Turku’s old Cathedral in the background
Nikke was working again quite late, so I decided to text message my ex. girlfriend Eveliina and ask her for coffee. She was shocked when she found out I was in Finland, but she didn’t hesitate to come. Well that coffee turned into a few ciders… then I walked her home…
Eveliina at a pub called “Bremen”. I took this photo with my phone camera, so it turned out pretty bad. The place was poorly lit.. I’m sure some of you here may have seen her before
After I left her house, I walked back to the city centre and decided to go to Club Onnela again. It started snowing quite heavily, but it was really nice. I can’t remember if I ever went alone to a night-club, but hey, I wasn’t going home to sleep. While I was waiting in line to get my coat checked, I noticed a group of about 30 people, which were all speaking English… broken English, but none the less, it was English. They were exchange students from University of Turku. I started chatting with a guy from Italy and a girl from Germany. She was also an exchange student in USA so it was good to share some stories from our travels throughout America. I also met two Finnish girls and ended up hanging out with both of them for the remainder of the night. That morning, I got home at 5 am.
Thursday January 18th 2007
Nikke had worked like a dog for the past 3 days and I didn’t have much time to hang out with him, which sucked, but Thrusday he’d only work a regular shift. Around noon I woke up and started packing. This was my last night in Turku. The next morning I’d leave for Helsinki and Tallinn, Estonia, so I started to pack. Later that afternoon I went out for a few hours and took some pore pictures of Turku.
Near the Market Square. Club Onnela can be seen in the background. The night before I had to help a guy, which was passed out on the street (drunk) in this exact location. The police picked him up shortly afterward
Awesome sail ships docked on the shores of Aura River
Aura River, Turku
Turku’s old Cathedral and the River Aura (Taken the picture of the girls was purely accidental. No joke! I just realized it after I copied them to my computer)
Shortly after Nikke came home we left to the Turku Arena to see a hockey game between Turku TPS and Lahti Pelicans. It was great. We bought tickets in the “bar” area. Great !!!
Nikke enjoying a cold beer at the “Turku TPS vs. Lahti Pelicans” hockey game at Turku Arena (Turkuhalli)
Hockey Game at Turkuhalli (Turku Arena) “Turku TPS vs. Lahti Pelicans” TPS won the game! It was awesome. A little different than the NHL, but the atmosphere was great. The fans are very loyal and they really love their team.
After the game, we went to his friend Thomas’ flat and had a few drinks there, before going to Onnela again. To my disappointment, the club was nearly empty and it was almost midnight. I wasn’t going to spend my last night in Turku in this place. During the weekend it’s packed and Wednesdays are pretty cool as well, but I guess today was not the day.
We made our way to another club (Club Marylin), where it was packed… mostly with university students. We hung around there for quite a bit. I met lots of new people. Everyone seemed to be interested and eager to talk to me. I guess when Finns drink they all speak fluent English. Around 1:00am, Nikke and Thomas left. They both had to work the next morning so the each went back to their respective homes. I decided to stay behind and have a few more drinks with some girls, but the bar was closing.
Thomas and I at Club Marylin
Hanging out with some cute Finnish girls…
Oh well... Maybe I should go home too. The next morning at 9:00am I had a train to Helsinki. It was very important I get into Helsinki by 12:00pm because at 12:30 I had to catch a boat to Tallinn, Estonia. This meant that I should leave Turku with the 9 o’clock train, which would get me into Helsinki around 11:00 and I’d have enough time to get to the harbor.
“Well we have some Karhu [beer] & Koskenkorva [vodka] at our house if you want to come” said one of the girls… (not the girls in the above pic)
Friday January 19th 2007
The strange sound of European ambulance siren woke me up. I glanced around me. Both these girls were sleeping. Huh? Where am I? I look at my watch… 9:05am. F*ck !!!… my train !!!
