We woke up already at 6:30, so we could make breakfast already at 7 a.m. We thought we’d be pretty much the only ones having breakfast this early, but the breakfast room was at least half full. We had a quick breakfast and were off because we needed to drive 474km during the day and be in Umeå at 5 p.m. at the latest because the boat towards Finland would leave at 18:00.
We really just drove the entire way without stopping much. The roads in Sweden were mostly in decent condition, but there was one detour (the tunnel was being renovated) and a few times there was road works. Well, to be honest we didn’t see any workers or tools, but the asphalt was removed for a few kilometers at a time and the road left behind was in bad shape and had potholes.
All in all we just drove the Blue Road (Blå vägen) without any issues. The drive was in fact so easy that we arrived in Umeå already at 3 p.m., so we had plenty of time before the departure of the boat. We decided to have lunch at Rost Mat & Cafe, where we had some good food and we didn’t have to pay a fortune for it. 🙂
After lunch we decided to drive to the harbor just in case. We bought tickets to the boat a couple of days beforehand, so we would definitely get in, but we figured that maybe we could get onto the boat earlier. Yeah, no such luck. We ended up waiting in the sun for two hours just to get to the waiting area. Our line was of course the slower one but finally we ended at the small booth where we said our names and got instructions to drive to lane 7.
Then we witnessed the most ridiculous way to guide cars to the boat. There was some guy walking around in the front, who first took a couple of cars from one lane, then seven cars from another lane. Also all the lanes had different types of vehicles, so bikes, motor homes, and regular cars were mixed. I didn’t understand the loading logic at all. Finally some ten minutes prior to the boat departure we finally got permission to drive onto the boat and away from the sun.
The trip went without surprises (well, except the boat being about half an hour late when reaching the Vaasa harbor) and we had dinner at the buffet, which was ok. At least we got away from the cafeteria, which only served hamburgers and had tons of families with hungry kids. We also enjoyed the scenery sitting outside.
We reached Hotel Radisson Blu Vaasa around midnight and something like quarter of all passengers from the boat were also there, so the line to the reception was quite long for this time of day. We parked our bikes into the parking garage at the hotel, which was almost full, but we got spots for our bikes. The hotel was pretty good deal for 82,40€ per night but maybe all the prices felt dirt cheap after Norway. Our room was located in a building across the road from the reception. The breakfast was also served in the same building, so that was ok. The only negative thing was that it was a really hot night and there wasn’t any air conditioning in the room, but the hotel provided a fan for the room, so we opened all the windows and put a fan on, which helped.
Afterwards we were thinking that maybe it would’ve been better to stay the night in Umeå and take the boat to Vaasa the next day as this day was really tiring, but we’ve had our plan and bookings, so we had to stick to it.