Brad’s guest post!
We left Odda and drove and drove and drove… after 9 hours of being on the road we sailed through the Swedish border. No questions, no tolls and no passport checks, well it looks like they accept anyone! The night had well and truly fallen and here we were learning Swedish again through road signs, luckily the stop and give way signs are very similar but I workout the lane ending sign a little late. Besides those few minor hiccups we were on the lookout for a place to spend our first night free camping, the first truck stop was naturally full of trucks and there was a line up for the toilet so that was a no go, the second place looked prime for local drug deals so we moved on. After being on the road for over 13 hours and successfully avoiding the influx of Volvo drivers in Sweden, we found a nice quiet truck stop and we successfully free camped!!
In the morning we drove the last 90kms into Stockholm and set up in a parking lot that Britt had found via a blog. The problem was there were no toilets and Scarlett’s on board toilet has been reserved for extreme emergency only, because we all know who is going to be emptying it!
Lunch had passed and there was a city to explore, coffee to be had and delicatessens to be found. We completed all three goals for the day and even pick up some good clothes from the Op Shop we stumbled upon. What we found hilarious was every shop we walked in to had ABBA playing. The Swedes are still very proud of this pop group… over 40 years on!
With our freshly purchased salami and cheeses it was time for an afternoon beer, which we had missed for the first time yesterday. As we sat on the public bench with our beer and food we received a few odd looks but most importantly more motorhomes had found there way to the parking lot. There they we all introducing themselves and coincidently the two men had matching pink sweaters, I missed this memo and we missed the meet and greet. Later that night Britt noticed that all the motorhomes had moved away, it seemed odd but we shrugged it off. The next day was reserved for brunch before boarding the ferry for 15 hour to reach Tallinn. Coming back from brunch we found a $108 AUD fine on our windscreen, maybe we should have gone over to the pink sweater party. Frugal Macdougall was in a huff and was off to investigate, she literally disappeared and I was about ready to leave for the ferry without her. Returning just in time (after being gone for an hour!) she had walked down the parking lot to inform the follow motorhome people that we received a fine for parking overnight and met Steven, a retired English man who told her his life story, that we are getting all the grief in Europe because we have German plates and gave her a tour of his motorhome which Britt now wants!
After much research, we found out that you weren’t allowed to park in that area from midnight to 6 am on Thursday’s due to garbage collection and it was just our luck that the only night we were staying there was a Thursday. With the fine, an extreme lack of public toilet and expensive food, we were happy to be boarding the ferry to Tallinn, Estonia.
Geared up for the ferry ride we were ready for the food and drinks. We had some kwells (non drowsy travel sickness tablets) and a beer before dinner and hello bed at 7pm and 12 hours of sleep! I had an expectation that the ferry would be nice and new, nope! Decked out in 90’s ‘we want to be luxurious on a budget’ décor, I was glad we slept away the trip.
The mission when we arrived in Estonia was to find the campground without data, so we were back to using Mapsme. As good as this app is, there is nothing better than having data as we got lost and ended up having to grab a coffee from a café to use their Wi-Fi, what a shame! It turned out to be the best coffee of the trip so far. With our directions sorted we were off heading in the right way this time, we finally arrived but there was no one there and only a phone number to call and remember we don’t have data or the ability to call or text. Off to the shops we went and luckily Monika, the owner and the Russian grounds keeper were there when we got back. The next day we off into Tallinn and it was 1 degree outside! We were catching the train into the city and leaving Scarlett to have to day off. The train arrived at the station just as we did, so we jumped on without a ticket. A couple stops down and a lady in uniform who looked like a ticket inspector was walking through the train, so we bailed. Outside in the cold at an isolated station we looked for a ticket machine and there was none to be found. After waiting 20 minutes for the next train there looked to be another ticket inspector so we asked about getting a ticket, turned out they were ticket providers and not inspectors… and we thought bailing earlier was a smart move.
We spent the morning shopping and we to our fourth H&M of the trip to buy some more cold weather clothes. The afternoon was spent wondering around the old city, which has been the best old city of the trip. With tired legs we decided it was beer and snacks time so we had our own little pub crawl around the old town. With a light buzz we headed back to the campground to not be greeted by the Russian grounds keeper, who never once waived. The last task of the day was to get some firewood as we had used all of it the night before, so here I was playing charades with the Russian, bag in one hand and wood in the other. We finally understood each other, success!
Britt later commented to Monika, who speaks five languages that the Russian wasn’t very friendly and she said ‘no, he is very serious, but like a good guard dog!” This summed him up perfectly.
We left Tallinn and made our way to Latvia which will be covered when Britt returns to Millennial Adventures!