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Monday, 2 May 2016

Finland Part 15: Traveling On VR Night Train From Rovaniemi To Helsinki


One of the things I looked forward to while travelling in Finland was taking the long distance night train from Rovaniemi to Helsinki, reason being I have never traveled on a night train in any part of Europe before. I was also eager to find out how it is like having our own private cabin (for two persons) with sleeping berths and ensuite shower room and toilet. 
We arrived at Rovaniemi Railway Station about an hour before our train arrived. This was our last evening in Lapland as we would be travelling the length of Finland to its capital city in the south. The journey was going to last 12 hours.
As we lined up our luggage to board the train, there was a little excitement. We would be in Helsinki, a brand new city in my travel list, by 9am the next morning. On the other hand, I was sure I was going to miss Lapland in the Artic region. So many memories have been created experiencing things never experienced before but all these would be cherished I was sure.
We got to see our train at last. We were traveling on VR,  formerly known as Suomen Valtion Rautatiet which is a state owned railway company. The departure time was 9.15pm.
Our big luggage had to be stored in a separate luggage compartment. My cabin was two compartments away from where my luggage was stored. The train consists of the upper compartment, the middle deck and the lower compartment. My cabin was located on the upper compartment which is the only compartment with ensuite washrooms.
From the outside,  the cabins look just like hotel rooms.
Passengers were given key cards to access their cabins.
I had too high an expectation I supposed as the cramped-up cabin was definitely not a pleasant surprise.There was hardly enough space to move about. There was only one small seat, one small table, one small window, narrow double-decker sleeping berths and a small ladder to the upper berth. I found it hard to even open my hand luggage due to lack of space. There were no counter top to put our belongings and our things had to be scattered on the floor.


I slept on the upper berth but to be frank sleep quality was not there as the train rattled away the whole night. Each passenger was given one towel and 1 bottle of drinking water.
The ensuite washroom has a tiny wash basin, a bathroom cabinet and a toilet. Toilet roll and soap were provided but I had a bad experience here. It was clearly stated that this is a shower room but I was almost chilled to death as there was serious water rationing here. While still having soap on the body I had to wait close to 10 minutes to gather 5 small paper cups of water each time the tap flowed. The next 5 cups would come on after a lapse of another 7-8 minutes. The conclusion is, even though this is a 'shower room' it is not a place one can freely shower.
Passengers are free to walk from one carriage to another. To do so one has to ascend and descend small flight of stairs at intermittent distance.

The carriages are separated by electronically operated doors.
Towards the end of each carriage, there is a WiFi zone.
I made my way to the restaurant compartment where hot meals and beverages could be purchased.
The restaurant table and chairs

The Small Towns We Passed Through
Along the journey we made pit stops at various small towns for passengers to alight and to board.

Helsinki At Last
After close to 12 hours, our train finally arrived at Helsinki.

Helsinky Railway Station is a bustling place in the city centre. We had to drag our bags quite a long distance to a restaurant to take our breakfast.
 Helsinki would be our last destination in Finland before flying home.
The train journey was not that great an experience but it was an experience nevertheless!


Finland Part 7: Cumulus Kemi, My Hotel in Kemi

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