This night train from Rovaniemi is convenient if you need to change to a ferry. The Turku Port railway station is in close proximity to the port itself and it’s easy to find your way from one place to another. Apart from that, the train is good for other occasions and interesting on its own.
At Rovaniemi station
The Rovaniemi railway station has quite a humble size. It’s not hard to make it crowded, and now it’s full of people. There are enough places for everybody, though, and, as the others, I can wait for my train in comfort. The only thing that doesn’t fit my plan is the unscheduled closing of the station cafe. However, I know the way to sate my thirst for coffee. It is a five minutes walk to the supermarket named K, where you can get coffee to go for 1 Euro (self-service at the checkout lane, optional milk and sugar, medium strength).
If you are a kid or just feel like playing, the station can offer you something special in terms of entertainment. Behold, a thematic toy! It’s the multicolored wooden train with magnets, allowing you to change positions of its cars. The circular route is wavy. The whole thing is fun.
I switch my attention from a toy train because the real one arrives. It’s 40 minutes before the departure — so boarding happens quietly and with no hurry. The station displays say that the destination of the train is Helsinki. This is no mistake: my car will be gently moved to another train in Tampere, and I will get to Turku Port effortlessly. I go outside and dig the design with cute pictures of friendly animals.
Inside the VR sleeper compartment from Rovaniemi to Turku Port
The car I’m in has two decks. My compartment is on the upper one, which always gives me a kind of childish and irrational excitement. Do I like this feeling? Oh yes!
The compartment itself is not too large, but it offers a lot to make one’s trip pretty comfortable. Just appreciate the list: two beds (of course, with bedclothes, pillows and towels), safety belts, a parcel rack, a climate controller, three sockets, personal lamps and alarm clocks, a couple of clothes hooks with hangers, a table, an additional seat, still bottled water, and a trash bin. Don’t forget free Wi-Fi. And there’s something more!
A real marvel of modern engineering is the second part of the compartment — a room that transforms from a shower to a toilet. There is a moving wall which has two positions, you just have to push the metal lock and move it. If you need a shower — move it to the right, for a toilet — use the left placement. There is also a sink, a mirror, a pair of shower caps and some paper cups.
In the restaurant car
Despite the cosiness of my compartment, I am about to leave it for some time — for the sake of a restaurant car. In order to get there I have to go through a seat car. This one has rows of four chairs (divided into pairs by the central lane) and a separate section with seats for six persons.
The restaurant car consists of two parts. The first one is equipped with tables and serves as a dining area. The second part — which I found more interesting and original — looks like a bar. There are a couple of high tables and a chain of stools along the windows.
It feels like a real bar here. I sit in a soft backed seat, which is quite relaxing. The atmosphere is friendly. I don’t have any matters of great urgency. I can just be here and enjoy the view, and that view — to my delight and joy — is moving. By far not every drinking establishment can boast this kind of service!
While I am leaving this pleasant place, it examines my attention to details. I can’t help sharing this brain teaser with you. Well… The door of the restaurant car has a golden figure of a hand on it. Is there something wrong with the number of fingers, or is it that beer I’ve just had?
Outside the window
I am at my compartment again. The moving train produces noticeable but soothing wobbling. It makes the clothes hanger dance — in a rhythm of the night railroad trip.
This show is quite meditative, but I’d like to try my luck in searching for something else outside the window. The night is utterly dark, but I still have stations, roads and other illuminated spots. I think, it’s a shame not to use the observational potential of the second deck. So I watch and wait for some possible peculiarities. Who knows, maybe I would see a train full of timber, or an abandoned building with awkward graffiti tags, or a UFO trying to steal a parked bicycle?
After a while, we arrive to Tampere. It is the station where railroad magic happens: while the most part of the train continues its run to Helsinki, my car has a short switching stop. The whole procedure goes so smoothly that I wouldn’t have noticed it if I didn’t know. So, now I am on the train to Turku Port —the final destination of my trip.
Speaking of destinations, let’s have a look at the route. The night train departs from Rovaniemi at 18:00. It goes southwards through Finland and reaches Turku Port at around 8 o’clock in the morning. Hence, the journey lasts for 14 hours. That’s enough time for enjoying the comfort of a sleeping compartment, noticing the style of a restaurant car, and watching to both night views and sweet dreams.
Near the sea
The last station for me this time is Port of Turku. This is where I am going to change the land to the sea — a ferry to Stockholm is already waiting for its passengers. The Viking Line terminal is right around the corner, but there’s not much time before sailing off. The snow is heavy. My steps are fast.
And what about the tickets?