Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Encore Day 038 Tallinn - Helsinki

We arrived! We took the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki where Yesmith
waited together with Baby Luna for us :o) . She is muy cute! We went home
to have some food and talk and guitar playing. Later Alex and me cycled
into the town center. They have awesome cycling paths here. The city is
quite modern, there are some nice buildings every now and then but overall
it is not as amazing as Tallinn or Riga. In the evening we met up with Cam,
Australian writer who had just arrived in Helsinki where he had found a job
that allowed him to get paid for what he likes to do most. He couldn't
quite believe his luck yet. He was couchsurfing at my place. It was great
to catch up with him after such a long time. Once we had cycled back home
also Thomas had arrived. I know Yesmith and Thomas for 9 years now and I
had beem at their wedding in Mexico 5 years ago - it is wonderful to meet
them again and to say hello to their newborn babygirl.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Encore Day 037 Aespa - Tallinn

I fought the very dangerous tiger Simon most of the night. In the morning we made some plans - our host Railis sister is living in Tallinn, so we could stay there. Raili even decided to join us  (though not on bicycle) and show us around. We cycled the short distance to Tallinn and within the last 10km of your journey we got into some heavy rain. Very spontaneous heavy rain. We were cycling in bright sunshine and 2 minutes later we were completely soaked. Fortunately we had only few kilometers left. We returned Alex's bike at the bus station and met up with Raili again. We went to her sisters place, got into dry clothes and went to Old town to have probably the best pancakes of our lives. We went a bit through the very beautiful old town until it was time to have some ciders in the park - illegaly, as drinking in public spaces is forbidden :-O Somehow we didn't stop at that, so we gathered quite some experiences with the Tallinn bar culture.

Encore Day 036 Paide - Aespa

We hadn't managed to see all of the museum in the rampart tower yesterday, so we went to see the remaining parts. I didn't know that before, but in Paide we had also ended up at the birthplace of mighty mighty Arvo Pärt - on the way back to Kristas place we visited the site of his birthhouse. Around noon it was time to say goodbye to Krista and we started a long ride. About 90 km with mostly forest to the left, forest to the right. We just stopped a few times for food or a roadside coffee - which was the first time I used my cooker since leaving Leipzig. We arrived in the small village of Aespa where our host Raili lives in a small and simple but nice house - together with Simon, a very very dangerous tiger! In the evening we did the only reasonable thing: going to a Metal concert, yeah! Most of the bands were quite good and we even managed to meet some other couchsurfers there.

Encore Day 035 Tartu - Paide

After the rest days we gained new strength. Maybe a bit too much - shortly after starting this morning Alex was cycling with so much power, that her chain burst. We ran with the bicycles to the train and during the one hour train ride I tried to fix it - kind of difficult when everything is shaking. We got out in the village of Rakke and the first try showed that my fix did not work. The second fix in better light conditions did the trick and we were on the road again. The cycling was not very spectacular but nice. The promised rain didn't come and there was nearly no traffic at all, so we cycled taking and singing through the woods and fields.
In Paide we were given an extremely warm welcome by our first-time couchsurfing host Krista. After late lunch we ventured out to visit the ruined castle of the German Order. The best preserved part is a rampart tower, which contains a very interesting multimedia museum of Estonian history. We especially liked that in the presentations the Estonians don't take themselves too serious. The evening we soent talking with our very nice host Krista and her 3 cats.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Encore Day 034 Tartu

Rest day! We slept in and only  started the day after lunch. Despite being Estonias second biggest city, Tartu is pretty small. It has some interesting sights though. We went to Domberg which is crowned by a gothic church ruin. Once we got down we went into the Tartu art museum. I especially liked some of the paintings/objects from the last 2 decades.
Some hot chocolate and cake later we got lost in antiques shops which had surprisingly many German books on offer. Later we found another old church in which some guy played piano - very simply but very soulful. Finally we organized a sunflower and brought it back to our host Silvi. She is an incredibly knowledgeable woman. It is really amazing what kind of people you meet when couchsurfing - I wouldn't have dreamt of ever having a chance to meet a university lecturer of semiotics. But she also knows about many many other topics, so we spent the evening discussing with her about literature, politics and much more.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Encore Day 033 Valga - Tartu

We cheated today. When looking out of the window after waking up we saw a
hëävÿ rainstorm going on - so we decided, that the train going to Tartu in
the afternoon sounded like a very convenient travel option. We could stay
with our host Mario until then, so we spent our time talking about Estonian
and German history and culture and language, looking around town, cooking
and eating. Once we were in the train I heard some very familiar language
coming through the door: a couple from Leipzig trying to load their
bicycles into the train. We had a lot to talk about during the train ride -
though Alex had a hard time understanding our accent. While cycling to our
host in Tartu the weather turned really crazy - bright sunshine, 5 minutes
of heavy rain, bright sunshine again. With a rainbow! Our host Silvi is a
very nice, very interesting lady. She teaches Semiotics at the university
and she fed us very good vegetable soup, chocolate and self-made jam.