Finland is a shock. Beer is about five times more expensive than in Estonia. No wonder the numerous tourists take advantage of a nice ferry trip to Estonia to take back home some liquid "groceries".
It was our tenth day on the road with roughly 750 km behind us. After short exploration of Finland capital we enquired about the possibilities to take bikes on the train on the way back. To our surprise we realized that the north most train station is over 700 km away from North Cape. Train was our escape plan. Plan was simple: cycle to North Cape and return by train. Bummer. Following advices about cycling through southern Finland from a Lithuanian friend, who literally just returned from a trip, and tourers we met on the way, we decided to skip the mosquitoes and take the first night train as north as possible. Due to credit card problems we had to wait in a queue three times, but every time we got there the price was cheaper (different person at the counter).
The night in a sleeper train was great. We woke up in a totally different world. Lapland.
Tallinn is a beautiful place with lot's of distractions, apparently. We managed to stay two more days in this lovely capital of Estonia. After a night outside it was quite obvious, that next day wasn't going to be the cycling day. So we moved out of the camp and visited a friend who offered us their garden for camping. It's always nice to have somebody local to show you the place. And next day... next day was tango night, so we stayed another day, again at the camp place - which, strangely enough, is not intended for tent only visitors. Thanks for understanding. Somehow the nicest girl at the reception managed to find the way for us to stay there anyway. And moreover we got the chance to wash the clothes too. The third day we had to make a decision - run for the ferry to Finland, or stick around. We chose the former. And almost got caught in Helsinki beer festival. Luckily the camp site is about 15 km from the centre, so we didn't bother to go back, although the metro station is right next to the camp. Needless to say, we were too late for sauna.
It had been raining. The morning was hilarious. We don't know why. Up until today, every morning was funny, but this time we just couldn't stop laughing. Simply because, we had no idea which day it was...
Due to the lack of time - lost in Vilnius and Riga, we were about 150 km behind our plan on our 7th day. There were no actual plans really, but we liked to feel, like there were. So we made terrible decision not to take the scenic beach road, but went straight to Tallinn with the idea to board the ferry to Helsinki as soon as possible. The main road is kind of a motorway, but we saw some cyclist, so we did not try to look for the alternative road. The weather was kind of cloudy, so when we got a bit of sun we stopped to dry the tent. When we finally got to Tallinn, there were no big "Welcome to Tallinn" signs. So we had to make sure we were actually already there by asking people about our whereabouts. I guess they thought it was a candid camera day.
So we wondered around the city looking for camping by simply following the crowd. There were literally thousands of people going in the same direction, walking on the four carriage way road. We eventually got to the Tallinn City Camping. which was totally overbooked for some strange reason. Never the less, we stayed there, well at least our bikes and tent did. The reason for crowd on a random summer Wednesday was Robbie Williams's concert just a stone throw away from the camp-site. We spent the night out in the city with the majority of the concert attendees.
The usual. Start easy and then gradually take it easier. We crossed the Estonian border without special ceremonies, which is weird, since we at least expected a coffee. Everything was closed - end of the season apparently - in mid August?!. We stopped quite a few times and decided to camp somewhere around Parnu. Finally we settled under the bridge just outside the city. Yes and there was a beer story.
OK, enough with the "city explorations". It was afternoon again before we headed north, into the wild. We took the major A1 road from Riga towards Estonia. It's following the Baltic coastline for over 100 km, and was expected to be a nice scenic road, but although you're just a few meters from the coast you hardly ever get to see the sea because of the trees. Who has the time for sea dipping anyway. This is the work of cyclist, just push, enjoy the scenery and stop every 20 km. That has become our strategy - we cycle by our own individual pace and meet every 20 km, or roughly every 45-60 minutes, for a short break. Everything is becoming automatic. Wake up, laugh for half an hour, eat breakfast, start cycling, pit stop for water, cycle all day with regular breaks, after 6 pm look for water and a place to spend the night. After 90 km, when the road touched the sea again and when the time was just after 6 pm we started looking for place to stay and buy some groceries. The place we stopped at looked nice for camping, but there was no shop for the next 10 or even 20 km, since it was Sunday. And, by the time we get there everything will be closed anyway. Thinking about our bad luck, we noticed a small camp ground and thought it would be nice if they had something to offer, but they (the old lady owning the camp site) a) didn't speak English, and b) it was off season already. We were just about to leave when out of the blue two Lithuanian girls arrived by car and were kind enough to give us a lift to the "near by" shop (20 km each way) to buy the stuff we needed. Of course the evening turned out to a nice dinner with a nice company. Thanks!