After writing my e-mail on a piece of paper I left their apartment. Great! Where the hell am I? I have no clue how I got here. I don’t even know what part of town I’m in. I’m still dressed in bar clothes and I have a little Chinese guy in my head which is banging on a gong. Okay this is not good. Not good at all. Good thing I had my phone, right? Yeah… on Nikke’s kitchen table… Perkele! (this word expressed exactly what I felt)
After a few minutes of trying to bring back some basic thinking functions I came up with the greatest solution. “Hey… eventually all buses go to the centrum… from there, I know how to get home.” I made my way to the bus stop and asked a girl if she knew what bus goes to where I wanted to go. She looked at me with a “You look rough foreign boy” look. It turns out that the bus which was just pulling up to the stop was the right one.
Lucky for me, it only took about 5 minutes to arrive to the centrum. I transferred quickly to another bus and I managed to make it back to Nikke’s house by 9:30. That’s pretty impressive.
I took the fastest shower EVER and at 9:45 I was downstairs (thanking Nikke for being a great host) with a taxi waiting for me. Good thing I packed the day before. I made it to the train station by 9:55 and had my ticket by 10:01. Did I mention I love the transportation system in Finland? At 10:15 I was on a train to Helsinki, which would arrive there exactly at 12:00. I managed to sleep a bit on the train, but spent most of my time looking at the scenery.
After I barely made the 10:15 train... Picture taken before leaving Turku
Turku train yard
Laving Turku, for Helsinki. Picture taken from the train.
Espoo train station.
Once in Helsinki, I had half an hour to get to the harbor and I had no idea how far it would be. After running around the train station looking for a safe deposit locker, I finally found one, I left half my luggage there and ran outside.
“Taxi !!!” … the guy gets out.. .very relaxed… I looked him in the eye: “Sir, I really have to get to the harbor by 12:30”.
“There is enough time. It’s okay”… he said. Great….
I look at my watch… Tick! Tick! Tick! … DONG !!!… “that guy in my head was still banging the stupid gong!” … In other words, I really wanted some Tylenol just about now.
I was starting to cut it pretty close. I got lucky with the train, but missing my boat would ruin my entire plan. I had a hotel booked in Tallinn, etc etc. The taxi driver gets me there about 12:25. I run inside the Viking Line Terminal hoping nobody would be in line to buy tickets. Yeah right… there were about 5 line-ups each with at least 20 people in it.
Oh sh*t! Why didn’t I buy the tickets online? Well that’s because it wouldn’t have mattered. I still had to pick them up from the ticket booth. What I should’ve done is leave with the 9 am train. Lots of Estonians were waiting in line to buy their tickets.
“Excuse me” I asked a guy … “Do you know what the departure time is for the Tallinn boat?”
“They wait for us…” he answered with a strong Russian accent. Great... Indeed they did wait for us. I made my way through the Finnish customs and had my passport stamped. I think I was the last one to get on the boat. I found a safe-deposit locker and for 2 Euros, I stored my luggage. All I had with me now was my laptop and my Nikon D50. I went on deck and started to take a few photos.
I took this photo as we sailed away toward Tallin, onboard Viking Line. This type of ship (Silja Line’s) is similar to the one I took to Sweden, on Saturday
One of the many small island around Helsinki. Very cool
Finnish Navy (?) or Coastguard (?) patrolling the waters near Helsinki
Helsinki, as we leave it behind…
The Finnish flag, flying proudly behind one of Viking Line’s ships
The boat ride to Tallinn took 3 hours. I spent most of it inside the boat sorting through pictures and talking with some fellow passengers. As soon as I got on the boat people started drinking but that was probably the last thing I wanted to do at this point. When we started nearing the city I went on deck again and took some more photos. I also met a nice girl from Riga, Latvia who was returning from Finland after a short visit.
The beautiful “Old Town” of Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn’s “New Town” as I call it. It looks more like an American / Canadian city in this picture
After passing through customs I started walking with my new Latvian friend. She advised me not to take a cab from the boat terminal. It was almost twice as expensive compared to taking it from a few blocks away. I don’t think it would make much of a difference; I’m a foreigner, speaking English with an American accent.
Tallin’s Tram. So “Eastern European” I love it. Reminds me of Budapest
I said goodbye to her and got a taxi to my hotel. The price was very decent and the cabbie was very talkative. He spoke English quite well but he said he spent a summer with his brother in USA.
