Enroute to Helsinki - June 12, 2013
I'm a SuperStar. Well, no, I'M not a SuperStar, I'm ON the SuperStar,the Tallink ferry that runs from Tallinn to Helsinki. I should be arriving in Helsinki in about two hours, which means that sometime in the next 120 minutes I'm going to have to decide which way to turn when I get off the ferry dock. West along the coast of Finland, northwest towards the town of Tampere, straight north or northeast through the lake (make that mosquito) district. We'll see. Kind of leaning towards Tampere, but as Tiiu pointed out, it may depend on what lane I find myself in. (What happened to my periods... they seem to be missing, at least on my screen).
Tallinn Days Inside the Gates of the City
St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
So much has happened since the last time I wrote. The flight over was pretty uneventful, which I guess is good for a flight over the north Atlantic, but a grind all the same. Lots of layover time in Vancouver and Frankfort and so I really don't know how many hours I was up. But Bill and Tiiu met me at midnight at the airport in Tallinn and I headed off straight to bed. Woke up at the normal time the next morning which I assumed would have meant no jet-lag. Hah! Then I couldn't sleep. A couple of nights of 3 or 4 hours only. Really brain dead after that. A preview of dementia. I really was forgetting things. For example, after we had driven and hour or so to get to Turi, where the bike was, I realized that I had forgotten my bike keys. Crikey. But I had a spare set. Anyway, the next day as we were getting ready to leave, I checked the riding pants pocket that I always keep them in and there they were. I have no recollection of putting them there. Running on muscle memory I guess.And besides, I always keep a spare set hidden on the bike that I had completely forgotten about. God, I'm really glad I didn't tell Bill that we had to drive all the way back to get keys. That would have just been ridiculously stupid.
The Kadriorg, Catherine's Summer Palace
Inside the Kadriorg
But in Turi, we had a great visit with Mari and Ants, Tiiu's school chums. I picked up the bike from Ants's place. Ants had taken very good care of it over the winter and so the bike was exactly how I left it. Don't know how he had kept the mice from nesting, but there was no sign of that. He had even charged the battery for my arrival. Everything would have been perfect if I had hooked up the battery correctly, but as it was, it wouldn't turn over. Of course I had left the wiring diagram in Tallinn and in my foggy state, only eventually realized after a long while that I had not connected the main power cable to the positive. Well duh... I had drained the fuel for storage, and so got a little gas from Ants, but ran out before I got to the gas station and so had to push for a while. But as that was uphill. I tried the trick of laying the bike almost over to drain the fuel to one side and do that, just had enough then to ride to the station. Even with a full tank, however, it died again on the way back to Ants's. Water I suspect. But while I was trying to drain the carb bowls along the side of the road, the bike fell over. Aargh. Every year, I always ask myself if I will be able to get through the year without falling over. Well I didn't even make it a kilometer this year. Had a great dinner at Ants's and "learned" to play Trak?... a Russian card game. The rules are crazy... I would never be able to repeat them.
St. Olaf's Church
Bill Climbing St. Olaf's Spire
The Old City Wall from St. Olaf's Spire
Spent the night at Mari's and then after Bill and I washed and waxed Mari's car, Bill, Tiiu and I headed back to Tallinn. I left my University of Adelaide hat at Mari's (another brain thing) but at least that will eventually make it back to me. I also forgot to give Ants the little gift I had brought for him, but that will eventually make it to him as well. Good lord.
So there is only a few hours of night here now, but I should be getting even less of it as I head north. Don't have much more than two weeks on the road this time as I have to be in London on the 30th, so this trip is totally winging it. I have my camping gear and there are lots of places to camp and so it will be a nature trip this year. Except for London, I suspect that I will be staying in very few cities. I suspect that the fjord country on the west side of Norway will be a highlight. Maybe I can make it to Nordkaap... we'll see.
OK... Bob is fixed and back in the saddle. Nice to have the company. Sorry to say goodbye to Bill and Tiiu as they are always great hosts and we have a lot of fun... at least I do. Wouldn't have been able to swing this without them, and Mari and Ants. So a heartfelt thanks to all. I'll see Bill and Tiiu later in the summer back in Kamloops... then I can get back to my Russian lessons.