Are we still travelling

Trip Start Mar 24, 2008
Trip End Sep 12, 2008

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Flag of Finland  ,
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sorry for not blogging lately but the time here in laid back Lapland is flying by. We've been here in the north for over three weeks now after spending a week in the south visiting friends and seeing some of eastern Finland.

The moment we pulled off the ferry in Helsinki we burst out laughing because the dozens of times we have been in Helsinki we could never imagine driving here from the UK. Although it was Sunday when we arrived, Helsinki was the quietest capital city we have driven through. No traffic jams, diversions, road rage or dangerous driving from the locals, just a steady Sunday drive to Merjas.

While in Helsinki we enjoyed a real bed and vegged out watching TV. The only TV I have watched in the last four and a half months is about twelve football matches from the euro finals, which in my opion was now where near enough.

The drive north took us to Porvoo for the old town and chocolate factory then onto Lappeenranta where we enjoyed a boat trip that took us on the huge lake Saimaa then through a canal that is connected to Russia. The canal locks must have been fifty metres long and about twenty metres deep, massive compared to the locks in England. The journey into Russia will have to wait for another time as we didn't have a visa on this trip. The road here took us past hundreds of Russia car transporters parked on the hard shoulder full of SUVs and other 4 x 4s. The line of trucks must have been 20 kms long waiting to cross the border into Russia. It's amazing to think that this many new cars cross into Russia day in day out and apparently the line of trucks we seen is small compared to other southern border crossings.

After visiting Tiina in Nurmes (kiitos again for everything) we started the long 450km drive to Marjas parents. Just as the drive was getting a little boring we came across a tourist attraction titled " The Silent People". Very surreal, about a 1000 scarecrows all lined up in one field wearing brigthly coloured clothing, right next to the road. It was a quick coffee and a pin stuck in the Birmingham on the map in the coffee shack before hitting the road again. It wasn't long before the cars got less on the roads and the reindeer became more frequent, a sure sign we were in Lapland. We were then laughing hysterically as were approaching Marjas parents home. After catching up with her parents it was bedtime 12.15am and the sun was still shining through the woods.

The time here has been relaxing, not having to worry about safety, security, Banksy, carring valubles or making any of the same decisions you have to make while being on the road everyday. Our guard has dropped for a while and its a strange sense of relief. As well as seeing family and friends I have done a few days work on the farm and working on Marjas brothers house.......................sad thing is its made me miss my tools and doing regular physical work.

Banksy has been washed, waxed, serviced and is ready to hit the road again, which should be in about ten days after we have done a trip up north with Marjas brother.

I've also had time to reflect and digest the things that we have done on this amazing trip and doing so have come up with some interesting\boring stats...........

Countries visited = 15
Fave so far         = Croatia, Slovenia and BiH
Different currencies = 9
Fave cities = Barcelona, Sarajevo
Distance so far = 14500 kms
Cheapest diesel = €1.14 (Spain).....March
Expensive diesel = € 1.54 (Hungrey)..........July
Different beers sampled = Last count was 18
Best beer = Karlavachko, Croatia
Cheapest beer = €0.50 for half litre. Slovakia............cheaper than bottled water
High lights = Barcelona, Sarajevo, walking to the top of Bobov tuk mountain (highest in Montenegro), Croatia including the coastal road, Plitvicka lakes, Triglav nat-park Slovenia, Picos de Europa nat-park Spain, seeing friends and family, The spa resorts of Slovenia, Durmitor nat-park Montenegro, Pecs Hungrey, meeting all the wonderful people that passed our way.
Low lights = Banksy being broken into in Spain, trying to sleep when its peeing down (rain on a metal roof is a nice sound for the first 10 mins), tremendous heat and humidity in Croatia and Montenegro.
Best book while on the road = The Magic Bus by Rory Mclean.............Marja also read a half dozen chick lits.
Music played on the road = Nickleback, Manu Choa, Elvis Presley, Madonna, Robbie Williams, Stereophonics, Linkin Park, Santana, Scorpions, the list is endless...............  
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sueoreilly on

Hello both
Hi both,

lovely to have your name pop up on the screen when I am at work! Glad you are both well and having a rest! look forward to reading about your next adventures! I have just returned from 10 day break, not been any where just done a lot of eating and drinking to celebrate my birthday, Matthews 21st and Luke getting into Uni!!!!

love to you both
take care

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