I arrived at my hotel around 5:00 pm. I got upgraded to a nicer room, so it was great. The hotel staff in Tallinn was really friendly and the ladies working there were nothing short of stunning. Also this hotel had a casino which was pretty cool, but very small compared to what I was used to in North America. As soon as I was upstairs in my room I pretty much passed out. I slept for about 2 hours.
One of Tallin’s Malls
After I woke up, I went shopping for a new pair of shoes at a mall (see above pic.) not too far from my hotel after which I came back and got dressed up to go out. I’ve planned to go to “Club Hollywood” for a few months now. I was very excited that I’d finally get the chance.
It was still quite early, so I decided to stop by the casino and have a drink, maybe try my luck out.
In the casino I had a few beers and drooled over the waitresses. It didn’t take very long to confirm everything I’ve heard so far: Estonia has some of the most beautiful girls in the world. Well, in this casino I had one of the most bizarre experiences in my life.
As I was enjoying my beer and having small talk with the hot bartender” I noticed a 35 (?) year old man walking around with two super hot women. They were both following him like two little puppies. What a lucky bastard. He looked like he had money… Of course he had money. That suit must be worth more than my car. As he got closer to me, I could hear him speak Russian. I saw the three of them walking toward the bar. I look at where I’m sitting and I noticed that I have two stools to my left and one to my right. I decided to be polite, get up and move one stool over so the three of them could sit together. When he saw this, the gentleman came to me and started speaking something to me in Russian.
“Sorry I don’t speak Russian.” I said, “Do you speak English?” (He did and he had a very strong Russian accent.)
“No ! No ! [ he said looking at the women] They are whores. We sit” My jaw dropped. What did this guy just say? I know I heard him but I couldn’t believe my ears. This guy didn’t let them sit with us, but rather made them stand close by. He was very curious to know where I come from, what I’m doing here. After chatting & drinking with him for about 30 minutes he got up and took his wallet out, took some money out and put them the bar and looked at the bartender who was watching his every move.
He looked at the girl behind the bar and said. “My friend have good time tonight!”… pats my shoulder and he leaves with the women. I won’t tell you how much money he left, but it was enough to get me sh*t-faced for the next 3 days. Clearly he had more money then he knew what to do with. The bartender didn’t touch the money and neither did I. For the next 30 minutes I quietly drank my beer and smoked about 5 cigarettes [I’m not a smoker], occasionally glancing at the cash in front of me. I was trying to figure out why he did that.
A. Was he just being a nice guy?
B. Did he want to show the women he had money to throw away?
C. Did he not realize the amount he left there?
D. Was there something he wanted me to do for it?
F*ck it, I paid my drinks, gave the girl a big tip, took the rest and walked out of the hotel. “Taxi!”. The driver brought me in the “Old town” where I stopped by an Irish pub. Irish pubs are everywhere on this planet. I bet if I go to Bagdad I will find an Irish pub. This place was also a karaoke bar. Very strange atmosphere; Irish pub & drinks, karaoke, super hot Estonian girls dancing (two of which wore cowboy hats)…
I ordered a beer from the bartender and decided to kill some time before making my way to the club. The next hour or so I spent socializing with some people, after which I left.
I walked directly to Club Hollywood. It was only a few blocks away. I had an amazing time there. I ended up meeting lots of Aussies, Brits, Finns, and of course Estonians. This club was awesome. The music was great, the women were hot and drinks were cheap. After dancing, drinking & socializing with people I’ve never met before, we left the club around 4 am. You can check some pictures from the club here. This is their official website:
I went with a group, I’ve met there, to eat. While most of them were waiting in line to buy their meal, I went for a walk with one of the girls I’ve met. We stumbled across someone who was passed out and incoherent. She tried speaking to him in Estonian and Russian, but we got no answer. The kid was clearly passed out. I searched his pockets and found out that he was British. I stayed with him while she went and called the police. After we left him in capable hands, we went back and joined the rest of the crowd.
