23 August '04. Monday. The past few days in Tallinn has really gone by fast. First Tallinn has a wonderful "Old Town" that any visitor would really enjoy, and we sure did ourselves. Second, we found a department store in the central district, that offered free internet service if you have your own computer....and we did. I was able to catch up with a lot of unfinished business. Estonia is to us, a country that was in name only. Yes, we have all heard of the "country" of Estonia, but that was about all that we really knew. Now, we have found a country that has some very warm and friendly people, a tough long history, and now, just celebrated their 35th year of Independence. Estonia sits just 80km off of the coast of Finland and for that reason their language has a lot of simular sounds and meanings. Tallinn's medieval "Old Town" has been protected now under the Unesco World Heritage List, and it is really no wonder....it is beautiful. The Old City Wall that encloses the Old City of Tallinn is mostly intact, complete with 9 watch towers. The castle of Tallinn is pretty much lost, but the surounding city and the remaining walls make up for the loss. The castle was set up in 1219 by the Danes, but was soon lost to German raiders. Title to Tallinn has gone back and forth to many countries and land lords over the centuries. Well, all good things have to end, so goodbye to Tallinn and headed South. We are currently in Parnu about 140 from Tallinn. The weather is really starting to change and right now we are sitting in a very cool (cold) van. We took a walk into town and then out to the beach. The sand is white and very fine. The water comes up a very slight grade, which makes it very shallow for a long way out. Today with the wind blowing at gale force and it wasn't a very fun place to be. Tomorrow....not too sure yet
20 August ’04, Friday. 44 years ago I married my high school sweetheart…..
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY HONEY,
I Love You
Making this journey with you, is by far better than our 1st Honeymoon and at that time too, you were my navigator as well by navigating us from Seattle to Pensacola. You have had a tougher time on this trip and a driver that isn’t so understanding when he goes right instead of left or misses his turn 15 miles back…..isn’t life great. I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity to travel the world with you for anything.
We checked out of the campground (and I use that word campground loosely), and headed out to find a new home. Louise had done her homework in finding a new place, so it wasn’t too long and we were checked in and on the bus to Tallinn to see the sites.
Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia and is located just about at the furthest northern tip of the country. We are on the same latitude as Sitka, Alaska. Just about 80km away from Finland by ferry across the Baltic Sea. It has had a stormy history that dates back before 900. The first writings of the castle here were in 1200. Estonia has been under one siege after another from the earliest days. They received (or took back) their independence from Russia on August 20th of 1991. That was one of the reasons we were so intent to get here to Tallinn, so that we could celebrate their anniversary with ours. We spent the first afternoon just exploring and enjoying the “Old City” and the surrounding walls. We also enjoyed a wonderful desert (it took the place of our dinner) at a medieval style restaurant and decided right then that we would return for a real dinner soon. With this being “Our Day” we headed back to “Bumble Bee” to un-cork a bottle of the bubbly.
Tomorrow…..more of Tallinn
19 August ’04, Thursday. I don’t want to say “Page Two”, so I’ll just say it’s Estonia’s time…. First off, I also wanted to bring you up to date on the weather….just when you don’t expect it, the sun comes out…..just when you don’t want it….IT RAIN’S and I mean rain. Thunder and Lightning type….Blowing side way’s type….. It just so happened that on our trip through Lithonia and into Latvia, it was just that for our first night….. Now on with the Estonia border crossing…. (now remember, we had an early start….) When we pulled up that 30’ to the crossing arm, a young man (not so good looking, and his suit looked baggy…) came out to meet us. We gave him the big smile and “Hello” and passed on our Passports. He then wanted the papers to “Bumble Bee” as well. This is only the 2nd time we have been asked for those papers, but we had them close at hand….no problem….Well, I don’t know what he was doing in that office of his, but he was there forever with us sitting out front. WE WERE THE ONLY PEOPLE THERE (and most likely the only one’s there for the whole day !!!)…. Well, there was 1 truck that stopped and went, and 4 young boys on bicycles that stopped and were let through. Finally another young man came out with all the papers in hand and smiled, walked toward the gate and lifted it with a wave…. Across…. 20’ feet a round the corner and onto DIRT ????…stopping, I wanted to see that map….it show’s a “paved” road…what the hell is this DIRT???? Well, it can’t last forever can it? It did for another 25-30km and I must say my attitude was in the toilet !!!! Finally, after ¾ of the morning on lousy roads we were back on blacktop. The rest of the afternoons ride up to Tallinn still had a few minor glitches, like all of a sudden, “Bumble Bee” started missing, lost power, and a couple of back-fires. I hope the problem is “water in the gas”, but I’m still working on this…. Arriving in Tallinn our first, and most important, goal is finding a campsite. Let’s get back to the map….the map’s we buy have listed on them the camping locations…..Wrong….this one show’s them listed, but were the hell are they….we drove to hell and back and couldn’t find ONE !!! Now we didn’t get into Tallinn as early as we had originally planned, but we definitely weren’t late. As it was, with a lot of traveling here and there, we finally found “The Worst” campsite we have ever seen, but we had to call it home….at least for that one night. Tomorrow….A NEW CAMPSITE or Bust !!!