Thursday 10 July 2014
A wide open window and a hot morning, next to a major highway with a never ending stream of trucks. I wonder if they still are working on re-locating Finland to a more southern position. This bed and breakfast is right on the highway by the town of Uliunai. The room numbering is unique in this new building, starting with number 0 (zero). It’s room number 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 up here.
”Welcome. You will stay in room number zero.”
Everything is new, but they haven’t yet decided if they are building a B & B business or an amusement park. Behind the dorm building there are small wooden cabins, playground, wooden sculptures, a dam, a swing with a big sledge, like it’s been hijacked when Santa Claus stayed here. It was strange to find that thy didn’t have any breakfast, only the evening menu all day. The breakfast – or morning dinner – would be more expensive than the bed when you stayed here. We couldn’t face the idea of a main course for breakfast, but headed off north instead. Up the road we came to the town of Panevezys and bought breakfast to go in the local big supermarket and had it in a park, overlooking a lake. A perfect spot for breakfast and to plan the day.
The day turned into a Baltic odyssey, driving through the remaining part of Lithuania, through all of Latvia and then up through Estonia to Tallinn. We by-passed Riga, crossing a big river on a big dam wall west of Riga, then up along the coast without seeing Baltic Sea at all. We crossed into Estonia and the whole road trip has turned into a slow journey into landscapes, faces, houses and clothes that more and more resembles Sweden. That is not to say it’s becoming nicer, but actually more the opposite, as it’s reminding us about the modern world, the global madness, the fixation of the internet. We pondered upon the wild thought of turning east into the unknown and forgetting about Estonia and the ferry towards Sweden. The monotonous landscape, the dark forest crawling in and blocking all view of whatever was behind it, made the road rather boring. The most interesting part came when we tried to find a hotel in Tallinn, without a map, and relying on Anders’ mental maps from previous visits. His maps very perfect, the only problem being modern road works and road blocks and detours and too much traffic in too small a space. We did find rooms at the Tallink hotel, near the ferry terminals right in town though.
Then we headed for dinner in the Old Town. Emelie and Robert picked an Indian restaurant and later reported that the vegetarian dishes very really nice, extremely spicy and hot, but perfect. Simon, Anders and I headed for the Olde Hansa restaurant, an institution in itself. Made to look medieval, perfectly done in every detail, but also a tourist trap and an Estonian Disneyland. It didn’t matter as it is a marvellous place, great atmosphere, wonderful home made medieval type food, spiced beer in one litre ceramic jugs, and a constant low playing of medieval crum horns in the loudspeakers. Most lighting is by candle and I fell in love with the place almost before stepping inside.
Through the evening, the beer, the warm schnapps called Monk’s Bride, we were joined later by Simon’s old student friend Oliver, Emelie and Robert and then by Anders’ old friend Helen. Helen is a pianist, whose father is a composer. Oliver and Helen were both good company and we shared many thoughts and laughs during the evening.
Later in the evening I wondered if it would be alright if the customers – me – would stay the night and curl up on a wooden bench to sleep.