Man… what a night…
Saturday January 20th 20007
By the time I got back to my hotel, it was 6 am. I went straight to bed and slept until 11:00am. I woke up packed up, went downstairs and had lunch. I checked my pockets. Even after buying lots of people drinks I still had some money left over from the Russian guy. I still couldn’t believe it. Maybe I should get the hell out of there before I’d run into him again. LOL I actually started laughing at that thought.
Some leftover Estonian currency
View from my hotel room. Pretty nice
After I finished my food I spent 30 minutes or so, surfing the net. I booked my hotel for tonight in Vantaa, checked my e-mail, etc. (I think I made a post here on Airliners.net as well) then took a taxi to the Old Town again. I still had about 3 hours before my boat would leave back to Helsinki. Unlike the previous day I had lots of time to walk around and enjoy the sights. It was a chilly wet morning, but I was dressed appropriate, so I didn’t mind at all.
Driving from my hotel to Tallinn’s “Old Town”. Has anyone here flown on Estonian Air? I wonder how they’re like…
The Old Town in Tallinn is like something out of a story-book. I absolutely love it. You can see a few pictures from there. Since I didn’t bring my camera with me to the clubs (seriously, I’d look like an idiot carrying a Nikon D50 with me. I should’ve bought a small pocket camera) I stopped by Club Hollywood again to take a few pictures of the building, just to remind myself where I’ve been.
Outside Club Hollywood
The following 8 shots are from Tallin’s Old Town
My favorite photo from Tallinn; It’s like a story-book city
After sightseeing for about 2 hours I walked to the boat terminal. It was very close by so taking a taxi wouldn’t be worth it. Besides, the cold air helped me “wake-up”. I bought my tickets from the Viking Line booth and made my way upstairs where I patiently waited to board the ship “Rosella”.
Port of Tallinn
Really cool advertisement board inside the port terminal
Tallinn’s “Old Town” seen from inside the terminal
Place to buy really cheap alcohol
The ship that would bring me back to Helsinki. Viking Line’s “Rosella”
The boat terminal was full of Finns who were returning home. Sometimes I’m under the impression that most of them only came here to buy the cheap alcohol. So many of them had carts full of beer, GIN, vodka and any other alcohol imaginable.
Soon we boarded the boat. I went to the cafeteria, bought “dinner” and sat quietly by myself, sorting through photos, etc. It got dark by now. We were to arrive in Helsinki around 20:00. Anne, Markus (Anne’s boyfriend) and Pauliina said they would pick me up from the terminal.
As we started to get near Helsinki, I decided to pack up my laptop/camera and made my way toward the main entrance / exit. I didn’t want to spend more time than I needed to on this boat. I was very busy and involved sorting through the photos, but all the sudden, once I got to the main hall I realized that something wasn’t quite right. What could it be? Oh yes… EVERYONE WAS DRUNK AS HELL. But wait, this is such a mixed crowd. I sat down on a bench and looked around trying to make sense of the situation.
- (Beside me) 17 year old kid with his little blonde girlfriends: DRUNK
- Across from me a guy I could’ve sworn was homeless. Well I don’t know if he was drunk, but he sure didn’t have all his screws in the right places. What was strange was that he had a wheelbarrow in which he carried boxes (?) wrapped in blankets. WTF? Oh, he also had a German Sheppard dog with him.
- Walking around back and forth was this 40+ Finnish man holding beer in his hand. His face: red His wife (?) was following him, her too drinking wine and stumbling back and forth. Both of them were BEYOND trashed
- Not far by three 50+ (year old) women with more makeup more than skin were drinking GIN. (I don’t even know what that drink is, but it comes in a regular can and sais GIN on it). Regardless, these women were absolutely wasted as well.
- Other characters: Truck drivers, little kids, grandparents, etc were all in the mix. I felt like I was in some nuthouse movie.
Anyway, we arrived in Helsinki. I passed through customs and got another fancy stamp on my passport. I was still shocked at how many people got so drunk in the three hours it took to come from Tallinn.
I met up with the girls and Markus and we drove directly to my hotel in Vantaa, where I got ready and the four of us went back to Helsinki to a karaoke bar. It was packed, so we didn’t stay very long.
