An early start was made from Stockholm, from which a Viking Line coach was taken to Kapellskar. There, I boarded the Rosella - the veteran of the fleet, but recently renovated with cabin areas converted into extra lounge and cafeteria spaces. Although the morning began cloudy, as we motored out of Kapellskar, we came quickly into clear sunlight. Birka Paradise passed to starboard (above) while large numbers of day trippers took seats on deck (below).
A very sinister (and contradictory) 'no admittance' sign. The pictogram depicts a crewman with a look as friendly and non-threatening as a London rioter on Saturday night in Tottenham. Besides, a hand gesturing 'halt' and a red line means 'don't not come in' - a double negative:
Much, much nicer are Rosella's lovely and talented singing pursers, who, having completed their embarkation duties at the bureau, appeared on deck to front a little dance band. They even had great voices - Finland's got talent, it appears (every ferry should have similar!):
Surviving fragments of Rosella's original interiors look smarter than the new areas, which appeared to have been done too cheaply and quickly. In contrast, the 1970s spaces have considerable charm:
Some grafitti in the terminal in Mariehamn - somebody likes the Galaxy:
Rosella manoeuvres in Mariehamn at the beginning of the midday rush hour when five ferries call in quick succession:
Magnificent Silja Europa reverses towards her berth:
Galaxy leaves for Stockholm:
Isabella, Amorella, Galaxy and Silja Europa pass off Mariehamn. Two are en route to Stockholm and two to Turku. They call in pairs for only twenty minutes each to enable day trippers to transfer and everyone potentially to buy duty free goods.
Isabella and Eriksson's famous 'Fyling P' full rigger Pommern:
Isabella and Amorella:
Onboard Isabella as we leave for Turku:
Isabella's interiors are generally in reasonable condition, considering how heavily used this ferry constantly seems to be. 24/7, she's full of people and so she receives a lot of punishment. The restaurants are spruce and attractive, but the linking arcade, hallways and nightclub are rather fragmentary and cluttered with all sorts of accumulated stuff:
Animal pictograms to guide drivers to the correct car deck:
Horrid, horrid, horrid: a sticky-back advertisement for vodka stuck on the forward-facing perspex panels surrounding the sundeck and thereby blocking the view ahead to the archipelago scenery. Surely, this deserves a ShitPax award?
Details of classic Finnish ferry passengers (they're very distinctive):
The Viking Buffet - a lovely space with panoramic forward views:
Luncheon in the Food Garden a la carte - as always with Viking Line, this was very good:
There, I overnighted on the preserved Bore, originally a Sweden-Finland ferry of the 1960s and latterly the cruise ship Kristina Regina. This has been bought by a local entrepreneur and restored externally to the original livery:
Inboard, the Bore looks magnificent but, until the owner succeeds in getting the air conditioning working, rather warm and musty:
A 'firt generation' Sundbuss, now a Turku-based excursion ship:
Turku's magnificent late-1930s railway station: