Well Helsinki was a nice two day break and a nice sized and interesting city. We enjoyed it. On day 2 I had to go back to work again ( a tour drivers work is never done!) as I had to take the bike out to a Company called, with a nice Anglo Saxon sounding name. "Bike Team". Mike fixed us up with a new set of tyres and Timo from the service dept gave Orlanda a full bells and whistles service.
Somewhat surprisingly the rear break pads had to be replaced. Must of been something to do with using lots of back brake to get round all of those Norwegian hairpin bends. For the uninitiated the use of back brake on tight bends actually helps the bike to corner sharper and smoother. Thanks Timo for a servicing job well done - the bike has never sounded sweeter.
Then the next day it is on the way again. With wet cobblestone streets, wet and slippery tramlines and a fully laden bike it was a bit like ice stating.
However withou any mishaps we were at the ferry terminal. With a name like " Viking" I would have expected a long boat with 20 strong men, all wearing bull horn hats and moving heavy oars. Instead this is what we got -
With the inevitable wait at the Helsinki terminal. Just a moment, have I left something behind?
Then on the good "Long boat " the Gabriella
Our travelling companions had the kitchen table, tablecloth, candles and a bottle of wine stacked on the big Honda Goldwing.
Note to self, must buy a folding kitchen table tomorrow!
And thus we arrive in Tallinn in Estonia. Again wet cobbled streets but our hotel is up a narrow lane just off the lovely medieval town square. When I eventually found the hotel I scraped the remainders of the pedestrians off the front of the bike. They did'nt speak English anyway!
We wander round the old part of town. Being somewhat old myself I feel quite at home !
The town hall
There was a tip jar on the counter in the restaurant. Instead of just saying tips are appreciated it said
" Tips are a way of saying thank you without the awkwardness of a full body contact hug ".
Well I suppose that is one way of putting it. Personally, at my age I would go for the hug!
It was interesting to see that the restaurant food in Tallinn had a strongRussian influence. The menus were also in Cyrillic Russian. Apparently about 20% of the Estonian population are Russian. Plus only being a few hours by road or rail from St Petersburg there are a lot of Russian tourists. There was bear and borsch on the menus! Plus Russian beer and vodka everywhere
And did you know it was Estonians that invented Skype ? Yes, its true - I read it in Lonely Planet!
And having spent all of 24 hours in Estonia it was a case of heading South to Latvia.
If you look at the above sign carefully you will see that the truck that is allowed to only go 80km/hr is the same size and shape as the one that is allowed to go 90km/hr. Look very closely and you will see that the one only allowed to go 80kpm has an arrow facing backwards on the side and the truck that can go 90kpm has an arrow that faces forward. Work that one out ( and tell me the answer please ) And as for the bottom instruction .........
The countryside was green, verdant and a delight to ride through. I was reminded of the verse "There was a green and verdant land !"
And we arrive at the Latvian town of Cesis where we stay for the night. I have a glass of cold tea !
Cesis has a very pretty town
And with a very old and famous Lithorian castle occupied originally by the "Knights of the Sword." "Ivan the Terrible " from Russia ( not to be confused with " Vladmir the very Terrible " from modern day Russia! ) had several " whacks" at the castle.
You are given a lamp with a candle in it to tour the very dark parts. Here is the lady with the lamp. " Let my little light shine"
And thus ends our one and only day in Latvia. Tomorrow ( must be Thursday!) it is Lithuania.