Back in Helsinki, Finland. Such an amazing city
This street looks rather empty, but in a few hours it would be packed
We decided to go to another club instead. I forget the name, but it was very nice. One cool thing about it was that it had a separate enclosed room where they had it chilled down to -5C and the entire bar / tables, etc were made of ice. Well for 10 Euros we got to go in there wearing these funky “thermal coats” and got a Finlandia Vodka drink. A little expensive, but hey, it’s not every day I’m here.
The rest of the night was very cool. We drank, danced and just had an awesome time. Again I met a lot of people, but I mostly hung out with Pauliina. She’s an awesome girl and we got along very good.
Around 2:00 or 3:00 we left the bar. Markus (who didn’t drink at all) drove us back. I said goodbye to the girls and him and went upstairs to sleep. I had to wake up at 7:30am. My plane would be leaving around 11:15am the next morning. I called the front desk and requested a wake-up call and just to be sure I also put my cell phone alarm on. There was no way in hell I’d repeat Friday’s episode. The hotel offered a free shuttle service to Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport so that made things a little easier. With that I closed my eyes and went right to sleep.
THE FLIGHT FROM FINLAND TO CANADA
So like I’ve mentioned in part one of this report this was the itinerary. The “Outbound Flights” were covered there so again, you can see it by clicking on the link below:
YYC-SEA-CPH-HEL-TKU: AS/SK/AY (101 PICS) 1 Of 2 (by Vio Feb 20 2007 in Trip Reports)
Outbound Flights - January 11th / 12th 2007
Calgary – Seattle, Alaska Airlines B737-700
Seattle – Copenhagen, Scandinavian Airlines A340-300
Copenhagen - Helsinki Scandinavian Airlines MD-80
*Helsinki – Turku Aero Airlines ATR-72
Return Flights - January 21st 2007
Helsinki – Copenhagen Blue1 Avro
Copenhagen – Seattle Scandinavian Airlines A340-300
Seattle – Calgary Horizon Air CRJ
Now… back to the report:
Sunday January 21th 20007
At 7:30 my phone alarm started ringing. I really didn’t want to wake up, but I had no choice. I stumbled toward the shower but after it I felt like a new man. I was a little sad to leave Finland but I was a little excited about the trip back home; well I should say the trip to Copenhagen. I was NOT looking forward to the 10 hour flight from CPH to SEA.
I made sure I had everything in order and before I left the hotel I took a few pictures of my room and the view out the window.
The view from my hotel room, in Vantaa
I made my way downstairs and checked out of the hotel. The airport shuttle was waiting for me and it turns out I was the only one taking it this time. The driver helped me with my bags and asked me what airline I’m flying. Well I told him Blue1. Even though my ticket said SAS, the flight was actually operated by Blue1. As we drove from the hotel the airport I took my camera out and started taking some photos from around Vantaa.
The ride from the hotel to the airport.
Arriving at HEL/EFHK
Departures Area, just after I was dropped off by the hotel shuttle
First Leg – Sunday, January 21st 2007
Departure: Helsinki, Finland (HEL)
Arrival: Copenhagen, Denmark (CPH)
Flight number: KF641 / SK6606
Aircraft: BAE Systems Avro 146-RJ85
Photo © Jari Kiiski
Departure: 11:15 (actual 11:35)
Arrival: 11:55 (actual 12:00)
The drive was fairly short and before I knew it we were pulling up to the departures area. It had started to snow by now and the entire “atmosphere” was surreal. I couldn’t believe I was at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and I’m just about to leave it again. This was “1999 Déjà vu” all over again. I walked inside the terminal and proceeded to my the check-in counter. I must’ve been 4th in line at the desk and the 1st for the Blue1 flight to Copenhagen.
Check-in counter for Scandinavian Airlines and Blue1
I checked in two pieces of luggage and kept my laptop bag and my camera bag. It was around 8:45am and my flight was not scheduled for departure until 11:15. I had plenty of time to walk around the airport and take photos.
