This September 9th will be highlighted in my logbook as, by far, the worst date in this journey; and in my personal calendar as one of those few regrettable days that life inflicts on us once in a while.
Last night it’s been a restless one. I had maximum two hours of poor quality, unsettled sleep; as if foreboding what I was doomed to undergo today. When, in the morning, I accepted the defeat against insomnia, I packed my things, left the hotel room and hit the road. But I was already tired, even before starting the day’s journey. A bad beginning for a biker; a bad omen too — or is it the same thing?
From Daugavpils (that’s Latvia), I had planned a route to Vilnius (capital of Lithuania) along the by-roads bordering Belarus. As usual, I’d take the less busy ones. And indeed they were quiet: lonely and also–but how could I have known?–dangerous, because those are the regions where freely breeds, grows and dwells, wild and unchecked, predatorless, the savage truck driver. But more on that later. Continue reading “The Devil on wheels”
I leave fair Viljandi behind, and head to the southeast of Estonia, where the roads –I’ve been said– are less boring, have curves and even slopes. And, indeed, it turns so; but because I always take by-roads, now I’ve ended up in a long stretch under construction near the Latvian border, which I hope Rosaura will overtake without any mishaps. I’m afraid I’ve too often temped fate along this long journey, and I’m just too lucky not having yet got a flat tyre; or perhaps tyres are much more hard-wearing than we think.
This region between Viljandi and the southeast border, mainly rural and agricultural, is scarcely populated or developed. Maybe that’s also why it’s so nice: farms and fields alternate with woods and groves in a suggestive mosaic of colours and textures; there are picturesque housings, barns and wharehouses, always wooden and often colourful; some of them look like a Western’s set. Continue reading “Latvians, embrace consumption!”
Here I am–almost one month later–in the ferry acoss the Baltic, from Finland to Estonia. On my way north I sailed with Eckerö and now I’m taking Viking Line, which from Helsinki to Tallin costs 54 bucks. That’s the problem with sleeping until late: everything’s more expensive. The morning ferry, Eckerö’s, costs only 35; and there’s also another cheap one in the evening, but arrives late at night and I’ll have to make a stopover in Tallinn, which I don’t want to. One month in Escandinavia. Thus said sounds like little, but I feel like if it had been double: I’ve gone through all of Finland from south to north, I’ve done a considerable part of Norway’s litoral, visiting many fiords and islands, including the famed North Cape, I’ve then crossed Sweden and then again part of Finland; I’ve met people, visited friends, and I’ve even taken some short brakes from riding the bike for a few days. That’s why it seems impossible all that has taken place in just one month. Continue reading “Summary of Scandinavia and impressions of Estonia”
In the most hidden of Porvoo‘s medieval quarter, at the heart of its ancient cobbled streets, there is a short alley on the bedrock with a few natural steps that the locals call Pirunportaat, The Stairs of the Devil, because a legend goes that he himself carved them. To one side of this scarcely frequented passage there is a tiny park on whose end, behind a thicket of bushes, a rocky platform arises. On the platform stands a wooden bench, from which a sea of roofs can be seen. Surrounded by trees and with just one entrance, this is perhaps the quietest and most secluded spot in Porvoo: away from noise, sheltered from glances and hidden from passers by; only two or three small back windows in the adjoining houses hardly overlook the place through the tree leaves. This is just where, in case you want to be alone and not disturbed.
Sunny morning this August last day’s, that brings me a great view from the room’s balcony. Pity I’ve woken up too late and, as usual, laziness has prevented me to profit from the hotel’s breakfast. But anyway, I’m not used to eat anything right after waking up.
I wouldn’t mind to spend one more day here, in Ähtari, but I must hurry up; don’t ask me why. Is it true I’m escaping from the cold, or is it rather I’m getting tired of this trip, as absurd as my own sterile life? Whatever; let it be like that. I pack my things, pay the bill in reception and head for the parking lot. I believe this is, probably, the best moment of a motorbike ride: when you get astride on the bike’s seat, grab the handlebar, turn the engine on and, drawing back the side stand, put first gear (oh, that sober clanc noise!), release the clutch and ride on, lowering your helmet’s screen as you gain speed… Continue reading “Sysmä; tribulations and discoveries of a lonely biker”