This story continues with Rensina van den Heuvel traveling overland from Finland in an old Russian truck First part of the Story here
Right now as I write this, we are parked on the edge of the Bay of Finland, outside Tallin in Estonia. There’s just twenty metres or so to the water, so the view would be great except that the windows are fogged up and the sky is as grey as a slate floor.
It’s still wet, wet, wet and was bucketing down when we accidently found this spot. It’s hard for me to imagine that we are so far from Australia. About 14,700 kilometres in fact and in a few short months this place will be white with ice and snow.
It’s a good a place as any to sleep and I am forever hopeful that the sun will be glistening on the water in the morning.
We’ve just had dinner which was the usual (at the moment) pot of vegetables with a few spices added to jazz it up and noodles. But I did also stuff myself with the other half a jar of marinated raw fish in a creamy rich, mustard mayonnaise. ( I ate the first half at lunchtime)
A delicacy of the Scandinavian countries and most of Europe there are more than fifty ways to eat this raw fish. The supermarket fridges are loaded with it. It WAS a big jar and very delicious! Allen hates it…what a shame.
As we drove from the ferry this arvo the city of Tallin looked interesting and they have trolley buses. I’m going on one of them tomorrow. We’ll probably leave the truck here and walk back into the town to explore. It’s Sunday tomorrow so we won’t be able to get the truck parts we want until Monday…Good time to look around….
Hello, here come the ‘Polizie” in a big blue van . I peek out of the window from behind the ‘blackout’ curtain to see what they do. They cruise slowly by then drive on up the road. They’ve got bigger fish to catch!
Our big AUS sticker on the front and back of the truck explains pretty clearly that we are not actually the Russian Army, even though the truck is camouflage.
Anyway, I have to go back a bit in my story to this morning as I am way ahead of myself.
Never totally trust the voice in the GPS…
Robert (the calm Australian who lives in our Tom Tom Navigator) was not really awake when he directed us to the ferry and gave the directions in reverse. In other words we went backwards all the way…on the GPS. But we did not actually drive backwards. ‘Robert’ is getting really close to losing his job!
We had time to spare once we arrived so we ate breakfast then wandered over to the terminal. After checking out the ‘info’ room, we were told to drive in through the ‘truck’ entrance at 1.00pm. At 12.50pm Allen loses the pin out of his watch band and is crawling around the back of the Gaz on his hands and knees looking for it.
Anyway, we go through the truck entrance, just on time only to be pointed in another direction by an ‘official.’ Allen turns the truck around and we drive down and go through the car entrance a few hundred metres away.
Once we got there, to ‘check-in’, I hand the young friendly woman at the boom gate our internet ticket.
She looks at her computer screen then up at me and enquires, ‘Allen and Rensina?” “Yes” I said in stunned amazement that they could be SO organised. She hands me two boarding passes with our names on them, and says with a big smile, ” Have a safe trip“…Mmm? Safe?
I hope so, lovey.
We drive towards the bright orange and green ferry and are waved up the ramp by a port official who looks a lot like a doctor in his white coat.
After parking the truck into a space on the lower decks where she will be chained down for the ocean crossing, we venture up a few floors and find rows of seats like an auditorium. The ship is massive with eight levels of berths, restaurants, bars, lounges and a dark seedy looking bar with poker machines.
The auditorium is right at the bow of the ship and it’s all clear glass or perspect along the entire front. A magnificent view of the ocean and I imagine that on a clear day, it would be spectacular. We are high up and the rows of seats tier down to a massive stage, which is right up against the windows. Unfortunately there are no performers on the stage today so it’s time to get a cuppa from the bar and read. That was earlier today!
Into Tallin and it is an incredibly beautiful town. It’s sort of medieval and has an ancient castle near the centre complete with turrets and cobbled roadways. We wander around the town eating, looking, meeting some locals who dress in medieval attire and just discover how other people live, way up here in the far northern hemisphere.
Wandering around the ancient architecture of old churches, it’s nice to be out of the truck. Gardens surround and meander through, the tall stone structures of the medieval castle.
There is an installed sculpture exhibition sort of integrated into the sections of gardens. There are pottery statues and other works of art made from metal and timber. The pathways wind around the gardens and are narrow and cobbled.
All the flowers and trees are so unlike what we have in north Queensland.
There are all the ‘cold weather’ species of carnations, babies breathe, chrysanthemums, roses, phlox, daffodils, jonquils, lavender, peony, violets, forget me nots and blue bells, which are a riot of colour as far as the eye can see. The trees are birch, oak, pine and spruce and give off a delightful aroma.
There is one particular ‘art’ display which totally captures me!
As I walk towards it I see it’s large board about 2 metres wide by 2 metres high and it sits on short posts just above and in the middle of a large garden bed.
There is a photo covering the entire surface of the board. I stop to take a really good look at it.
It’s a picture of a small girl of about four. She is wearing an old fashioned bright red dress with gathering at the waist, lace around the hem and embroidered smocking on the bodice. Her little yellow gumboots contrast with the dark brown earthy mud, which clings to them.
She is blue eyed, smiling brightly with a smudge of earth on her cheek. She has pearly ribbons tied in bows at the end of her blonde plaits.
In her muddied hands, she holds a small garden spade with a vibrant green handle. The little girl is planting small flowering bushes into the soil. There are a few flowers already blooming in the newly planted garden.
The actual real garden where I am walking, reflects the images on the board. It is also a new garden, which is just being established with small newly planted shrubs with buds and new flowers.
I walk a few paces further along the pathway to see what is on the other side of the board.
And there, I see an image of an old woman who standing in the middle of an incredibly beautiful garden filled with fruit trees laden with oranges, pears and apples. She is surrounded by roses and flowers of every colour. It’s chaotic and abundant with diversity.
The woman is about seventy five years old. Her thick long plait is wrapped around her head and pinned into place like a glistening silver rope.
She wears a loose fitting, old blue dress and has a faded floral pinafore apron over the top. One of her hands sits in the large front pocket and in her other hand she holds the small hand spade with a faded green handle. The paint is peeled.
As the woman gazes back at me with her bright blue eyes which have not faded with time, I realise that this woman is the little girl.
The image of this display will always stay with me. It was just beautiful!