Checking the departures screen. Blue1’s flight KF641 to Copenhagen was to depart from Gate 21
Prior to passing security
Hieman mukavampaa (“A little bit nicer” would be the translation)… Blue1 of Finland
Passing through security was relatively simple. I guess the part I hate the most about it is taking out my laptop, but these guys and girl were very friendly and polite. After clearing it I started walking around the terminal taking photographs. I was hoping to see a Finnair MD-11 or a FinnComm aircraft. The airport was pretty dead. Then again, it was Sunday morning. Here are some photographs:
Inside Helsinki-Vantaa’s international terminal. I wonder what type of plane OH-ABB is? Check out the floor. Pretty cool.
Finnair Boeing 757 parked at the gate... Does anyone know where it might have been going?[b]
[b]Finnair A320 taxiing by…
I need to find a name for this guy. I was thinking “Jukka”
Inside terminal at HEL/EFHK
”The Oak Barrel”. Not a very Finnish name, but it does the trick. This is the pub where I had a few beers right after I arrived in Helsinki (see the previous report)
Finnair Embraer 170
FinnComm ATR 42. I have a DVD about this airline, so I wanted to see it for a while now
After learning that my flight to Copenhagen was delayed, I decided to grab some breakfast and wonder around the airport taking more photos.
KF641/SK6606 to CPH was delayed until 11:35am
Again, the Finnair 757. Such an awesome airplane
Another A320 taxiing on a snowy Helsinki morning
One of the best schemes around
Shortly before 11:00am I returned to Gate 21 where I met up with the Canadian couple from Edmonton. If you remember from part one of this report, they were the two who went to Oulu to see a family member who was playing hockey there. We shared some good stories from our trip so time passed by quickly. Around 11:15am the aircraft that would bring us to CPH , an Avro RJ85 (OH-SAO), arrived at the gate. This was my first time flying in one so I was quite excited to fly this “jumbolino”, as my Swiss friend called it.
Blue1’s RJ85 (OH-SAO) pulling up to Gate 21.
SAS ground crew worked very hard to minimize the delay[b]
[b]Beräknas avgå..på Svenska..
Not long after OH-SAO arrived, we started boarding and like always I was the last one to board the aircraft. I can’t recall what seat I was assigned, but the aircraft wasn’t 100% so I chose to sit on the first row, on the right side of the aircraft. I had both seats to myself.
Gate 21. Everyone had boarded by now, but don’t worry, I wasn’t holding anyone back
Well what a pleasant surprise. This little “jumbo” was such a great little plane. Blue1 kept it very clean and the leg-room was great. Also I couldn’t complain about the in flight crew. They were all very cute. As soon as I sat down, I pullet out my camera and started taking some photos. The de-icing truck was just ready to do its thing and I know how messy it can get.
Helsinki-Vantaa’s control tower. Very nice design
I snapped this shot just as the de-icing process began. This photo was taken with a 50mm fixed zoom lens and I couldn’t get a winder angle than that.
I was a little disappointed at the fact that the de-icing fluid obstructed my entire view, so I couldn’t take any photos. Oh well, I’m sure having “clean” windows was their last concern. We pushed back shortly after. I am not familiar with EHFK’s taxi / runway layout, so I’m not sure what runway we took off from, but as soon as we had the gear up we entered cloud. It was snowing moderately, so there wasn’t much to see. Too bad I left Finland after it started to snow so nice.
As we flew along the Finnish coast the F/As started to serve us food. Food?!?! What’s going on?... That’s not something you see on 1.5 hour flights anymore. It was just a small sandwich, an orange juice and coffee, but hey, better than nothing. About half an hour later I decided to have a glass of wine, so I took 5 Euros out of my pocket “ready to order”.
The light lunch served onboard KF641
“Oh, it doesn’t cost anything sir”, said the F/A.
“Are you serious?” I asked, “Ha, cool, you don’t see that nowadays on short trips… t least not in Canada”.
“Well that’s one of the reasons you should fly again with us”, she smiled.
“Fly? Can I have a job here?” I joked.
