West before South
On our trip across Europe, Russia is the one country that is not part of the EU. It has a different feel than any of the other countries we cross through and its’ remarkable history in literature, art and expansionism/military conquest are prevalent. With all of the recent media bombardment in the West (and in Russia) regarding Ukraine it is that much more important to arrive and be able to experience for oneself the feeling and way of life of a people.
After mentioning that though, it was rather funny that our 4 American cyclists were all held for questioning when they tried to exit the country at the Russian border. It was not a large issue and our Tour leader Gergo answered all the questions, but it shows how easily paranoia from politicians can filter down to government workers. Would CIA spies leave the country on a bicycle tour? Perhaps it’s a good strategy!
The first stretch of the Trans Europa has led us to Tallinn. The cycling days were not easy but they certainly are not the toughest and have allowed everyone to ease into the ride. The same could be said for our accommodations, with 2 cycling day hotels in Russia and then 2 camps in Estonia people are getting used to the day-to-day life on Tour. Camping does seem more challenging for some than others
Everyone has been commenting about the forests we cycle through in Estonia, the endless daylight, and the beauty of the Baltic Sea. Our two camps in Estonia allowed for people to go swimming in the Sea and while the water at the first camp was quite chilly at the second camp the water was shallower and allowed for some very pleasant splashing about.
Now that we are in Tallinn the cyclists are exploring the old town. Some of the staff headed to the “oldest bar in Estonia” the Hell’s Hunt which has the interesting logo of a naked woman hanging onto the back of a wolf apparently running through Hell. There is never a shortage of interesting venues to check out on a 2 ½ month trip across Europe!