Whee!

I so happy, I got information that Google Transvestite is not very compatible with my way of writing, or words I am using :) So let's wrap up some of the fun for the few interested souls. Will not add all the images on this post, but those you can see at corresponding Finnish posts.

As always, my plans are best written as post mortem, then they look like everything went as it should :) So here is the brilliant plan:

Start from Espoo, early enough to drive peacefully on the 110 road towards Turku. Stop at Mantun Grilli for a portion of delicious Makkaraperunat, drive to Viking Line and enjoy a cigar and a pint at Viking Grace. Wake up and after delicious ferry breakfast start Rutku and head to Oslo on beautiful sunny swedish weather. In Oslo, board on M/S Stena Saga for an 12h cruise to Fredrikshavn, Denmark. Cruise local non-highway roads to Horsens and enjoy the medieval festival. On sunday continue to Berlin for a night stop, then Warsaw, Kaunas, Riga and finally Tallinn and Ferry back to Helsinki. Yeah, not much detail on the plan, and details described in Finland, kind of didn't meet.

Day 1/7

Starting from home, later than expected. Drive until Kehä III and realise my wallet was at home. 30 min penalty round via home, and Driving to Turku against clock to make it to Viking Grace. Which I did :)

Boarding the ferry went smoothly, I really didn't understand the smoothiness of this until I arrived back home. On the Ferry I decided to be on a budget mode, so grabbing a few stouts at the TaxFree shoppe, heading to enjoy one with a cigar I took with me from home. Then it was time for some sleep.

Day 2/7

Waking up and wondering am I really awake already, I do assume I were, but not really sure. Time for some breakfast! Cafeteria offered sandwich and "coffee" for about 8 € so I did what they wanted and paid 10€ for the breakfast buffet. Enjoying some "coffee" I still do wonder what the hell are they doing to make that so incredibly disgusting, year after year? Do they avoid costs of dumping gray water by making coffee out of it? Did they get a bargain deal on coffee after 1952 olympics and are still serving it? Either way, it really matches the criteria of "Christ's easter roast" you could be 3 days dead and still it would get you out of your bed. If nothing else, to throw up. Anyway, the other parts of breakfast were at minimum, decent and nutritious so time to go to car-deck via cabin.

I had a Kimi Räikkönen style lead-place at the parallel queue, and Rutku decided to deliver Räikkönen kind of start, by not delivering a start at all. Yeah, I DID know the battery was not at it's best shape, but I did want to make it to Germany for a decent priced new. Kicking myself towards exit and trying to get the sh*t running it of course did not. Oh, I know! We are on top-deck so there will be a slippery metal ramp downhill which surely will star this up, I just need to get through the wall. Once out, I realized swedish engineers brilliantness or merely the lack of it. There it was, not very steep, but anyway, an uphill of approximately 30cm and under my feet a wet, painted, metal with friction of silicone lubricant. No way of kicking myself uphill... Ok. of the bike, and trying to push it. and smooooooth landing on the left side, next to the fence, with just enough room for me to stand in. Some highly effective Finnish swearing and bike up with one pull. Which did surprise even myself, 300kg of wet weight and loaded top and side bags. Ok, one more try with the start, lights are off, check. Power on and start. Painfully slow staaaaart and ignition! I did it, it is running! So out and away! Downhill and to the swedish morning traffic.

Of course my GPS helped me out by letting me know that it was previous ramp to right which I did need when I got signal after the tunnel. WTF! Ok, I do take this one, and make an U turn at front of bus terminal, and down via right ramp, to the road i wanted. Obviously I was not the only one with GPS as 3 gs drivers did same thing behind me :)

Next stop Solna, where i promised to deliver high-five to a swedish person :) No guts allowed me to switch off my bike for our short chat. Let's proceed. Swedish highway was pleasant to drive, though either the shame of my bike or willingness to live freely in Sweden, my little Finnish flag resigned at some point prior to my stop at Rasta Arboga :'( Ok, no driving with flag on this tour, have to invent better solution for a next trip. One coffee and slice of delicious strawberry cheesecake, and I was ready to go again. OMG! Next stop seems to be Örebro. As some of you know, I do have twisted sense of humor and I do like weird movies, so I just had to stop at Infoboard for Örebro to check would I see the infamous Tommy-cousin. (ref. Kummeli Kultakuume - movie) I did not, but took a picture anyway 2015-08-27_09.48.19.jpg

