I've started looking into how we might actually get to Rauma - which is located on the west coast of Finland about 250 km (155 mi) north of Helsinki, and about 90 km (55 mi) north-northwest of Turku.
Assuming we fly into Helsinki, there appear to be several possibilities:
1) There's no passenger rail service to Rauma, but the Finish "VR" does offer service from Helsinki to the nearby town of Kokemäki with a dedicated bus link to Rauma. There are several trains daily; the complete trip takes about four hours and the fare is 37€ (that's 37 Euros or about $50 US. Right now, 1 EUR = 1.34 USD, 1 USD = 0.75 EUR - not so great for us!)
2) There's also good bus service from Helsinki to Rauma, the express buses make the trip in 3 1/2 hours. The fare is 32€. This is actually just as fast, and a bit cheaper, than the train.
3) By air, the nearest airport is Pori, about 25 miles NNE of Rauma. Several airlines (Finnair, SAS, & Finncomm) offer flights from Helsinki to Pori with fares as low as 20€, the flight takes 45 minutes. But then, it's a taxi or minibus ride (30 miles) to Rauma at a cost of ???
4) Ferry... I don't see any ferry service to Rauma, but there is service to Turku. Should we choose to Fly into Stockholm instead of Helsinki, it's possible to take either a day or an overnight ferry to Turku. The trip takes about 12 hours and the fare, for "deck" passage is a mere 22€. A cabin, however (for overnight passage) costs 133€ - or more for something fancy. From Turku, it's a 1-hour bus ride to Rauma, the fare is 13.50€.
Interestingly, these ferries make stops in the Åland Islands as well, so it would actually be possible to rendezvous with a late-comer here - assuming our route takes us near "Mariehamn" or "Långnäs"; ferry service is available to these towns from Stockholm, Helsinki or Turku.
5) Finally, rental cars are, of course, available in Helsinki. Hertz, Avis, National, Budget, Alamo and Europcar all have cars at the airport. Some of these companies will allow a one-way rental to Pori (mentioned above). The cheapest is Budget which has a rate starting at $48/day for a Corsa or Clio - and going up to $92/day for a Volvo! Their drop-off charge for a one-way to Pori is $89.93 for any size car. I haven't found anyone who allows a drop-off at Rauma, but I've not researched this thoroughly. Since Pori is about 30 miles from Rauma (harbor) by road, I don't know how practical a drop-off here might be.
I may be jumping the gun a bit here, but hopefully you'll find all this of interest. Once again, I hope others will add to this thread. It's quite possible that Salwa and PDQ know all this already and they have a master plan to get us all to Rauma in an organized fashion. But I suspect, since we'll all be starting out from different points, it may be difficult to organize a group travel plan.
At this point, I still don't know how much time we are planning to spend in Helsinki before we go to Rauma - or might we come back later? It appears to me that it's quite far out of our way, so I'm guessing we might go only as far as Turku by boat, then head west toward the Åland islands. Even Turku is a fair distance off the rhumb-line if we're in a hurry. Whoever's in charge of the itinerary should feel free to speak up!
(Note: I've added my own un-official Itinerary to an updated Baltic page: http://www.geocities.com/snodoglog/07Ba ... e-Pg1.html
Also, I've estimated that our total cruise distance might be about 1400 nautical miles!)
Henry - Sno' Dog
PS: Eight inches of new snow in Hanover today! I put away our snow shovel last WE when the temp hit a balmy 56° F - or 13° C in Scandinavia. (A photo taken this morning can be seen at: http://www.geocities.com/snodoglog/9874SchStSnow-SM.jpg)
Discussion on things to do, places to see, and food to eat while traveling in Europe
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