Not bad… not bad…
Anyway, I chatted a bit with her and I asked her if it was possible to have a quick peak at the flight deck and say hello to the pilots once we land in Copenhagen. I knew they may be on a tight schedule, but you never know, maybe they had a minute for me. I wanted to ask them a few questions about the plane and the route. She said “Let me check with the captain”. Since there wasn’t much to see out the window and nobody to chat with, I decided to read a bit.
My new “fav. book”… Good way to pass time…
Once we started our descent I decided that I need to use the little boy’s room and I better do it quickly, before the captain turns on the seat-belt signs. I also managed to take a shot from the rear of the cabin.
Just as I returned to my seat, the “buckle-up” sign illuminated. I turned my attention to the outside. The window had cleared “a bit”. You can see the photos are a little “foggy” and due to the limitations of my lens, I couldn’t take wider angle shots.
Initial descent into Copenhagen
Descent into CPH
I bet this is a nice place to spot
Short final to what I think it’s runway 22L at CPH. Can someone confirm this?
The landing was fairly smooth considering the windy conditions that day. While we were taxiing, the F/A came to me and said “You can go see the flight deck if you stay behind until everyone leaves the aircraft.” I was very excited. While we taxied to the gate I took a few more shots.
As soon as everyone left the aircraft I walked up to the cock-pit and said hello to the captain (who was filling out his log-book) and the F/O. For a brief second I lost my track of though once I saw the First Officer. Wow, what a hottie. She was gorgeous and I think the fact that she was a pilot made it even better. They were both very nice and a quick chat about the plane and Blue1. I didn’t want to take up their time. I knew they were very busy. Anyway I left the aircraft and looked at my watch. It was just a little passed noon.
OH-SAO being readied for her flight back to Helsinki
The engines look much bigger from inside the aircraft
Hottie, First Officer…
Soon, she’d be on her way back to Vantaa, Finland
Even though we departed late we only arrived a few minutes late. We must’ve made up for the lost time, in the air. I tried to orient myself to where I need to go next. I had more than 3.5 hours until my next flight would leave for Seattle. I started walking toward the main shopping area…
Air One 737 at the gate
I wanted to see an Icelandair 757 for a while now…
Second Leg – Sunday, January 21st 2007
Departure: Copenhagen, Denmark (CPH)
Arrival: Seattle, Washington, (SEA)
Operator: Scandinavian Airlines
Flight number: SK937
Aircraft: Airbus A340-313X
Photo © Robert Nicander
Once I figured out where I need to go, I decided to walk around the airport, do a little shopping, take some photos, maybe have a bite to eat and drink a cold Danish beer. After. After an hour or so of walking around, my feet started to hurt. The pair of shoes I bought from Estonia were terrible. They looked nice, but were very uncomfortable. I decided to find a good place to eat and relax. I came across a place called “Caviar House & Prunier”. I had marinated salmon, which was pretty much the best fish I have ever eaten in my life. I ended up having a beer and chatting with a chap from UK for more than an hour. During this time, I kept taking photos of airplanes. He was also a fan of airliners.net, so if you see this mate, cheers to you!
Picture linked from CPH’s official website
Here are some ”Traffic Photos” from around CPH. Quite diverse compared to my home airport
Closeup of SpjuteViking’s nose
SE-DIU parked at the gate
SAS A340 “heavy” landing in the distance
Icelandair 757 taxiing for departure
SE-DMB in Star Alliance colors parked at the gate. This is the exact aircraft that brought me to Helsinki on Friday January 12th
Iran Air, leaving from Tehran
Turkish A321 taxiing to the active
How can you not notice this one?
Soon it was time for me to head to the gate for my next flight. The waiting area seemed rather small, considering there were two heavies departing pretty much at the same time; our A340 to Seattle and a SAS 330 to Chicago. By this time, I started to get very tired. The lack of sleep for the past 10 days was taking effect. All I wanted to do was sleep. We boarded the aircraft and pushed back on time. It was going to be a long flight... more than 10 hours. I tried to keep myself awake to take some photos of the take-off.
