We'd only gone to Helsinki for a day, for a meeting with our Nokia clients. After five days waiting and hoping for a flight out of Helsinki, as clouds of volcanic ash drifted across the skies of Europe, we finally gave up. Anything was better than staying another day in limbo, waiting for the air to clear.
So, we started on an epic journey too depressing for even Aki Kaurismaki to contemplate turning it into a road movie. There were seven of us from Wieden + Kennedy London trying to make it back home: David, Daisy, Alex, Javier, Nev, Ralph and Neil.
Dep: Helsinki 17:00 Arr: Stockholm 09:30
M/S Silja Symphony Ferry
The ferry was like a giant Butlin's at sea: an enormous floating pleasuredome of bars, buffets, casinos, nightclubs, fruit-machines, drag shows, and karaoke booths, all thronging with Finns smoking like beagles and drinking brutal quantities of duty-free vodka.
We enjoyed our buffet dinner; Nev took full advantage with a pudding comprising caviare, chocolate brownie, sour cream and lemon. Meanwhile our neighbouring diners bashed the table with their cutlery and sang 'we will rock you'. At length and with gusto.
Last night we heard that Heathrow airport had reopened. But as our ferry approaches Stockholm this morning, the aiport here is still closed. Helpfully, neither Stockholm airport website, nor Swedavia website carries so much as a mention of the volcanic ash cloud situation. Nor do they seem to be on twitter or facebook. Nice work, Swedish air travel webmasters.
Remaining schedule currently looks like:
Hire Car – Stockholm Vartahamnen – Malmo approx 615KM (6.5 hrs)
Finnlines Ferries Malmo 22:00 Travemunde (Germany) 07:00
Taxi: Travemunde – Lubeck Hauptbahnhof (18km approx 22 Mins)
Then we take to the trains:
1. Lubeck Hbf 0842 Hamburg Hbf 0925
2. Hamburg Hbf 0946 Koln Hbf 1346
3. Koln Hbf 1443 1635 Bruxelles Midi 1635
4. Brussels Midi 1715 Paris Gare du Nord 1835