“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9

July 6, 2015

Day 1 - Helsinki to Riga

5th July 2015

You know those times when you wish you could just get out of the car and transport yourself to your destination just by thinking of it? Well, if not, that is exactly what I feel like doing right now. Not that the scenery isn't lovely, or that I wouldn't want to be on this holiday, but that I would love to be at our destination instead of stuck in traffic here on the road from Parnu, Estonia to Riga, Latvia. There is only so many times you can play UNO before it starts getting boring... 

So, to catch you up I will begin from 5:30 this morning: wake up call :D Mum and Dad woke up earlier to get ready themselves, the disadvantage of only having one bathroom, and woke Harri and I up when they were ready. I woke up very easily, and got ready easily, but then it was only until after that I started getting tired. It is called 'delayed wake-up reaction'. Not that efficient really, my body is weird like that. 

The drive to the port was quiet at 6am. Not many people are awake early in Finland, on a Sunday especially. So we got to the harbour in only 10 minutes, which in peak hour could get to 30 minutes. 

Driving from our apartment to the dock in the morning

So our plan for the day was to catch the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn with the car at 7:30, and then drive from there to Riga with a few stop-offs along the way for food. That was the plan, and we hoped to be able to get to Riga for an early night ready for tomorrow. Now we now that there are things we didn't see coming... Things like Sunday traffic, difficulty reading signs, and most importantly the fact that Nav Nav (name for our GPS) couldn't direct us through Estonia and Latvia!!

Before I get ahead of myself, it was lovely getting on the boat to Tallinn before all the regular passengers who came on foot :) We have been on the trip many times before, but just not in the car. So we all enjoyed driving on the boat in the car :D Even though I have been driven four times onto a ferry in a car before, it is always such an awesome experience driving into the mouth of the ferry!! It feels like driving into the mouth of large fish. Interesting sensation!!

Travelling in the car onto the boat 

We got a lovely seat next to the window and sank down into the cushiony fabric of our seats for the two hour trip to Tallinn, Estonia. To pass time we played games, and I especially loved getting 26 points from the word JOY in Scrabble. However, Harri did beat that high score by adding MER to WORLD to get a whopping 42 points!! It was a really good game, even though I came 3rd (second last). In this way, it is the experience that counts, and not who won. 

Us all on the boat ready for our trip. 

Our score from the Scrabble game we played. 

This trip was starting out swell on the boat, but that was going change next; and so it was not untill we began driving off the boat that we realised our faithful 'Nav Nav' was not cooperating with us!! We had planned on allowing 'Nav Nav' to guide us to all of our destinations, and now we had to do it the old-fashioned way... AH!! 

As we departed from the boat we all started to feel hungry for morning tea, so we stoopped off at the Old Town in Tallinn for a bite to eat.

The old town in Tallinn.  

However, we all started feel abit agitated with the lack of signs in Estonia, and probably also the fact that we hadn't driven without a GPS in ages. Subsequently, we were all stressing each other out about it all, and I am convinced that the roads circled it's way around Tallinn just for the fun of it. I don't know how Dad continued to stay calm at the wheel to be able to drive us out of that city... Needless to say, we circled a couple of times before following the only road that would logically make sense, and hoping that it was the right one. It was weirdly funny that there were different signs on the same road going where we were supposed to be going. When I say funny, I mean when you get to the point were something very stressful can only become funny about how stressful is. If you know what I mean...

Along the way Harri and I did the traditional thing that children usually do in car trips, and kept asking 'Are we there yet?', to which Dad would promptly reply 'not quite, or almost there'. The usual childish saying gave us something to do when we were getting weary. We also played many games of UNO and I read. I had planned on more, but the trips always seem to go much quicker than I have planned for.

Next we then arrived at Parnu, the famous beach location in Estonia. Parnu is known for it's white sand beach, much like beaches in Australia and other warmer countries. It was lovely town, and walking to the beach was quite soothing really after all the time spent in the car. However, we all did felt that something was missing at the beach, and this missing piece of the puzzle, we suddenly realised, was the lack of the sound of crashing waves hitting rocks. Well, we wouldn't want to find Australian beaches too close to Finland :D In this way, now we have something to look forward to when going back to Australia!! 

Us all at the Parnu beach in Estonia, with Harri behind the camera. 

After leaving Parnu, and stocking our car with all the necessary equipment for snacking, we set off towards Riga. 

Crossing the border from Estonia to Latvia. 

When we crossed the border to Latvia everything suddenly changed. While the roads in Estonia were no where near roads in Finland (in that you had to watch out for potholes), at least the cars were actually moving!! In this way, straight away when we crossed the border we had to stop because of the traffic, and it continued. We were moving at the pace of a snail by the half way point!! In addition to the traffic, the way that a one lane road suddenly became two lanes without a line was very different!! That was something new, and I must say a tad dangerous :D I had read about the atrocious driving of the Latvians, but it was still a huge shock when cars came whizzing past us illegally. It was then that I remembered reading about how in Latvia you are supposed to drive as close as you possibly can to the side of the road to allow these drivers the space to over-take, to make this illegal manouveur as safe as possible. Hence, that was the reason the cars in front of us where vearing right to side of the road!! hehe. 

After that experience Harri saved the day by directing us, by using apple maps, straight to our accommdation without default. It was at this point that I started to feal like I could conc out at any given moment. Subsequently, I can't remember that much from our walk to the grocers and showering. Except to say that the tea here in Latvia is VERY cheap :) I think we will have to stock up on tea before we go. 

Anyway, tomorrow is mum and dad's anniversary, so I am looking forward to doing something relaxing with them.

Now you are uptodate,



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