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.
Now the journey must go on. I try to get some rest in the ferry, since I didn’t sleep well last night, but without success. Upon arriving to Tallinn, while I get ready to leave the boat, I chat for a little while with another biker I’ve met in the hold, a French who’s spent the summer working in Norway–where the salaries are very high–and now, on his way back, he’s taking a short route along the south of Scandinavia. The hold’s gate opens, Rosaura and me get ashore and, after crossing the city–which takes a little while–we head directly for Viljandi.
More or less half way I stop at a road bar. The waitres is a young, pleasant and beautiful lady; she’s got a charming smile and doesn’t seem too bothered by my age for a little flirt. That reconciles me with the female gender, which behaves so different in the progresist ‘civilized’ Europe. I order a tea and a homemade bun, and when I ask for the bill I almost fall down: one Euro fifty. Used to Norway, where identical thing costs exactly ten times more, I think I’m robbing them. But no: actually this is much closer than that to the real value of goods; and in fact that’s how it’s going to be for the next few days, at least until I exit Poland. Germany will be different. I’ve already said that the problem with travelling to Norway is not so much how expensive it is, but that afterwards everything else seems so cheap that you may easily start wasting money just for the sake of low prices.
In Viljandi, a towh that I had already liked on my way up, I’m going to stay three days now; at the same accommodation than last time, a kind of hostel tended by a group of volunteer ladies.
This time, however, when I hang around the place, I’m perceiving a different Viljandi than before: back then, the annual international folk music festival was about to start, and there was people all over, visitors from many countries. Now the town is more like its natural self; and also I have more time to know it better, so I can now, with better judgement, confirm the pleasing impressions of one month ago.
By the way, I’m surprised to see so many women everywhere, in Estonia. This is the same sensation I got when I first arrived to Poland, eight years ago; but I had already forgotten it. Now it’s stricken me again. Same back then as now, it’s interesting to see that many women all over, on the streets, on the restaurants and bars, the cafés; groups of women of all ages, young, adults, elderly; and most of them quite pretty, by the way. I have the impression they’re a graceful mixture between the Slavic and Nordic types, blondes, pretty and nicely built.
Funny that, on my onward trip, since I was coming from other less developed countires such as Latvia and Lithuania, Estonia seemed to my, by contrast, very Nordic (except that, being much poorer, there are no immigrants nor refugees here), and I concluded then that Scandinavia didn’t really start in Finland, but in Estonia. Now, however, travelling in the opposite direction I get just the opposite feeling: everything seems quite Slavic here. So, I guess that truth must be something in between both impressions, which would mean Estonian is probably a society halfway between the Baltic and the Scandinavian ones.
Now, in one of my saunters I’ve found the place. The ideal place for this time of the day, just before sunset. It’s a hotel and restaurant with a terrace on the first floor, overlooking a parking lot and facing all the way west, without any obstacle to the distant horizon; so that, when the rest of terraces, restaurants and taverns in Town are already in the shade, there’s still one extra hour of sun here. Let’s enjoy it with a Bothers Toffee cider; one of the best ciders ever. It feels great here, so peacefully!
In my restless analyzing myself, I can’t stop wondering why is it that I’m so strongly drawn to solitary and isolated places, better yet if abroad. Playing the psychoanalist, I ask to myself: maybe the language barrier provides me with an excuse for not having to communicate with people? Am I then a social misfit? A cheap psychologist would ask: is it a subconscious search for my own isolation and I’ve settled in that loneliness? Am I deluding myself when believing I want to be in company? Am I chasing the impossible? And if so, is it something I do consciously, or at least suspecting the falsehood of such search?
Or, rather, is it just the romantic and day-dreamer in me who’s taking me to this kind of places? Is it just a bunch of hopes what I’m after?