Sweden wanted to provide some rain for my amusemet so time for rain-protection at Lekebergs kommun infoboard. To Oslo! Except one little meal at Karlstad. Prior to Karlstad there was a small cafeteria with one train car at the yard, but they decided not to be open even though their sign and schedule said they would... Thanks. Luckily Norway is wealthy country so they could afford nice weather for my drive through :) Once in Oslo, I parked my bike and took a little sightseeing walk, they had even a Whisky bar, yet while driving I decided for the Dubliner pub next door, and enjoyed a decently priced tasty portion of Nachos! 2015-08-27_17.26.36.jpg

While I drove to waiting line, I realized there is somekind of Motorist exchange in nordics, Finns were on board from Turku to drive somewhere in Norway, and in Oslo, we got approximately 40 bikers on their way towards danish motorist/dragrace gathering. Stena personnell wasn't really ready for this kind of volumes, they started the boarding of cardeck by taking ONE (1) bike at a time, tied it up and next entered... OMG I will wait forever as there was about 30 bikes in front. And then it came, a surprise rain, from the sea. HD-drivers with leather vests are not very tolerant against the rain so even though personnell tried to stop them, about 20 HDs drove in. After this fiasco the redfaced personnel let also others to drive to the deck to wait. There we were, randomly queued at the cardeck and people waited for aqpproximately 20 minutes for personnel to prepare bike places. Surprisingly the ferry left about in schedule.

To my cabin, and spreading my gear to dry up. Then checking what do they mean with Nordic SPA. Ok, they have few relaxing pools, sundeck and saunas. And a outdoor jacuzzi!!! A mandatory question which I expected to be strictly no. "Can i enjoy my drink and cigar at the pool?" lady thought a second, "Why not, there's nobody anyway" a fast roundtrrip at my cabin and to the SPA! As if you would ever travel with this, I do warmly recommend! When I found my way to the pool, I saw several no smoking signs... wtf!?!? I went to fetch the beer and asked about it, she smiled and said, go ahead, there is nobody it could disturb. I love these people with some brains instead of Finnish rule after rule structures.

There I sat, in warm pool, watching the Oslo fjord receiving a night with full moon, enjoying two beers and two cigars, with almost no-one else. Money well spent!

Day 3/7

I decided to sleep 30 more minutes, rather than having a breakfast :) to the car-deck, unfortunately I did not get as good starting point as I did in Stockholm, so I was among the last ones to leave the ferry. Up to the highway and looking for a city to have a breakfast. Chosen city was the Akvavit Capital of Aalborg. A quick roundtrip revealed that this city sleeps even longer than I do, they had a poster of breakfast buffet from 11:00-12:30 damn, no time for that. Luckily Bauns Bageri served some decent bakery product to count as breakfast. While eating I spotted a tower which looked like place to go. Mr Google told that they would open in 30 minutes, so I did visit. Scary, little bit shaky old tower with beautiful view and Makkaraperunat <3 while posting about this, i got a reminder that a Cigar-lover friend is leaving to home from Århus in 5 hours, so I still have time to say hi and have a coffee!

My chose of non highway route to Århus paid back by placing 417.dk surplus store on my way. Nice shop and ok pricing, if you want to compare, they do have wider selection of random items than for example varusteleka,

Few cups of coffee at friends place and time to go on. Surprisingly soon I did arrive to Horsens. And of course I just had to go and check what goes on at the festival. As a resident of Sääntö-Suomi (Regulation-Finland) I was overwhelmingly surprised, and as you might guess, in positive sense. I saw few security guys guiding cars to parking lots, while I parked my Rutku on the roadside. While walking to the festival area, I did not see any signs of security people. No bag-checks, nothing, just walk through the gate to old jail yard, which they had turned to an marvelous medieval market. Info-board told me that there are 300 stands, 4 stages and some other distractions :) of course, all the stands were more or less, medieval looking (not sure how they did really look, as I wasn't there, but at least not those steelpipe-plastic cubicles) Lot of people wondering around, and remarkable amount of people dressed up accordingly. I did enjoy my walk around while darkness arrived and whole place was lit up only with candles, oil lamps and torches 2015-08-28_20.39.08.jpg

