Estonian Ramblings

Hi All,
We are sitting in a gorgeous town Vijandi in Estonia, It seems like Arrowtown, lovely old oak trees and cobbled streets. A big room cost $50 NZ. Today a few of us went for a ride in a “bog” National Park. Really high water table and lots of flooding, deep moss under the trees. The locals were frolicking in the brackish pools as it is mid summer, woman classy bikinis and the blokes in flesh coloured  budgie smugglers. An amazing country of a million folk, free internet everywhere, no  rubbish, amazing castle ruins and lush parks.

It is the place to visit before it becomes fashionable… but…Don’t come in winter when -20 isn’t uncommon.
After the ride today we were covered in dust from the gravel roads, didn’t see any brown bears that roam these areas but saw the scratch marks on the trees where they mark their territory. We came back to the start point as we are two nights here it is so nice. Another language though, but luckily many speak a bit of English. Just settling down to a pre prandal beer for $2 under the oak trees.

To the Rusian experience,,,,,I’m really glad I learned how the read the Cyrillic script as no road signs were in English. So it was my job to find the hotel and follow the signs to get us out of St Petersburg. Big cities are hard to navigate so we have to stay close together and hope the leader can figure it out. Tony (the last bike) got stopped by cops but wouldn’t get into the car so eventually got away. Common ploy here to try to get some money from the drivers.
People in Russia are quite mixed, hard to read as they don’t smile easily. The lady at the petrol station told us “no” and shut her window. We have to pay before you get petrol so we had  a problem.     Eventually after a bit of knocking on her window and waving money she gave me a pen. I wrote the pump number and the amount of money in rubels and said thank-you in Russian, problem solved petrol flowing, life was good  again.

Russia is one of the most expensive places we have been to. There is no accommodation in the smaller places and it has been the larger places or tourist destinations. for us. What a harsh recent history but wonderful buildings and monuments of a bye gone era also. I’ll come back when I have time to just browse for a week in each place.
We go to Latvia and Belarus and then back into Russia. Borders slow you down and can take most of a day just waiting in a queue. Moscow looks to be quite an exercise logistics as we change Phil for Chris for the second half of the trip and have all the big city things that have to be done , like getting oil filters.

The weather in NZ even makes it to the news here so I hope you are all Ok.
Lots of Love

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