I finally got to visit the Mediterranean for the first time in years. Even if the Southern beaches didn’t appear in such great weather I was hoping for, the views in Mallorca were to die for – even in winter. Earlier, I was cursing my bad luck as I got sick only a few days before my trip to Mallorca. Little did I know what sort of setbacks – more than just flu and fever – I was about to face.
To avoid too much negativism, I’ll decorate this post with some shots I took during my trip last week. The real travel stories behind these photos are still taking shape in my mysterious mind. Meanwhile, I wanted to share a separate story about all the drawbacks I experienced before, during and after the trip. As the post title claims, there were 14 of them in total. I promise you, ‘tragicomic’ isn’t an exaggeration for describing the phases I went through.
Please feel free to laugh. I’m happy to amuse others with the unfortunate incidents that just keep coming to me.
It all started just a couple of days before taking off when I got bugged by a real travel fever (setback #1). While I was panicking whether I’d get healthy before the trip or not, I had to fight for days just to figure out how I’m able to get to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and back in the first place.
Setbacks 2–4: Public transport, why won’t you take me there?
I would never move to Helsinki, but I have to admit there’s one thing that makes me jealous of people living in the capital area. In the recent years, getting from Rauma to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (and vice versa) with public transport has become practically impossible. There are no connections whatsoever, and in case you’re lucky enough to find one, using it would require 10+ hours doing nothing at the airport. Not too tempting, huh?
There are lots of connections between Rauma and Turku. There are also several bus connections between Turku and the airport. But apparently, it’s impossible to make the schedules for these two legs fit together.
First, I bought a bus ticket from Rauma to Turku. Then I bought a return ticket between Turku and the airport with 10 minutes between my two buses to the airport. For my return journey, I was only able to get a bus ticket from the airport to Turku. Apparently, no one wants to travel to Rauma after 8.30 pm.
When I purchased my return tickets between Turku and the airport (because it’s 2017, it’s impossible to buy all at once even if you buy them from the same company), the money disappeared from my bank account, but the booking site kindly told me my reservation was failed (setback #2). Funny enough, they happily took my money despite that.
Luckily, the efficient and cheerful guy behind the bus company’s Facebook chat fixed the situation for me, and I finally received all my bus tickets. The downside was that he also told me I had been a bit too optimistic when I bought tickets to two buses with only 10 minutes between them. The weather in Finland in late November is quite challenging for driving, and the 2nd bus leaving from Turku to the airport wouldn’t wait (setback #3).
There I was again, panicking and staring at my laptop pondering what the hell should I do now. I really, really wouldn’t want to miss my flight to Mallorca.
Result: I ended up buying one more bus ticket from Rauma to Turku (all online tickets are nonrefundable, of course). Unfortunately, I would now need to leave more than 2 hours earlier, travel 1 hour to the opposite direction and another 1,5 hours to get to Turku (setback #4). Normally, the journey to Turku would take 1 hour in total. Now I’d be travelling for 2,5 hours plus wait for another 1,5 hours at the bus station in Turku. But at least I could be sure I’ll catch my bus to the airport without further problems.
How about my return journey that would end in Turku instead of Rauma? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time Daniel had to make an extra 2-hour drive to get me back home from my travels. So he had no option but to promise he’d pick me up.
Setbacks 5–7: Local deer decided otherwise
It’s the previous morning to my take off. Rubbing my sleepy eyes, I slowly descend downstairs to my desk, still feeling a bit dizzy from fever. I have no time for being sick as a pile of articles still require finishing before I can start my holiday.
Daniel has left to work more than an hour ago. I start my laptop, make some coffee and notice that Daniel has called me three times while I haven’t even unmuted my phone yet.
It must be important. Daniel never calls me during work days.
It took a split second to forget how sick I still felt after hearing Daniel had hit a deer on his way to work (setback #5). I felt my heart jump into my throat and I’m sure something in my stomach turned upside down twice before I found out Daniel was okay. Unfortunately, the car was not.
I spent my last working day before the trip to Mallorca by balancing between meeting final deadlines, packing, contacting the insurance company and car repair. By the end of the day, the destiny of our beloved and brave Ford Focus was clear.
The car can’t be fixed. Man, this ended up expensive (setback #6).
Not to forget how on Earth would I get back home from Turku now when our car is disabled at the garage yard waiting for someone to tow it to the car cemetery (setback #7)?
— Saana Jaakkola (@SaanaJaakkola) November 28, 2017
Setbacks 8–9: Ok, I’m OLD!
When we were finally about to start our trip to Mallorca, my travel companion Teea was fully aware of the mishaps I had already encountered. I must say Teea is a pretty brave girl daring to get on the plane and drive 5 days along the narrow mountain roads of Mallorca with someone as unlucky as I.
