One Ship. Two days. Three countries. 1200 Erasmus students on board. The theme? Pirates! AHOY! Intrigued yet? My experience goes something like this:
The adventure begins at the port of Tallinn. When I arrived there all I could see were pirates. Erasmus pirates from all over the world gathering together for an amazing cruise in order to conquer the Baltic sea. Everyone was dressed up as a pirate. Eye-patches, sabers, pistols and big captain hats with skulls were all over the place. As soon as I found my EBS pirate crew we took our tickets and got on board.
During the boarding, I must say, normal passengers seemed a little bit confused seeing us all wearing pirate costumes on the ship but it was fun for us. First thing to do was to find our cabins and leave our stuff inside. Then we went for a small ship exploration. On the way, we met tons of other pirate crews from all over the world and shared cool stories from our amazing life abroad. A couple of hours later we reached the unknown for us, a land full of promises.
First stop? Helsinki!
Our time was limited. We only had 4 hours to explore all the hidden treasures of Finland. We drew a quick map of the city, as a true pirate would do, and selected the top places to see in the limited time we had. Well, we didn’t actually draw a map, google maps was our guide, but we are pirates! And pirates are badasses! So, for the sake of the story let’s say we did. Helsinki is a beautiful city with tons of churches and beautiful places to visit. Hence, our first stop was McDonald’s. Come on, don’t judge me, we were on the ship for two hours and our pirate bellies were empty, we needed a cheap and fast solution.
With our stomachs full and our excitement on the roof, we rushed on the streets of Helsinki to explore as much as we could in the time we had left. Various churches and Art Nouveau influenced buildings are everywhere in the city. Helsinki Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral and Uspenski Cathedral were few of the places we visited. After a few hours before we even realized it was time to head back to the ship for the next adventure.
One of the important things for pirates is food. Luckily, a huge delicious buffet dinner was waiting for us when we got on board. Food itself isn’t enough though. Music and dancing are a must for a proper cruise. That’s why there was a swing dance class inside the ship. It was time for us to move our bodies to the lovely rhythm of swing music. But still that was not enough. Activities like costume competition, bingo, karaoke and many more made our night on the ship awesome.
Next stop? Stockholm!
When the morning came, Sweden was next. Stockholm is definitely one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. Visiting the old town and walking through the narrow alleys was a good way to start our exploration. Again, our time was limited but that didn’t stop us from experiencing the beauty that this city has to offer. Countless waterways passing through the city area and lots of parks and green spaces (well, not in the winter) make this place unique. Our clocks were ticking, the time was up and our compass was pointing back to the ship.
So, back to the ship for the last time, heading back home, but the adventure wasn’t over yet. Being in the city for that many hours meant that we had to act normal and kind of hide our true pirate identity. Back on ship it was pirate mood all over again though! Fortunately, some good pirates were offering face paint in order to get everyone in the mood. Once again lots of exciting activities were waiting for us in the ship. This time we had flamenco dance classes to get us warmed up.
A true pirate always needs a partner in order to spend the cold nights in the deck, so speed dating game was the perfect way to start some action between the crews. After the activities were over it was party time. Two different clubs on the ship were enough to celebrate our last day on the ocean.
Then comes this point where you think that the day can’t get any better. And you go out to get some fresh air. And you see the northern lights. THE NORTHERN LIGHTS. YO HO HO! They weren’t that bright as you see in the pictures on the internet, but they were visible and totally the best way to wrap up the night.
The next morning, we woke up and were already at home. It’s the time when you have to go back to your normal life that doesn’t include eye-patches, swords and fancy skull hats. Well, some people’s lives might include that, you never know.
It was two days full of experiences, good memories and, of course, good stories to tell, like the one you are reading right now. I am pretty sure that new awesome adventures will come in the future and I can’t wait to face all of them.
Till then, cheers matey!
Author: Vasilis Krystallakis
Photos: Vasilis Krystallakis
Editor: Kärt Mättikas
Translator: Laura-Liisa Lilleberg