Tallinn, Estonia

I meet Dad at the train station in Helsinki and caught a taxi back to the hotel. We had an early night because we had to get up 4 something something the next morning for a boat across the Gulf of Finland to Estonia. Good thing about Europe, the countries are so close, which seems like a silly thing to say, but they are a lot further away in Australia.

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Helsinki – Take 2, this time with mohawks.

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.

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Saint Petersburg – It is very famous in Russia, you know it?

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.

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Day 4 – Iceland to Helsinki – Midsummer

Today started early, again. 4 AM alarm, got dressed, checked out, and into the car.

Seems accurate.
Seems accurate.

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.

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It’s Alive!

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.

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Who said iPads were productive?

So the laptop wont boot/stay operational for more than 30 seconds. Much Googling and attempts to do a verify disk on the SSD resulted in nothing. Even Single User Mode crapped out. Either the SSD or the logic board (motherboard – stupid Apple and their special names…) are dead. The SSD even disappeared from Finder and the Disk Utility. I was concerned and alert, but not alarmed, no I was franking out. I have two tablets on this trip, and one of them has a magical cable that can connect an SD card to it to import photos. So it can still go through some JPGs from my Pentax Q. But I couldn’t process any DNG files from my DSLR.
After about 30min of serious frustration, I went down stairs to start Googling the location of an Apple Retail store in Helsinki. There isn’t one. Plus side – I wouldn’t have to speak to a Genius and explain why I have an über fast, larger and non-functional after-market SSD in my laptop. I started checking the prices of a new laptop in €. Wow. Nearly $700 more than Australia by the time I spec it out to what I need. Not really an option.
Ok, back to Plan B. iPad. These things are magically devices that do stuff right? I can get some DNG processing software – not really. I can still write stuff with it – kind of. Did you know it is really hard to center (misspelled for HTML tags) an image in the WordPress app? Get two images on a row using a table? Nope, that’s not gone well. Whoever said you can be productive on a tablet mustn’t be very productive on a laptop. Also, DNG, I really want to process my photos.

Day 1 – Iceland – I knew that was a Thorn!

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.

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Day 0 – Singapore Helsinki Copenhagen Reykjavik

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.

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