Our next adventure is in Lapland, which doesn’t look all that far north thanks to map projections, but is actually 440 miles/700 km from Helsinki. Flights take about an hour, the train takes 11 hours, and driving takes about 12. We weren’t in a hurry, so we decided to take the train (and save some money).
They offer an overnight train where you can book a sleeping cabin, which is something neither of us had experienced before. This all sounded very exciting and I had romantic visions of the sleeping cabins you see in the movies. Stefan decided to hedge his bets and made me have a couple drinks before we boarded.
I’m pleased to report that the cabins actually worked out great! They are small, of course, but its much more comfortable than an airplane seat. Each cabin has 2 bunks, a small seat, a sink, its own thermostat, a mirror, a place to hang up your clothes while you sleep, room to store your bags under the bottom bed, and a window. Some even have en suite toilets and showers, while the others have access to shared ones. (Yes, showers). Also, there was free wifi.
The train also had a dining car, which sounded more glamourous than it was, but did offer quite a lot of food and drink. And it was fun to walk between train cars to get there.
The shower had surprisingly adequate amounts of water coming out of it, but you had to push a button repeatedly to make the water continue to flow. 100 pushes later and you were clean, though!
Sleeping was a little strange with the motion of the train – every time it slowed down I was worried we were missing our stop (they don’t make any announcements in the sleeping cabins). Also, its pretty easy to hear your neighbours – if I spoke Finnish, I’d certainly know everything about the people next to us.
All in all, though, it was a very pleasant journey! Finding and boarding the train was easy, the cabin was comfortable, and there was gorgeous scenery outside. I definitely recommend it!