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Bristol to Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki_20Room_outside

Bristol to Helsinki, Finland

Bristol has a fantastic brand spanking airport, in fact it’s my favourite airport. I hate having to fly from any other airport in the UK. Especially Heathrow or Gatwick but needs must.

We decided to get the coach from Bristol direct to Heathrow Terminal 3.

It’s cheap as chips – £38 for both of us. The equivalent train journey would have cost a hell of a lot more and would have involved a lot more hassle so it was a no-brainer to catch the coach.

Serena had the good foresight to reserve some extra legroom seats on the coach. I just knew that by the time we got on the coach someone else would be sitting in our seats and I was right. Unsurprisingly National Express failed to put the reserved signs on our seats.

I’m always surprised when anyone actually does their job properly these days. In fairness, I use National Express a lot for work and they are usually very good.

Anyway Serena turfed him out and we sat in our extra leg room seats for a couple of hours before arriving at T3, Heathrow.

Something on my person set the alarm off while going through security and I had to go through the body scanner. The security man wiped my boots for traces of drugs and explosives (needless to say I had neither on them) and let me through. Then my camera bag strap got stuck in the roller which was embarrassing. It took me ages to release it, much to the annoyance of the ever expanding queue building up to my right.

We stuffed our faces in a Pret A Manger (the girl who served us was a dead ringer for the girl in Stranger Things) and boarded our plane.

Again, Serena had the splendid foresight to book extra legroom seats next to the emergency exit so I extended my legs forthwith and settled in for the flight.

The flight was fairly uneventful, apart from the three Finn’s in front of us who were determined to drink the plane dry. I counted, two bottles of champagne each, several gin and tonics and numerous beers by the time the plane came to a halt at Helsinki airport. They were good natured though. I think the stewardesses were getting a bit annoyed because they kept calling them over to bring them more alcohol and tissues to mop up the booze they kept spilling. They were all wearing Ministry of Sound wristbands so they had obviously been raving all weekend and intended on carrying on the party on the plane.

I did chuckle to myself as they supported each other as they disembarked. They were absolutely pissed as farts. Like us Brits the Finns like a drink or two.

Anyway, I digress. Here’s some useful information.

We had to make our way to Helsinki by train from the airport.

If you are doing the same; for the love of god, whatever you do buy a ticket before you make your way down to the train platform. They’ve got one of the longest escalators ever (which almost reaches the centre of the earth) and you can’t buy tickets down on the platform. There are plenty of ticket machines available before you head down to the train station. As punishment I made Serena go all the way back up again to buy our tickets after she convinced me we’d be able to buy tickets on the platform.

Note to self (Remember, I’m always right). 🙂

Here’s an example of the tickets we bought – €2.90 each which is a bit of a bargain.

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We were staying in a hostel called ’20Rooms’ in a place called ‘Hiekkaharju’ which was three stops away from the airport.

The trains are pretty efficient, clean and generally quite safe. It was knocking on for midnight and there were still plenty of people milling around. There were very helpful members of staff (who all speak English) in hi-viz jackets on hand to help you out.

Helsinki_train_sign

We arrived at Hiekkaharju and spent about five minutes trying to work out whether we should go left or right out of the station. Eventually after consulting Google Maps we found or hostel.

It was 600 metres to our hotel. We had to drag our pull-along cases through ice, snow and grit and eventually arrived ‘with sore arms’ at our destination.

It was past midnight by now so we had to let ourselves in using the door code that ‘Fanni had emailed us’. I’m 43 years of age and the idea of someone having the name of ‘Fanni’ still makes me chortle.

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