Category Archives: Finland

Helsinki to Tallinn, freezers and ferries to Estonia.

Drifting around in a Kayak.

Drifting around in a Kayak.

Two of the ‘lucky few’ are shamelessly living-it-large, at the moment, we’re on-our-fathers yacht, what’s more we’re kickin-back and doing-a-lar-di-dar to our hearts content, relaxing like Mr. & Mrs. fancy-pants who live on bugger-all-to-do-lane, in nowt-to-do’s-ville, for as long as we feel like it, or until we both die from the over-use-of-Hyphens. Thing is, we’re a bit washed-out, travel-weary from all that recent movement over the past few months. It’s understandably difficult to comprehend that our life is very busy most time, (I know you’re thinking ‘my heart bleeds’), but it can wear you down. Planning, packing up, moving, un-packing, nope-we-don’t-like-this-place, let’s move again etc. life can (sometimes, but not often), get you down, just a little and constant rain for 3 days and nights will not help. It’s never going to win against ‘the counterbalance of freedom’ that this life gives you…but it can get bit relentless some days…only some days, and that’s a warning sign, time to break the cycle…that’s when it’s nice to just chill-ax, if ya can… get a beer (or 6) from the fridge, pull out a chair and say…bugger this for a bit, the big ‘ole sun is out and I’m not moving for a week. And that’s where we are at the moment, on a north Polish campsite Nad Zatoka, next to a lovely lake, the (Jezioro Beldeny), chilling out and recharging our emotional, travel-weary batteries.

Pass me another box of those hyphens!! … I’m booking a ‘do-bugger-all-afternoon’!

That's my sad face

That’s my sad face

Where were we?: We returned from St. Petersburg to find we had a freezer full of un-frozen mush! Now, normally (if you eat meat), you would take it on the chin, fix the freezer and re-stock at the next supermarket. But, we are not normal…(fact Winking smile) we, through choice, don’t eat meat. So our freezer was just a little bit special. A little bit different from contents of an ordinary omnivore’s freezer. It was full of specialist  vegetarian protein food. Veggie sausages, burgers, mince, pies, Quorn pieces and strips and many meals Angie has pre-prepared with veggie options. A quick internet search confirms we have no chance of replacing any of it in any Baltic country, as far as we know.  We were delighted last year, when we found a Morrisons in Gibralta, which stocked a few ‘Quorn’ brand products, but that is simply not going to happen for us in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or Poland. There are many veggie restaurants in the capital city’s, but our budget dictates we don’t tend to eat out much. So this comes as a bit of a blow to say the least. More on that later, we WILL live I’m sure, it just makes choices different & more difficult for ‘The Cook Angel’. I’m  busy “Googl-ling”… ‘How to catch a Quorn’.

So my challenge was, its Friday morning, its Finland, it’s the weekend tomorrow, (oops, sorry, this afternoon, forgot I was in Finland then for a minute)…must get the freezer fixed today, because tomorrow, nobody will care until Monday morning. I had a replacement PCB for the freezer in the boot (forward planning, it sets Engineers apart! Winking smile!),…but if that wasn’t the problem, I’d need other bits or even help, so I thought he best plan of action was to drive to the nearest MoHo service centre and see how we get on. Thankfully, just north of Helsinki, Helsinki Motorhomes , was established over 30 years ago, they are passionate about the freedom of Motor homes and have thousands of spare parts for all brands of MoHo’s. The guys proved to be super helpful with free advice and also let us park-up whilst I tried to get my head around the problem. I/we finally got fridge/freezer going and I also bought a spare gas solenoid valve, (normally the #1 problematic part, just not in this case, but I’ve got one now so we’re set) it was a dry joint on the card (PCB)… but you never know what may fail in the future and we NEED a freezer, the spare gas solenoid valve is in the boot.

Fridge freezer control box. Gas solenoid bottom left, PCB under the black cover in the middle, burner top right, ignigter and thermocouple top left.

Fridge freezer control box. Gas solenoid valve bottom left, PCB under the black cover in the middle, burner top right, igniter and thermo-couple top left.

So… fridge/freezer fully operational, but empty, time to return to Helsinki and exit Finland. Time to book the last and biggest ferry, the VERY last ferry, back to the ‘main lump’ of Europe, as opposed to Scandinavia [Yes, I know Finland is NOT Scandinavia, but it’s just how my head works. I’m sure they are not offended].

Reversing into Tallinn.

Reversing into Tallinn.

The last word on Scandinavia: If I said I was ‘Blown away’ by Norway, I would be under-cooking it. Playing it down, underselling its divine, breath-taking, absolute beauty. Ok…It’s raw. It’s wild. It’s a huge beastie. It’s massively long, incomparably deep, stunningly, naturally, gob-smackingly…beautiful. Finland on the other hand (for us) was just long straight roads and trees, but before I start receiving hate mail, I’m sure it has more to it than that, but that’s just about all we saw & probably will not return and that’s our loss. Sweden we can’t comment on, as we just used a tiny part of it to get into Norway, but it looks interesting, maybe another year.

Standard issue Norway...stunning.

Standard issue Norway…stunning.

It’s the end of August, what we have missed so far this year is ‘warmth’, the sunshine. We can’t remember the last time we had shorts on and the chairs out, (before Hamburg I think) so we decide, at a cost of skipping through the Baltic’s, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to make a bolt for central Poland. Get a spurt on south to find a bit of sunshine. The Tallink ferry departs from Olympic terminal at 08:00, we’ve to be on-board by 07:00 (Aferry, Cheap Sunday morning route, £160). Would you believe, the day we leave Finland, the sun comes out and it’s 28°C by 1pm. Helsinki and Tallinn are only about 60 miles apart! We get reports it’s 30°C in the Lofotens. The boot’s full of laundry and so we make a bee-line for a campsite with washing a machine and top up with LPG on-route.

First stop- LPG is everywhere in the Baltic's.

First stop LPG, it’s everywhere in the Baltic’s.

As a side note, I wasn’t expecting to find any ACSI affiliated campsites in Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania, as they are not listed in our Andriod app or the ACSI books, but all three countries are smattered with them, it seems that ACSI has embraced Eurocampings into the ACSI fold, so if it’s listed with them, you can also get a ‘cheap camping stop’, but it seems the prices are fixed by the campsite, not ACSI.

By lunchtime we’re 15 miles south of Tallinn at Vamamoisa (€22 +EHU, free WiFi, a nice, tidy, new site) with a line full of washing, a fridge full of food (and cheap beer) and, as usual set about campsite chores, ie. Laundry and Cleaning Charlie, inside & out, the 240v oven is on, slowly cooking jacket potatoes. Once chores are done, I get the shorts on and the chairs out and guess what… it’s drizzle by 5pm and 2 dryer cycles are needed to finish off our laundry, bloody typical!

Beetroot and garlic mayo...the Baltics love beetroot and so do I.

Beetroot and garlic mayo…the Baltics love beetroot and so do I.

Estonian cakes. We can now afford 'em!

Estonian cakes. We can now afford ’em!

Really? Come on!

Really? Come on!

Catching up on our dash through the Baltic’s next. Kindest…Wayne.