Day x/x

Whole day just for the festival! Before noon I walked around approximately whole area. I did find a petting-zoo section, several stands selling clothing, knives, swords, horns, masks, mjod, food and beer. Only major disappointment was lack of medieval beer-attempts all beer was normal Royal or Royal Dark on tap, I would have expected some local microbrewery to take an effort to do some antique beer to be sold here. Then it was time to watch the tournament! Three danish knights were about to compete, until an surprise opponent, three, I do assume, German knights entered the stage to challenge! Show was hilarious and at least one white horse was obviously eager to complete all the stunts they did. One German knights was trying to steal an apple from a child next to me :D of course he did not, but I liked the audience interaction. Unfortunately the storyteller wasn't aware or didn't give a shit that among the audience there was quite a few non danish speaking persons, but I do think I got most of the information, while missing several jokes. 2015-08-29_12.40.29.jpg

After the tournament, was time for a cigar and beer, which finished just in time to see the last Kanin Slaktning! Yes, you guessed it right, there was a rabbit slaughter, in program, at the petting zoo! Of course I had to witness it. There came an older gentleman with rabbit on his hands, petting the rabbit. Until the rabbit got hit by a steel pipe. Audience, mainly kids from 3-10 years and their parents, and a weird dude from Finland was watching how fluffy rabbit is converted to a barbeque ingredient. Show lasted for about 5 minutes and man in charge was having lot of discussion with local kids about what happens and how and why. I do respect!

Whole morning at the hot festival left me hungry, so it was time to enjoy some pork, on a flat bread with mustard and some salad. Meal was good and price was cheap, at least on comparison to Finnish festivals and their 10€ paella dishes. Then I just had to go for mandatory supermarket visit just to come back when sun sets.

Evening was as previous, lots of small bands playing music with bagpipes and suitable instruments, unplugged, with no sound or light equipment, and people was happily dancing and going along in their act, while drinking their beer or mjod or whatever they happen to carry with them to the area. Yes, own bottles were allowed. Too soon it was 2300 again and I walked away among the rest of the audience.

Day 4/7

Wake up at the hotel, eat breakfast and stare the Hobbit kind of view outside :) Time to get gear on and head to Berlin! Navigator suggested driving time of approximately 6 hours, or 9 and half if i would skip the autobahn. F*ck it, I will go via autobahn then. Autobahn my ass! Yes, there were some autobahn, and huge amounts of roadwork! Though as a Finnish driver I got surprised with attitude where a biker is not an enemy, merely a chap who can split, cut, take over and just get on his way as he would not slow down the process at all. And I did not take all slightest opportunities, but if car in front takes right to make room for splitting, i do assume that is what i should do.

I also realized that driving in 35+ temp is not nice, as the wind does not cool you down, it just roasts you :( So on every stop there was mandatory drinking and pouring water on pants to make them cool down. Unfortunately I had to stop for food at the roadside diner. It gave me some understanding on ancient wisdom of German tourists looting the breakfast buffet at hotels where ever they happen to stay. F*cking 18€ for coke and currywurst! If I drive in Germany again, there needs to be some sandwiches packed up, or bought from a non roadside market. No, I do not believe the wurst would have been unicorn meat. 2015-08-30_15.26.06.jpg

Surprisingly I did arrive to Berlin and found my hotel while still alive and not completely roasted. Quick shower and some lighter gear on. While walking around, I found ok-looking asian restaurant, where I stopped for a springroll and steak(?) omnom. A nice warm +25,5 evening called for a tea and cigar at terrace. For some awkward reason, many of terraces were closing but I managed to find one which was open til midnight.

Day was nice, even though way too hot.

Day 5/7

Unfortunately my schedule does not allow an extra day in steaming hot Berlin, so it is time to start preparing. First I need to walk around a bit, to find some healthy breakfast like Currywurst! :D and something to bring home too. Of course a visit at Herzog cigar shop was mandatory, and replacement battery for Rutku from Louis Gigastore.

At Louis I had hopes up for finding a suitable modular helmet for me, yet my hopes were destroyed in 15 minutes. Still, no helmet :( Service desk gave me battery and two bottles of acid. About 30min pit-stop on sunny +36c parking lot was not the most pleasant thing to do, but got it over and done with. New battery wasn't that ready to run so I had to start with cables and old battery. Decided that the battery will charge on my way to Warsaw.

