Day 31 - Pärnu

Trip Start May 20, 2013
Trip End Jul 05, 2013

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Flag of Estonia  , Harju County,
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The day started with no hint of the traumas to come. Apart from the factory on the other side of the river doing what sounded like some rock crunching at 0400, we passed a quiet, peaceful night. We were woken by the gentle sound of the teams of competitive rowers on the river being pursued by the none too gentle sound of their coaches in various speedboats shouting helpful words of guidance through loud hailers. To this observer, it sounded like torrents of Estonian abuse, but you can probably now see why the highlight of my coaching career was trying, and failing, to maintain some semblance of order in the Ayr Grammar School Primary 7 football team for 5 minutes while the teacher took a phone call in the Headmasters office.

We breakfasted as normal. Orange juice, coffee, muesli and in my case rectangular Finnish own brand weetabix. (Proper Weetabix has rounded edges. A subtle difference, but enough to be disorientating while half asleep.) We used the last of the Finnish milk.

Then it happened. Alison, as is her wont, decided a second cup of coffee was required to fully invigorate her for the rigours of the day. I dozed outside in the sunshine, watching the dragonflies dogfight over the lily leaves in the river. Suddenly, emanating from the inside of the Magic Bus, came more buggers than they needed for Watergate. 'We've got bloody drinking yoghurt!' quoth she, except she didn't say 'bloody'.

Yes, dear reader, despite all our efforts to prevent it, and our pride at having identified yoghurt yesterday in the supermarket, it appears that the Eestis have more than one word for yoghurt. We now had 2 litres of Hapupiim In our fridge, and it doesn't mix with coffee.

After lunch, accompanied by Fanta and black coffee, we decided to explore the beach area of Pärnu as well as forage for food (and milk). It doesn't take long on two wheels to reach the beach area. Due to a navigational error, we first intersected the sands at the 'Ladies Beach'. Not wanting to offend anybody, I beat a hasty retreat, reflecting on how it comes to pass that in a 21st century EU country they still have segregated bathing. We then approached the ladies beach from the other end. There the sign also said 'WARNING. THERE MAY BE NUDE PEOPLE HERE'. I assumes that this means that there is no segregation as such, just a warning that you shouldn't be shocked if you get more of an eyeful than you bargained for.

Alison decided to add the Baltic to her list of 'seas that I have paddled in'. It was quite warm, not very salty, and you would have to paddle half way to Sweden to get your knees wet. It was a fantastic beach though.

We decided we couldn't pass by the 'largest tavern in Estonia' without popping in. It is huge, both inside and outside, although on a Wednesday afternoon there were more serving staff than customers. Draught beer is €2.50 a pint. It looks as if it hasn't changed from the 30s, with the possible exception of the addition of 8.5 meg wifi. We tarried there a while, then set off to find a supermarket.

As well as the usual foodstuffs, we wanted milk. Alison buttonholed some poor shopper who had a few words of English and got her to swear on her mother's grave that the cartons of 'piim' we were purchasing were indeed milk. The proof will come tomorrow at breakfast. With my customary eye for the exotic (and a bargain) I slipped a bottle of Ukrainian dry red wine into the basket while the chief provisioning officer wasn't looking.

We peddled back to the campsite and unloaded our panniers. It was about 1900. Alison decided that a late afternoon nap was called for. About 2000, she was roused from her slumbers and we decided that this evening we would forgo the delights of Pärnu and eat in the camping snack bar. Sausages, chips and salad with a half litre of beer. €6 a head. Not gourmet dining but just what we needed. Then back to the bus to do some heavy duty sunset watching. Perhaps even partaking in a glass of Ukrainian wine as we do so.

Mileage 3527 (unchanged)
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