The train ride back to Helsinki was punctuated by the Russian border control taking my passport for a while and going for a walk, to another carriage. Turns out my visa had been stuck in the passport upside down, and they couldn’t scan it on their machines. Didn’t have any issues getting into Russia, but this time they wanted to check with a supervisor on what to do – manually type in the visa details on their machines.
The first day we had booked a guide for The Hermitage. It was within walking distance from the hotel, so we set off on foot. The cost of the guide paid for itself when they negotiated our way through all of the queues and straight into the museum before it was actually open. I think they used dad’s walking stick as an excuse. The only down side was I didn’t like being rude, and cutting past that many people was a bit award, they had been waiting a long time to get in.
Today started early, again. 4 AM alarm, got dressed, checked out, and into the car.
We negotiated the rather quiet and slightly familiar streets back to the highway to the airport. There were hardly any cars, but there were some roadworks at 4:30AM! Good time to do them, no one about. Dropped off the car, walked the 1.5km back to the terminal, and lined up for baggage drop. They asked to see passports, but only to confirm our tickets. Dad asked about passport control, “Not until you return to the UK.” Ha! Jokes on you, I mean, of course, not until we return to the UK.
We had finally started getting onto GMT, and woke after 7, without an alarm.
Today was spent around Reykjavik. First stop was the Leifer Erricson monument out the front of Hall church. They have a lift to take you up 8 stories in the bell tower. Much easier than stairs. From there you can see most of Reykjavik.
Day two started early again. Awake before 7 without an alarm. Breakfast, gear check, and we headed off again. Down the same tourist route, but this time along the southern coast towards some more waterfalls and a glacier or two.
I am no longer carrying around a 1.3KG (stylish) paper weight in the backpack. The MacBook Air is back, and no thanks to Apple, well a little, but I still hate them.
On returning to Finland I set off to try and find the Apple (non-official ‘Retail’) store. Between the hotel and the shopping centre I actually passed two Apple service centres, one was closed until late July. I forged on towards the one I had checked out online. They told me they couldn’t help, but told me where to find their chain’s service centre, just a block over. So I set off and managed to find it fairly quickly. I explained my predicament, and showed them the laptop. They understood the issue, but weren’t able to help.
After about 12 hours (of well needed) sleep we both woke up well before breakfast was to be served in the hotel so we headed off for a wander down to the front. The sun was bright and warm, but I very quickly regretted not grabbing my jacket, the wind off the ocean was freezing. A couple of locals out for a morning jog said hello as they passed while we did the tourist thing and took photos of nothing in particular.
Iceland is about as far from Melbourne as you can get.
Today/yesterday/a week last Tuesday started early, 5AM early. After getting the bags into the car we headed off to the airport. I was supposed to fly into Melbourne today, but the flight to Singapore had been bumped up by 3 hours so I came down a 12hrs earlier. At least it was a good run in to the airport, until we hit the airport exit. Took 15min to crawl the last 1km to the terminal.
We quickly checked in and head to the Qantas lounge – a perk of flying with Dad. Eggs for breakfast and a quick top up on my phone battery.
We checked out of the hotel and got our luggage out the front and the door man asked for our driver’s name. “Praveen”, he went over to the desk and picked up a phone, which was connected to a really REALLY loud megaphone pointed at the car park. There were about 10 cars and drivers waiting for their passengers. “Something something Praveen something something” and one of the cars started moving.