Being robbed already by one German roadside cafe, I decided to wait until I am in Poland. At last! The border has been passed and it is time for some Polish autostrada. Humm, I do see a zoll-booth-line. Oh yeah! I recall there was road tolls on this highway. I got a ticket which tells me where did I enter the highway, cool! So it must be 140km/h til Warsaw and on exit I will pay the fee. Was driving until a surprise 120km/h, then 100km/h then 70km/h then 40km/h and a zoll line again :O WTF! It was like 40km ago when i got the ticket, so the highway ends here? Mkay, I pay and keep going... few kilometers and a Zoll!?!??! WTF Poland? You just can't decide am I on paid road or not? So this insane Zoll circus keeps going until Warsaw with booths at random interval, giving ticket or requiring payment? I adore you guys! How on earth can you make sure nobody can have a pleasant drive through your privately owned highway and you can hire unlimited amount of "I do hate my job, and especially I hate you" attitude only polish speaking clerks! Well done!

To search for something nice about this hilarious stop-and-go highway, there are petrol stations, mcdonalds, toilet stops etc way more often than in Germany and food is reasonably priced and toilets are free.

It's already pitch black evening when I reach my "hotel" As recommended by a local contact, I did do booking to Oxygen Residence Warsaw, which is a nice rent-a-flat kind of solution. Check-in is done and magic token to drive to parking lot got. Driving to -2 and then to my apartamentos! Nice, two beds, kiddy size bathtub, kitchen with all necessary tools. They do have a washing machine too! This is a good hint if you plan to drive around with less luggage and more time, washing possibility is nice unless you are only in for suites at 5 star hotels. As this is not a hotel, there is no bar, nor restaurant nor room service... Luckily just behind the corner there is local gas station where I can buy some food and a local beer. 2015-09-01_00.37.23.jpg

Day y/y

Should I head for Kaunas, or how about some time at this city, with option to meet people? Yeah, another night here.

A friend from Finland is arriving at 1500, and staying in hotel bit more central than mine. Original plan was to sit down for a pint or two at local terrace. Unfortunately +36 is not a nice weather for a Finn. Luckily enough, I noticed they have La Casa Del Habano in Warsaw. Decided to stop there for a cigar or two to take away. That was the plan until I entered the place. Nice, dimly lit air conditioned lounge with leather sofas and stuff! Hell yeah! Quick info to friend about relocation for our beers. Nice! A location was excellent, and there we stayed for two cigars. Then local Friend showed up and was time to head for some food, and shopping. Local restaurant served burgers so had to take one. And hurry to local shops, after some shopping the day was complete.

Definitely a place to stop by again! 2015-09-01_15.59.36.jpg

Day 6/7

Weather wasn't as steaming hot as days before, so I had high hopes on proceeding nicely today. Mistake! I also did a beginners mistake on trusting my GPS. Garmin wasn't too happy about closure of one ramp it had decided I should use, so it guided me for another half an hour rush-hour loop in Warsaw to try again to use the same junction. Gee! Thanks! Luckily I had my google maps, which happily escorted me out of the city towards Riga.

I was expecting a random maze of zoll booths, but none was available, yet here they decided to have some road work to be done. I do assume this will be yet another stop-and-go highway soon enough, but now it was just an endless roadwork. Surprisingly, somewhere in Mężenin Google Maps suggested turning left to a smaller road, would save me an hour! Excellent! Let's see what is the problem here. In Finland Google Maps escorts me through most interesting places, every now and then. Nice road going through some fields and forests. I do assume this road has been planned years ago under "different" regime, as it seems that it has been drawn with one liner, approximately 50cm long and the line has been corrected smoothly after one full length of liner. So no curves, and incredibly long straights. But 90km/h limit and driving through some kind of national park, nothing to complain. (Some kind of national park... Biebrzański Park Narodowy) 2015-09-02_12.16.25.jpg

As there was instruction to eat at some local restaurant outside warsaw, I did assume Suwalki to meet this description :) Hotel Szyszko seemed promising, so park the bike and enter their restaurant. For some odd reason I decided to go with starter and main course, either of the portions would have been enough as is. While enjoying my coffee and cigarillo it started to rain :(

No problemiño! Overall on and on we go! Soon enough I entered Lithuania. While passing Kaunas, the rain was about over and sun was shining through the clouds, Kaunas looked very pretty little city under the rainbow. Go go go! I already decided yesterday that Kaunas is not a stop on this trip. Heading towards Riga. Prior to exit Lithuania I just had to refuel at Neste. When entering Latvia it was quite dark already. I am not used to this dark in summer evenings concept. But still, I am convinced to make it to Riga, at minimum.

