Richard Crazy Estonian and arrival in Helsinki
Trip Start Mar 10, 2005
43Trip End May 20, 2005
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
I will fill in the last week or so over the next couple of days here in Helsinki. A brief summary is that we rode along the west coast of Latvia after spending a couple of nights in a National Park north-west of Riga, reaching Tallin on the 9th, we spent a night in Tallinn with Richard, an estonian that we met in brindisi at the start of our trip...great guy. The following continues on after the night spent eating and drinking and sweating in the Sauna with Richard and his girlfriend plus son, Carl-Eric.
After sweating it out in the Sauna and then sleeping the night away like a baby, it was off to the centre of Tallin for a buffet breakfast with Richard on his way into work
We next stopped off at the cool looking russian-influenced church, Sam and I poked our heads in for a look and there was some form of religious-ceremony going on...at least a hundred people were inside with many more making their way in, hundreds of candles were lit and smoke filled the church, an arch-bishop type of dude was conducting a sermon...that was definitely enough Christianity for one day so it was back into the car and Richard drove us all around Tallinn for the morning, pointing out the Russian side of town which is a whole district of large-ugly-blocks of very small apartments, drove through the most dangerous part of Tallinn (largely off-limits afer dark...in fact, two of Richards friends had been hospitalised 2 weeks ago, after being jumped in a park within this area of town).
Richard was an awesome tour-guide for the city of Tallinn...filling us with interesting info on all aspects of life/culture in Tallinn and Estonia and also all countries of the former Soviet Union. It's unreal when someone can explain the situation, present and past, of a country....gives you a very good insight into the mind-set of the local people. It has certainly opened my mind to the vast amount of continual change that the people of the previous Soviet Union have encountered, particular over the last 50 years. And definitely given me a far greater understanding of communism...its bad and also its good points.
Sam and I had planned to catch the 1:30pm ferry to Helsinki, but of course as usual plans changed, and in the end we only just managed to scramble onto the 4pm ferry. Our organisation has to be up there with the best in the world...not. We weren't helped however by the very-unhelpful information counter and ticket seller, both of who sent us in completely the wrong direction...further confusion occured when the ticket collector would not let us onto the ferry with our bikes (although we had already paid for them to be on there)...some friendly smiles and kind words soon saw us on the ferry and on our way to Helsinki, where hopefully Sam's college-friend Jonna would be waiting to greet us at the terminal. A Ferry ticket for one-way trip to Tallinn = 250eek,aus$25,13€ the bikes were an additional 80eek. The trip took 3.5 hours.
Helsinki...and Jonna, her sister Katija and their father were there with a van to pick us. Some big hellos were exchanged with hugs all around...Sam and Jonna had both lived in the same international-house at Jacksonville University in the U.S.A, Sam had also visited Helsinki in 1998 so it was a re-union of somewhat.
With the bikes in the van Jonna's father drove back to the house, while Sam, Jonna, Katija and I went straight to downtown Helsinki for some Mexican food and story-telling over a couple of beers. We then hit another bar and met up with Katija's friend Mia, sharing more beers and stories...great people, great stories, great time. We've arranged to all meet up again tonight (11th), apparently there is many bars in downtown with 1euro specials on Wednesday nights...so tomorrow there will be another interesting lae to tell.
Its great to be in another city, with another very friendly and hospitable family...enjoying the good times.
Until next time (probably tomorrow) take it easy....I hope all is well around the globe, Adios Ben