I'm in Helsinki in my air bnb apartment after 830 km on the bike. YEAH!
It's always a great feeling and kind of success to achieve such a goal and in general I just love the whole process of planning, packing, camping pedaling and so on. However, this trip wasn't the big wow due to weather, long straight stretches and little diversion in scenery. Last but not least the mosquito issue is really a serious one, which makes me overthink future stays in Scandinavia in general. That's a big word, but why should I put myself in this war?
What I really loved were the free campsites, which were extremely looked after well. Also, there were a lot of impressive bike trails and you can tell that cycling gets more and more important in the Baltic states. Not to forget the 3 big cities I went through. Gorgeous! Definitely top cities in Europe, just like Stockholm, Kopenhagen and Reykjavik.
So after all it was easy, flat cycling with a lot of really astonishing impressions and it was so nice to meet Jan and Paul.
This is a good start, Helsinki!
I have to leave a really neat city. Bravo, Tallinn. Bravo, Estonia. You rock!
Day: 58 km Total: 820 km
The day started miserable. I first didn't see any of those bugs around. However, after a few minutes the nice spot with the calm sea had his horror back. Millions of them! Even between you and your coffee. On top of all it began to rain when I desperately tried to manage breakfast and packing. I took some backroads towards the Euro Velo 10, which was fun. The last 20 km into Tallinn were great! Tailwind and a neat bike trail, accompanied me. My airbnb Appartement is just in the new hipster neighborhood Telliskivi. It's nice! I have the whole Appartement for myself, so me and the equipment can recover a bit from wet and cold. Now, a beer.
Give me a nuclear coffee - I need it.
Some downhill stretches.
Panniers are clean again :)
I'm out of the mosquito jungle. The most terrifying bug experience I ever had. Rain wouldn't help. I'm done.
Day: 80 km Total: 762 km
It would be all fine: the drizzle, the cold temperature, the wind, the boring landscape, the endless straight on and so on. If there weren't since yesterday: THE MOSQUITOS. Not just one or two, they are there in hundreds. It's awful! I am now on a really nice campsite just by the beach, however the luck is diminished by those fuckers. They're literally eating me. They did already during every break I took. Not necessary to mention that just now there's no wind. So tomorrow I'll reach Tallinn and cycling will come to an end. It's sad on the one hand and good on the other, since joy was kept little due to too many obstacles. This is just too much...
Fuck off rain!
No vesi, no kohv, niente. Just woods.
Fuck off summer!
Day: 72 km Total: 682 km
I'm camping "wild" by a cemetery tonight, since I have no more energy due to wind, temperature and rain. Luckily the wind turned from time to time north of Hapsalu. But still a hard day, also with all that sitting at the ferry terminal and on the ferry itself. Meh! Now beer, wurst and a cigarette (the least just imagine!). I am nonsmoker more than a week now :(
The headwind sucks.
12.3°C??? This device must be kiddin!!!!
This is going a totally wrong way!
Next time Italy.
Day 30 km Total: 610 km
With my friends Janice and Paul from Vancouver I am in a beautiful spot while the rain doesn't stop. We'll enjoy a dry night inside of a barrel. :-) Now sauna, dinner and wine.
Waiting for the ferry. It's drizzling and storm.
Day: 78 km Total: 580 km
Easy riding, perfect temperature, incredibly nice smell of the woods. It's been sunny until afternoon - now it's rather overcast. According to the forecast a significant weather change is coming up. So far - not in my world. Hope, it'll stay like that. So, I decided to stay another night on Sareemaa. It's no use to take the ferry at 8 and pedal 10-20 km more to a campsite - probably in rain! Nope. Better to stay on this side and take the first ferry in the morning.
Conclusion on Saaremaa: Not the big wow! However, I love the bus stops and this intense smell of the sea and the pine tree woods. It's like a rehab. Cheers!
4th kohv for today. Lazy in Leisi. I'll stay another night in saaremaa and take the ferry in the morning to meet Paul and Jan.
At the ferry without ferry. In 5 hours. Aaaaaa!
Day: 87 km Total: 502 km
Sun all day. Nice roads. All day. Amazing bus stop houses all day long. The raisin-pine-tree-sea-smell, which I adore so much. All f@ day long. This is holiday. No, wait! I am planning an exhibition on the bus stop houses, so it's work!!! Do you copy, Mr. taxman? Who cares? It is a good day.
I am sooo happy I did this extra round. This bus stop is the best of all. Yes! It'll be a awesome exhibition called "Next Stop Estonia".
Look what I found. The west side of the island is worth it.
Ok, dead end. I thought I'd make it through the woods. Haste scheisse am Fuß und so...