Little bit after midnight it is definitely time to eat something, except in Riga outskirts. Last 3 hours all bigger roadside places have been closed, so have to enter the city. There it is, an 24h Statoil with delicious hot dogs! Eat one and decide to call it a day. Late booking and check in to Ibis hotel with guarded parking lot. Perhaps one little whisky would make it a day, enjoying it at empty hotel lobby and up to my room. Surprise! There is yet another kiddie pool at my room. Maybe just a little bath and some sleeeepz.

Day 7/7

Maybe check in at hotel at 0130 and wake up at 0800 wasn't the best possible deal you can make, but sometimes you need to compensate late sleeping time with early awakening :D Enjoying my breakfast at 12th floor restaurant I recall the conversation in Hanko, there is a direct RoRo liner from Paldiski to Hanko. It would be bit cheaper option than beer-ferry from Tallinn. Quick googling and Navirail pages are found, no fancy online bookings, but a phone number to call in. Also, no price for motorbike. Quick call and spontaneous booking. Man and a bike 50€ includes buffet. Check in by 15:00 ok. Cool, let's see what Google maps thinks about this? Little bit less cool... I do have excess 30 minutes to make it. Here we go again.

Quick checkout and on the bike. While exiting the city of Riga I did spot a supermarket! My only weakness! Have to stop! Just to buy some candy to bring home and Borjomi! On my way again... Until the next gas station. Fill up and GPS says 30min late and Google maps suggests 15min. This is how I roll... Fighting the clock on Via Baltica where I haven't driven before. No problem.

On my next gas station, approximately 150km northern it seemed positive, just few more minutes to gain. Until Latvians presented their idea of highway renovation, one side in use and traffic lights for about 5km pieces... So i had to wait, and wait, and wait. But I managed to get myself to the situation I started with. 15min late (or 25 with garmin) Entering Estonia. Renovation was over and their variant of Highway in use. Which means max 90km/h and some cameras, which also affect bikers. Damnit. Never say never! I did make it, 5 minutes to spare. I could have used it to fuel up but I didn't dare.

Arrival to freight harbor is an exiting task. I did find a gate and enter the harbor area... No check in anywhere to be seen... Ok, maybe they do it on board? Let's ask the personnell unloading the ship. Strict command to stay there and wait... Ok! Waiting is something we Finns are good at! 15min to departure, one guy walks to me "Have you checked in?" "No, I have no idea where, and i was asked to stay here and wait" "well, öhh, drive out and there is little office at the external area, hurry up! we wait" Quick run to office where lady say I am late but was willing to sell me my ticket as I did reserve it. Tickets and rushing back to ferry. Luckily another biker showed up and I managed to get one photo prior to boarding. 2015-09-03_15.14.58.jpg

Strap up the bike and go to upper deck. Friendly reception lady says to radio that we are ready to go, checks my ticket and welcomes me on board and to buffet.

Little buffet is served, about 20 truck drivers are eating. Only sign in buffet is one which explains that no food can be taken with you or you'll get 50€ fine. Quick look around gives me an impression of food :) You know like basic food, for truck drivers and ferry workers. There was 4 different meat options, potatoes and small selection of vegetable items. It was tasty and there was enough of it. Dessert was rhubarb pie and coffee. Serving ended and I decided to find out what could I do for remaining 2½ hours... Absolutely nothing :D there was no taxfree, no bar, no bingo, no sauna not even an afternoon dance with little band. Which on the other hand would been slightly gayish as there wasn't too much ladies around :D So good time to enjoy cigar... damnit, I forgot my bigger cigars on my bike. So cigarillos and coffee that is.

2 hours looking the sea view, having few cigarillos and several cups of coffee isn't a bad thing. Hanko is reached and Last in - First out works on my benefit. I found my way out of the harbor and proceed towards home. Drawback of my tight schedule lights my fuel lamp just before Raasepori. Fill my tank and have one more roadtrip coffee and proceed.

At 22:00 I reach home. With 3303 km on the clock. Quick unload of bags and time for sauna. After sauna it was nice and cool to enjoy a glass of rum, cup of tea and nice cigar 2015-09-03_23.39.33.jpg

Thank you for your interest!