Lifting off, for the long flight to Seattle
Very strong winds in Copenhagen that day…
As soon as I was satisfied with the amount of photos I took, I shut the blind and fell asleep instantly. I didn’t even wake up to eat. By the time I opened my eyes we were already over British Columbia, Canada. Wow, that’s exactly the way long haul flights should be. I woke up really rested. The only other time this has happened was in 1998 when I flew on a Lufthansa 747 from Frankfurt to Toronto. Usually, I have a hard time sleeping on planes.
Late afternoon over British Columbia, Canada
I got up a bit to stretch my legs and drink some water. I think we had about an hour to go until we would arrive in Seattle. Being asleep in the same position for about 9 hours made standing up a pleasure. In the back galley I had a coffee and started chatting with a Swedish gentleman and the F/As. Right then the Captain came to the back.
“So who’s flying the aircraft?” I joked.
“Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!” he answered.
We ended up chatting for about 15 minutes about SAS and the A340. I told him I’m just about to finish my IFR and then I’d have to start looking for a job. He was a really nice guy. I soon returned to my seat and chatted a bit with the girl sitting next to me. She was also Canadian and was returning home from a trip in England. That’s a weird way of coming back to Vancouver… LHR–CPH–SEA–YVR? Strange… You’d think she had other options from there. Not long after that, we started our descend into Seattle. I’ve seen one of the most beautiful sunsets ever. It was gorgeous. The pictures don’t do any justice.
I wasn’t expecting to take this path. I thought we’d end up East of Vancouver
Approach to SEA
Seattle’s Space Needle
Touchdown after the long flight from CPH. Well it didn’t feel that long for me
Taxiing to the “South Satellite” terminal
One of Alaska Airline’s MDs being towed in the hangar
Northwest Airline’s hangar
Once we arrived at the gates, I waited patiently for everyone to leave. I snapped a few shots of the interior cabin of the A340 and proceeded to customs.
Economy Class of SAS’s A340
Before entering the US Customs area
Just as I arrived in the customs area at SEA passengers from an Eva Air flight from Taipei arrived. This was the most painful process I have ever been through. To make things better another flight from Mexico arrived. With only about 10 agents working and more than 500 passengers, mostly who had to be fingerprinted and photographed, it took more than 1 hour and 45 minutes to clear customs. Horrible! By the time I collected my luggage (yes I had to collect it then bring it to another conveyor belt, for the transfer to Calgary), I think my bags were some of the last to be picked up. An SAS agent apologized. Well it’s not her fault. Note to self: Avoid traveling via the US next time. Nobody was rude and I know everyone was just doing their job the best they could, but the process was ridiculous to say the least. That’s my opinion… right or wrong…
Second Leg – Sunday, January 21st 2007
Departure: Seattle, Washington, (SEA)
Arrival: Calgary, Canada (YYC)
Operator: Horizon Air
Flight number: 2544
Aircraft: Airbus Canadair CL-600-2C10 Regional Jet CRJ-701
Photo © Richard Austen
I was getting hungry by now. I didn’t have anything to eat since Copenhagen, so I headed to a pub. I had more than 4 hours until my next flight to Calgary. The entire bar was going crazy. What the hell? Oh.. the football game. Patriots v.s. Indianapolis Colts. I’ve never heard so many “late pages” in my life.
“Alaska Airlines is paging Mr. so and so… Your flight has boarded and is about to leave”. Just like Canadians love their hockey, Europeans their football, Americans love well American Football. (I am European myself and I will never call it soccer!).
I only saw the last part of the game. I’m not crazy about American Football, but I do enjoy watching it. After having dinner at the pub and chatting with some folks I walked to my gate where I waited patiently (reading) until my flight to Calgary was scheduled to leave.
The Pub “Alaska Lodge” was packed during the NFL game
Walking to my gate for the flight to Calgary
Shortly before boarding the CRJ to Calgary
We boarded the aircraft by walking outside the terminal. Pretty cool. It allowed me to take a picture of the airplane. Again, due to my lens, I couldn’t fit the entire aircraft into one frame. For the 2nd time today, I had a lady pilot, but this time, she was the captain. Very cool that we see more and more women in aviation.
Before boarding the plane to Calgary
Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.