Category: The Road to Riga (Page 1 of 5)

One For The Doubting Thomas’

I must say Ian has done us proud with his last update, I spent the last week in awe
of the fact that he managed to get the word velveteen into a posting, and now look I’ve managed it too!

Well the weeks have past and we now look back on our fantastic journey with rose tinted spectacles, yes Russia was difficult and yes the problems we had were of our own making, but my word have they given us plenty to talk about.

Funnily enough one recurring question I’ve been asked since returning home is “would you do it again?”. Well my answer is quite simply, no. But to be honest it would have been the same even if we hadn’t had problems, there is after all a very big world out there. For anyone thinking about a similar run my suggestion would be to head due north through Sweden and into Lapland, then head south through Finland to Helsinki and then take the ferry to Tallinn and then down to Riga. Although I have it on good authority that it would also be well worth travelling on down to Vilnius in Lithuania. With the benefit of hindsight, which as they say “is a wonderful thing”, I would have considered parking the car for a few months and then flying back out to participate in the Baltic Snow Challenge this sounds just up my street, but typically I’ve only just heard about it. Perhaps one of you out there on the interweb will consider it!

Time for me to sign off, all the best and thanks for reading,
Pete

Ps. Oh nearly forgot, here is the photographic proof that we did at least meet one blonde person on the trip! Pity she ended up getting our car impounded!

The end of that long, blonde road.

“Inside the compartment it is the very picture of conviviality. The professional busybody assigned to our carriage shooed me and Pete and settled down in the last compartment. Why would she want to be anywhere else? Her whole life is laid out in her home on wheels, with coloured cushions, flowers, her own curtains, an icon on the wall and a singing kettle on the stove. Always on the road.

Our first-class compartment is also like a salon, with two velveteen pull-out beds, red draperies, white lace curtains and plastic flowers on the table.

The train pulls away, outside there is nothing but Russian countryside, here and there a chimney, from the speakers the soft sound of Russian songs, and quite soon the day begins to fade…”

So that’s how (to paraphrase Supergrass) we set sail from St Peeeetersburg. making use of our tiiime…
In three days we were out of there …and it wasn’t a day too soon!

Albeit for all the wrong reasons, Russia probably was the highlight of our journey and definitely an experience that’ll stay with both of us for a long time and (although we lost the car) we made it across land from Oxford to Riga in two weeks as planned. We travelled 2500 miles(ish) through 10 countries, stayed in 13 different beds (including the car once and a Russian prison) and were hosted by 7 of the nicest people we could have met. We saw parts of Europe I’ll never forget, we had no crashes, didn’t break down and didn’t squash any moose, moomins or fellow Europeans. So, all-in-all I’d consider that an overwhelming success.

It’s been said before but once again, a massive ‘Thanks’ to everyone that helped us, thanks to everyone who has been following us here (and for your messages of support) and a special big thanks to Sarah (Pete’s wife) who, from the base back home, helped us on many many occasions.

Proost, Prost, Skaal, Kippis, Na zdorovje, Prieka and Cheers
Your friend
Ian.


The Riga express. The quickest route to freedom

Home Blog: RIP Our Trusty Steed

It’s great to be home but I can’t help thinking I’ve left an important part of my soul in Russia.

RIP Rover (aka The Dog, aka Ralph) you served us so well.

Riga, I gotta leave ya…

I came to write my fairwell but it’s just taken sooo long to get all my pictures fixed – I’m outta time

However, it’s enough just to say that I’m still in Riga (although I did go out of town exploring today) and still without a real plan. However, I’m gonna head to the coast tomorrow with a Dane and a Yankie and then we’ll take it from their. But anyway, this is another journey and has no place here on the Road to Riga so, to get the usual Eddy updates from now on, please return to my original hiding place – bearder.com.

For the photos. Please click your mouse on this link

You’ll find a few like this…

Finally, can I just echo Pete’s sentiments and thank eveyone who helped, look after and hosted us over the past two weeks – you’ve all been fantastic. Also, many of you have emailed over the last few days (pete included) and I promise I’ll get back to ya’ll asap

Airport blog – Riga – Day 15

Well, as you already know from Ian’s update we made it to Riga. Pity about the car, but it was always a one way trip for it.
I have just waved goodbye to Ian and left him in a sweaty hostel dorm room with a rather odd bunch, he will fit in nicely!!

I’m about to fly back to the london where Sarah will be waiting (assuming she has forgiven me for the Russian stress earlier in the week).

We have had a fantastic trip , met loads of great people and seen some stunning sights. Contrary to the pictures in the blog we only had 3 big nights out and took our driving seriously, yes, its a shame that we ended up on a train, but hey that in itself was an experience.

