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Ferry crossing – a necessity or a moment of peace?

In our travels, for obvious reasons, it is impossible to use only land roads. Often, therefore, we are forced to change to an airplane or a ferry, and it is the ferries that have their specificity, which turns out to be a very interesting element of traveling around the world.

We happened to sail together with our cars through small rivers in Russia or Scandinavia, Romania, Turkey and the Caucasus. It also happened to swim on the Baltic and the Gulf of Finland, in distant Australia, but they were always rather short transfers that were only a small episode in a car trip. This year we had a unique adventure with ferries. We sailed from Vladivostok to South Korea (circumnavigating North Korea) and there we had a short stopover, which we used to go to the city. Then we went to the same ferry to reach Japan and go on our own journey. I must admit that the standard of the ferry we sailed was indeed average, but it did not discourage us. The whole of the crossing lasted probably two days but the impression was like it lasted a lot longer.

We got an 8-person cabin without a bathroom.

(there was a washbasin for that), no windows but with ventilation on the ceiling (as it turned out later it was not without meaning). Apart from the fact that there are nine of us, it did not look bad. The cruise began on schedule so after the start the tours started, to see what the ferry is on … and these trips basically lasted until the end. For reasons unknown to us, all restaurants, shops, bars (although not too many of them) opened in completely illogical hours. Sometimes only a moment was open, in the morning or during the day, and it simply was impossible to catch the rhythm of these services. Initially, therefore, most of the activity we spent wanting not wanting to wait for the opening of the store or looking for something else. In the end, however, everyone decided that it did not make sense and after a while we were all in the cabin again.

Nine people always sleep, go to the toilet, wash, look for something to eat, drink, tell a story … someone always talks to someone. And here we touch the heart of the matter.

Nine people in an eight-person cabin without windows.

Somewhere around North Korea, after a dozen or so hours of cruise, it behaves strangely. It was something similar to a camp on the colonies where everyone is sitting in a room when it rains and they are doomed to complete lack of activities. Theoretically, the moment of breath, which, however, lasted for hours, hence after some time the information that someone found a shower was like May’s dawn! Everyone was ready for action immediately. It was simply an effect of boredom that is hard to imagine. Half of the trouble during the day because you can go outside and take some pictures of the sea, but in the night there was only an open restaurant with a card of soup and a cabin.

You have to remember that in the middle of the sea there is no GSM coverage, there is no wifi on the ferry itself, and there are no sockets in the cabin to charge phones! For $ 1 you could leave the phone with your own charger at the reception 🙂. Our Garmin was a salvation thanks to which you could send an SMS to your home or learn about the earthquake in Osaka.

The next flight hours pass.

These moments of peace turn into a kind of Big Brother so much that nobody watches us. As everywhere, the nature of travel takes the upper hand and we talk on the decks with the locals, for whom we are very exotic. We try to eat them, we treat them to ours but they also go to sleep … After some time we also fall asleep. It turns out that those on bunk beds are freezing from ventilation, and those downstairs have nothing to breathe … it is worse than in a tent. And it’s loud. We are accompanied by omnipresent noise. In the morning, South Korea appears.

After a whole day in the city, we return to the same ferry, to the same cabin and start again. Sleeping, talking, soup from a bag, a walk on the deck, a walk to the cars (though not allowed), a walk under the deck to watch engines (also not allowed), chatter, washing, sleeping, soups, sleeping and a few pictures of the sea. At the end, however, the prize is expected – Japan. And all happiness in it..

We arrived.

It is not even about whether this trip is tiring. Without exaggeration. You get used to it, in the end nothing bad happens there but the surprise for me was that such a ferry trip, although long and seemingly exotic, still in this performance is only a transfer from point A to B. Well that on the way we had a stopover in Korea because really outside the inner sense of the journey itself, I would not see any other. Of course, when you swim with recreation from Talin to Alanda you have really what to do, and if you want to rest, you lie in a quiet, air-conditioned cabin. However, if you decide to swim on the route Vladivostok – Korea – Japan bring a notebook, powerbank, ear plugs and set yourself on long, unusual in our travels doing nothing. This, of course, is a moment of peace in this pursuit of purpose, but I probably prefer to call it a necessary break before continuing the journey.

 

 

szymon@drivenfar.com

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