Against all expectations, the actual trip contained (almost) zero incidents. Only the weather forecast had changed from sunny 20+ degrees to pouring rain, wind and +10 (setback #8). Some days, the wind was so strong we thought it’d blow us both away. During our first mountain leg, we drove in both, snowfall and thunderstorm. It’s cool to watch small snowflakes falling while bolts of lightning are colouring the sky purple. I’ve never seen weather like that before!
Neither had I believed – coming from Finland – that I’d see the most snow I’ve seen this winter in Mallorca.
Why wasn’t I surprised when, already during the first day in Mallorca, I started suffering from a weird, intense pain in my leg (setback #9)? Oh well, what else should I expect when the whole purpose of the trip was to go hiking.
At times, I dragged my leg behind me like any cribbled granny. Hiking was slower than it should have been, but biting my lips, I overcame the pain. Although due to my disability, Teea had to do all the driving during the trip (sorry about that).
Surprisingly, driving on the narrow mountain roads went well. No one died, and only once we received a hand-written warning from a local guard for unauthorised parking. We didn’t see any figures in the note, so we assume we didn’t get a fine. That said, we won’t either count this as a setback.
Setbacks 10–14: Eventful journey back home
I like flying with Norwegian, but unfortunately, landing on schedule feels somehow impossible for them. As our flight to Mallorca landed more than an hour late, I was secretly hoping our return flight would be on time. I especially prayed for it because my bus to Turku would leave 40 minutes after the scheduled landing. It was doable, as I was travelling with hand luggage only.
This bus was my only chance for getting home. I had agreed my mum would drive from her hometown to Turku late in the evening, drive me home to Rauma and in the middle of the night, drive for another half an hour to get back home herself (yes, sometimes it’s this easy to travel with public transport in Finland!)
Boarding started earlier than ever which made me feel positive. However, something didn’t go quite well as at the time of the scheduled take-off, all passengers still weren’t on board. On top of being late again, the plane was so full that I was forced to put my bag in the luggage hold. Great, I saw my chances of making it to the bus disappearing in front of my eyes (setback #10).
Our flight took off 20 minutes late (setback #11). What are my chances to get out of the plane, get my luggage which I was supposed to have on the plane with me and get to the bus on time when, even in the best case, I had barely 20 minutes to do all this? Would my mum drive for hundreds of kilometres on the dark roads full of car-killing deer for nothing?
I anticipated as much as I could. I kindly asked the flight staff if I could get off the plane before the others. The lovely flight attendant did what I asked for, and just before landing, I heard captain’s announcement asking everyone to let a couple of passengers to get out first. I agreed with Teea she’d take my luggage and carry it to Tampere (another Finnish town 150 km from Rauma). I would worry later how to get my belongings back; the bus was now my priority.
Once the plane door opened, I had exactly 10 minutes before the bus would leave. I was in row 16. What do you think, did I make it?
At this stage of the story, despite being late again and forcing me to give out my luggage, I’d like to thank the friendly staff at Norwegian who tried their best to help me get out of the plane first. Unfortunately, the passengers in front of the plane didn’t give a shit. Also, my apologies for the young lady whom I had to jump over on the plane corridor. Apparently “others have connecting journeys, too” is a good enough reason to block me on purpose, even if the captain had asked everyone to let me go first. The attitudes of co-passengers can be pure gold sometimes (setback #12).
Once I finally got out of the plane (I didn’t have time to see how much time I had left) I ran like crazy with my backpack from the gate to the bus stops in front of terminal 2. I consider it as a kind of miracle, but I made it – even if it meant my luggage ending up to Tampere (setback #13). Oh well, there was nothing critical in the bag. I had the most important stuff – my wallet, phone and laptop for work – with me. Or was I celebrating too early?
Yes, I had my laptop with me, but unfortunately, my laptop charger was in the other bag and just about to start its journey to Tampere. Damn! Luckily, I had charged the computer just before leaving the hotel. Anyhow, tomorrow’s working day would be quite challenging without the charger (setback #14).
All’s well that ends well
I’m happy to tell you that even if this tragicomic trip to Mallorca was indeed full of unfortunate incidents, I’m alive at home, my laptop is charging, and all my other belongings have arrived at Rauma as well. Although after this crazy and eventful adventure, I owe some favours at least to
- Teea for taking care of my luggage
- my mum for doing the crazy drive in the middle of the night to take me home, and
- my good friend Vili and world’s best cover band The Coveralls for bringing my luggage from Tampere to Rauma in their already-so-full-of-band-stuff car.
So, everything else is fixed except for my poor car. We have just had the final farewell with our old buddy, and now, all I have to do is to fill up some insurance papers and buy a new car. There’s no need to wonder what to do with tax returns this year.
Our trip to Mallorca sure was full of setbacks, but the destination itself was fantastic. Real travel stories will follow soon.
So, who wants to travel with me next? I promise you; you won’t get bored!