Loads of stuff to follow so stay tuned:)

Once again thanks to all our wonderful hosts. A big hug to Irena in St Petersburg. You were so kind we could never thank you enough.
Pete x


The T-Shirts say Road to Riga in Cyrillic (hopefully)

I’ve lost track of the day number…

…but this isn’t a road blog anymore

It’s a foot blog

However, all is well, we made it to our final destination and we’re currently enjoying sunny days in the Latvian capital – Riga.

What happened in Russia? Well, it’s a long story (and best explained using lots of expletives) but, the basics are – the car got impounded, we got a Russian style wrist-slapping and the language barrier made fixing things near impossible.

So, with the legal formalities complete (we hope) we took our stuff and came to Latvia minus the car. It’s a little disappointing as we did indeed loose the furry dice however, as far as we know everything else was resolved and looking back it was quite an experience. We also had a huge amount of help from the Russian people we met and, without exception they were friendly, helpful and generally great.

If your planning a trip just make sure you know which forms you require and leave the car at home.

We spent the day exploring Riga yesterday and since the sun is shining today – we’re off to the beach for some much needed R and R.

Pete leaves for the UK tomorrow and (as usual) I haven’t got anything planned beyond that. I’m sure we’ll both find time for a concluding blog rant in the near future.

Ian and Pete

PS, our you’ll be pleased to hear our faces have almost returned to normal now.
PPS, the odd-shaped toilet thing is for being sick in. I kid you not….

Train blog – day 13 st petersburg to latvia

Sorry for the radio silence. We have had one or two problems in russia. We are currently on a sleeper train to riga. Much more to follow. However please dont worry as all is well. Need to get some shut eye and will update later on. Love to all pete and ian.

Road blog supplemental – St Petersburg

We arrived in the city this evening. It is fantastic, so beautiful. Ian and I are having a few (about 50) beers to celebrate. We meet our kind host Irena tomorrow. This is just a wonderful trip, hope we are insiping people as we go.
You must come here soon.
All our love Pete and Ian x

Road blog – day 10 – Russia

It took us 2 hours to cross the border from Finland into Russia. Lots of paperwork but no real problems. Insurance for Rover cost 1100 rubles. Currently in transit to st Petersburg where we will stay for the next 3 days. First impressions are very positive. What a fantastic trip.
pete and ian

Day 9, Salty porridge and Moose meat from Jyväskylä to Lappeenranta

What is it with these countries? where are all the stickers??

We’ve been looking for 7 days and 5 countries and just can’t find any. We found a shop this morning that sells plastic dogs, 50cc mopeds and wine making equipment but no stickers. We were hoping to plaster the car in them but it’s not proving easy. I guess stickers (the national flag, symbol, country code type) just ain’t cool up here. We finally managed to get a shinny ‘FIN’ sticker this afternoon with the help of our hosts but still…

Anyway, we’re still having a lot of fun in this pine-tree wonderland. We’ve been having a picnic with Krista in Jyväskylä, laughing at a chubby kid in the internet cafe who was devouring 4 large energy dinks and making funny noises, being baffled by strange toilet things (see picture) and drinking ‘bear’ with a bar man from the 80’s …and that’s just in the last 24 hours! We even slipped a real Finnish Sauna in for good measure. Also, in an attempt to stop myself from becoming completely car-shaped – I’ve even been jogging twice. Once along a Swedish river where I got attacked my a Goose and once through the Finnish forrests where I got lost. Luckily, I survived both and still have enough energy to write this rambling update.

We’re now in Lappeenranta on the south-east frontier of Finland and the north-west frontier of Russia and we’ve been hosted by the kind & friendly Jaana and Toni. We explored town this afternoon, saw the biggest sand castle ever (a whole wild west town) and let Toni joy-ride us to the supermarket in Ralph, the car. The drive here from Jyväskylä was short(ish) about 4 hours and we stopped on-route for tea, pasta and canned Moose meat.

If all goes well we’ll be leaving europa tomorrow and (if they let us in) we’ll be dancing with the big, red, Russian bear tomorrow in St Petersburg. We’re on schedule so hope to spend as long as possible in Russia soaking up slavic hospitality and being confused by cyrillic symbols.

In good BBC fashion, we’ll keep you posted with news as it unfolds…

Hei Hei (bye bye (for now(can you put brackets like this?)))

Ian (typing this) and Pete (drinking a Marskalkka beer).

PS. Did you know that…
> Unless you were born in Finland, 78% of Finnish words are impossible to pronounce
> 22% of finnish words have over 60 double letters and 33 syllables
> In 2007 2671 English people died trying to read or speak Finnish

PPS. Despite my repeadted warnings to remove it and offer of a truce, Pete has chosen to turn this page into ugly photo warfare. He’s done it to himself. So, I leave you with the following…


I say no more


Idiots


This holiday is turning out to be one big wig-fest


Can you work out what it is? We think we’ve worked it out. See if you can guess


Wey-hey a finally a sticker!


Loose Moose


Picnic ontop of Finland

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