Budget Trip: Helsinki, Finland

Stretching the dollar is a great skill to have, especially when you are abroad wanting to see the world! This weekend my friends and I decided to take a trip to Helsinki, Finland. In total, the trip cost about $75 and that included, food, drinks, souvenirs and a two night stay on the Viking Line Stockholm to Helsinki cruise ship.

Day 1

The start of the trip was insane as per usual on most of my excursions. We thought we arrive on the cruise ship early and gave ourselves a 50 minute buffer before the departure time. However, multiple things went awry. We were waiting for half of the “Fall Squad” close by where the boats were docked…but this is what went down:

Boat leaves at 4:30, Check-in closes at 4:20

3:30-We arrive at Slussen where the boats are docked a 15 minute walk away

3:40-I get hungry and run to the McDonalds to go eat some chicken nuggs

3:45-Half the fall squad hasn’t arrived at our “meeting point”

3:50-I text the fall squad and ask their whereabouts

3:55-They respond with “We are almost there”

4:00-We respond with “Where is there”

4:05-No response

4:10-No response

4:11-They text back,”Where are you guys? We are at the check-in location.”

4:11-We started dead on sprinting to the check-in location

4:15-I run out of breath and feel sick from just consuming McDonalds + running, so I slow down

4:16-Start running

4:17-Stop running

4:18-Almost give up hope

4:20-Arrived at check-in and thankfully was allowed to get on the boat

(I really need to stop running to catch, busses, trains, cars, boats, but I feel as it is now my destiny to do so.)

After we successfully arrived on the boat, we dropped off our bags in our small four person cabins and headed up to the upper deck to get some air. The sights we saw were gorgeous! There was typical Swedish style houses engulfed in the lush green forest, islands peacefully floating in the wayside, and the brisk breeze that followed the moving boat. I stayed on the deck until it became too cold for me to bare and went with part of the group to the lounge area.

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The small islands, peacefully there, as the boat moved past.
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The side of the ship as we headed off to Finland.
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My day ones…my go twos, Anna (left) and Anisa (right).
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The sunset as we left Stockholm.

Shortly after we arrived, a pianist came right next to us and sang tunes from Adele, Alesha Keys, and other smooth female singers. We stayed there until dinner where we had nice thick and juicy burgers. We spent the rest of the night talking, going to the disco and preparing for the next day in Helsinki.

Day 2

It was 10 am, and the girls cabin woke up to a booming noise on the side wall. The boy’s cabin, right next to us, was banging ferociously on the wall. We had no choice but to wake up for the day and quickly get ready. Groggy and tired from heading to bed at 3am the night before, we gathered our cameras, and phones to conquer the day in Finland.

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The ships docked on the side of Helsinki.

Helsinki was not what I expected. Although beautiful, it was very quiet and quaint. It felt a lot like Des Moines in that it had very short buildings all throughout the city. The major thing we did that day was walk to Sokos Hotel Torni which was the highest point of Helsinki. Since the buildings were shorter, you could see the skyline all the way to the waters from which we came.

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Quiet and still Helsinki during the day.
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Big Nick, casually just taking pics.
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The photo wizard Gabriel and me.
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Fall Squad, suited up in black as per usual haha.

Around this time, our stomachs were making noises, and we thought it was time for a quick meal. The quick meal rapidly turned into aimless wandering for the next couple of hours. The group eventually split up to cover more ground, but that turned into more aimless wandering.

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Aimlessly walking and eating good food makes Fall Squad tired!

Before we knew it, we had to head back onto the boat around 4:30…but what’s that? Oh yeah, two of the Fall Squad members lost their boarding passes. Stressed out and rushed, we all quickly went to the check-in desk, where they told them they couldn’t print another ticket. Desperate, they both went up to the entry guards who graciously let them in because they found them in their system.

The rest of the boat ride was spent revisiting the burger place we went to before, but with a slightly more annoyed staff (The waitress was not too keen to my ordering of only bread and water :P). Regardless, we all finished our meal, went to our respective cabins and talked till midnight. By then, most of us were too tired to do anything, so we soon went to bed.

Day 3

We arrived in Stockholm at 10am the next day still tired and still moving from staying on the boat most of the weekend. Overall, the cruise was worth it because of the company I had. It was also worth it because of the cheap expense. I’d highly recommend taking it with your closest buds if you ever drop into Stockholm for the weekend. Till next time!

Photos courtesy of Y-man and G-Wagon

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