Time for an air let.
Fuck. Wrong. Ok, other way round.
Day: 76 km Total: 415 km
The day started nice. Sun was out and the sea was by my side. Then, the headwind came and didn't really stop the whole day. It decreased my velocity to 8-14 km/h. This wind is ice cold. The sun is steaming hot. In shade you freeze in sun you boil. No chance to dress proper. I had the same south of San Francisco last year. I hate that! :( This wouldn't be necessarily a game killer, if the scenery would do it. Unfortunately it doesn't. Boring, flat green. Streets straight onwards up to the horizon. Thanks to my Galileo app I found a cute campsite in the middle of a residential area in the city of Kuressaare. Now, beer and flesh. Just for you, stormy wind.
Time for sudoku.
My odometer reads 15.5 C. Far away from Australian temperatures.
Day: 85 km Total: 339 km
After this rather exhausting day I deserve a bit of luxury, so I rented a barn on the campsite instead of pitching a tent on wet gras. Actually, I appreciated the rain today to have a change in the monotonous route straight on. Also some dirt roads were a welcome diversion. The first 3 times when the rain started I always had a shelter close by. The 4th time I put on my rain uniform including surf shoes (a new feature) - worked flawless! In the end a great day.
Weather? Everything in 5 min.
This is a just in time day. I pushed hard, hopped on and off it went.
Again just in time. What a weather! The Iceland-on-off-game.
Just the right timing.
Day: 76km Total: 254km
As opposed to my naive imagination of a Sunday morning, the highway was packed with trucks. Luckily there were a few chances to escape the monotonously annoying ride. I guess Estonia is a bit more rural than Latvia. Also, there are not that many chances to have good coffee like further south. Just real cities offer proper supermarkets and coffee places. Villages are deserted and poor. A few days ago I just realized that traveling through those countries is almost like going to China. You can't read anything, you don't get a word of your neighbors table. Not even a chat is possible - at least with the older rural generation. Quite a bummer, however an interesting experience.
Since I rode around a bay today my former tailwind became a strong head- or sidewind. Some stretches I did with amazingly 8 km/h in sunny conditions - which now are gone.
This morning I woke up with a bad throat and a feeling of getting ill. So, enough reasons to call it a day after almost 80 km. Again I found a funny spot to camp. It's a community field with camp gras, BBQ area, sauna, lake etc. It's made for the people here, but visitors are welcomed to join. Just the same as in Argentina the parilla areas. :)
Day: 86km Total: 178km
So I survived THE party night of Latvia with earplugs and a few beer. From what I saw in the morning the people must have had a feast. Some of them still at 8. I went back to the highway and again tried a variation by the coast. However, again no chance. It's just thick, deep sand and not doable with a bike weight beyond 100kg. Once in a while I was able to take a former freeway though. The loooong straight stretches along the busy highway in between forests isn't exactly what I call exciting. Rather the abandoned like villages are. But I knew it before and it's all fine. I enjoy moving and watching. I crossed the Estonian boarder and as if there was a climate boarder, it started to drizzle. Tonight I will stay in a not yet opened up holiday camp just on my own. I even have shower and electricity. :)
Great first day! So cool to ride through an early deserted Riga. Today it's like Sunday due to a holiday related to midsummer. Guys are wearing oak leaves on their heads... I went on and passed the Riga zoo which is a beautiful park for sport activities at the same time. Stunning! Then, the first pine trees with their amazing smell showed up and accompanied me from that point onwards. From time to time my route became quite off road and severe. However, long stretches were just busy autobahn, which didn't please me as much. I really appreciate riding in perfect weather conditions along a beautiful coast in a very pleasant country. 5 stars!
What a stunning day! Every day is a present.
Arrived at the sea.
Quite a weird start to this trip :) The hotel offered an airport pickup for Nina, Philipp & me. I told them twice about the bike and the width and height of its box. Fine. Guess! Exactly. Just a normal car showed up. My friends took another cab and my driver was upset about that. Then, as we wanted to leave the parking lot, he realized that he lost his ticket. We flipped the car upside down for half an hour. No chance. So, I took a new cab. The first driver told the new one where to go. Technically. We arrived at the hotel and pulled the big box out of the car. I already started swearing against the receptionist, as she told me I was in the wrong hotel. The right one was just a stone's throw away, however by car a long drive around town (which I didn't know at this point). Luckily the driver was still around, so while swearing about the first driver he put my luggage back in and drove me to the right hotel. OMG
It's all forgotten already. Riga is pretty. The festival with foo fighters, kills & biffy clyro has been a blast. Now I am ready to leave. Looking forward to a stunning trip.