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Alta - Helsinki - Tallinn - Riga

Sorry about all the detail.  The last post has been a while now and I want to write it down while it's fresh. I can always rewrite it later when I'll work on my book. We tried leaving Alta for Tromso, but after 2,5 hours of a lot of cars and none stopping we decided to just head south.  It took another 1,5 hour before someone stopped. For the shortest ride of our trip, 2 km only, but it was encouraging, especially thanks to the strawberries we got from the young woman who picked us up. From the bus stop we were dropped at we didn't have to wait that long again to get a ride to Kautokeino, in a huge Chevrolet, driven by a guy attending a Christian meet-up.  He only talked a little bit about Christ and the gospels his friend had made were actually a good way to learn some more Norwegian.   After walking and waiting a bit a guy stopped. A friendly dog in the trunk.  He was on his way to Rovaniemi, which meant we could go along for quite a while. We found out he was actually going for a weekend of hunting. Nice to find out for two (mostly) vegans. Well, at least killing the animals you eat is more sincere than having a huge machinery do it for you. We were dropped in an abandoned tiny village and decided to continue a bit more, even though it was 22:30 or so.  Of course it was still light, we hadn't seen more darkness than the blinders would give us in 5 days. Surprisingly, a couple stopped, and then I had made a mistake. I left the bluetooth GPS device given to me by Marcus on my bag. So I lost it there. It was much faster in getting a satelite fix than my N810 so I slightly miss it these days. Then after 25 minutes driving we were really dropped in the middle of nowhere and killing mosquitos decided to set up our tent.  In the morning we heard "nok nok" and some Russian but we didn't feel like inviting the millions of mosquitos in our cozy tent. Later we got a ride from a Norwegian on his way to buy a fridge. At the crossroads two friendly Finnish women picked us up. They were totally into fishing. We were dropped at a city at the Northern coast of Finland where it took us not too much time to get a ride to Oulu. I had sent a bunch of texts to our potential host in Oulu but hadn't received anything back.  I decided to give her a call when we were 50 minutes away from Oulu.  Apparently none of my messages had come through.  The same thing happened in Denmark, where my messages never made it to the recipient. I will have to file a complaint with Vodaphone, especially if they still dare to charge some ridiculous amount of money for sending less than 160 bytes.  She was actually on her way to a festival close to the spot where we found our ride to Oulu. In the meanwhile, our driver told us he was driving all the way to Lahti, 90 km from Helsinki.  Since our back-up plans in Oulu were not working out either we decided to head to Lahti and see if we could still hitch to Helsinki from there. Our driver had to drop off his trailer at his summer house, which freaked out E a little bit since it was not even on my GPS map.  We got there around midnight.  There was a gas station and a big mall.  And lots of mall rats. With scooters.  And "no picknick". We had some food anyway, thanks to the supermarkt guard. Then we tried a bit of hitching. No luck. So we pitched our tent in a little bush next to the highway.  Next morning, oh well, a bit later, we started hitching. I guess it took 2 hours (not looking at the time) before a car stopped.  Not going south.  We decided to take the ride anyway and the friendly old man showed us how pretty the little village used to be.  We wereropped and started walking in the direction back to the highway (but more south).  Again we were picked up by a friendly old guy and then we had to walk even more. After hours of walking and thumbing we were getting slightly desperate, less than 80 km away from Helsinki. Then finally an angel stopped.  She was a very friendly nurse who had been looking for berries in the forest. We hugged goodbye at a metro station in Helsinki. We finally were able to take a shower and clean Anu's fridge.  We quite a few days in Helsinki, first at Anu's, then at Laura's.  Dumpster dove quite a bit and made delish food, vegan soup, pancakes.  I finished the garam masala and bought some new. The ferry to Tallinn was a forebode for the internet situation in Estonia.  You can find (unprotected wireless) internet in almost every street corner and apartment. Apart from Andros' place. I had to plug a cable into my newly bought Acer Aspire One. We cleaned out his junk room so we had a very comfy place to sleep. He also had a car and loved to drive around people all over town. Yesterday morning he took us to a good spot to hitch out of Tallinn. The first driver was an IT/artist guy who drove us to Parnu. When we got there we had some baked goods and it started pouring down.  We were almost tempted to take a bus.  It appeared to cost more than 10 euros per person though, and the rain, well, hitchhiking in the rain is good for character building and practicing bad Russian. We found a local bus eastward and when I thought I saw a gas station we got off.  To find out that we could have gone 4 more stops. But we saw a lot of trucks coming our way and started walking there, almost drowing in the rain.  We decided to ask at a gas station and my bad Russian appeared to be very useful. We found a ride to the border with a friendly Latvian Russian guy.  The radio was all about the war in Georgia.  In Russian though, but we had already been drowned with news about the war in Tallinn.  People are very concerned here. I'm glad Marian didn't take the plane to volunteer and report the mayhem. At the border we tried hitching. I asked 2 truck drivers, but they didn't want to take two people.  I did see 4 very similar trucks and decided to try and ask them if they could take us. We where dropped next to a highway because they didn't go all the way to Riga and through my GPS found out that we were at Salaspils. Walked a lot. Missed the last train.  Walked even more. Found a microbus for 1 lat (1,50 EUR) to the city. Happy. In Riga we were warmly welcomed with Leffe, food (but not veggy) by Inga, her roommates and two tiny black tom kittens who where very happy with the food. Now we're sitting in the Old Town hostel that was the focal point of the Riga Winter Camp 2,5 years ago.  There's free wireless and I've done some Drupal hacking on my 1 kg laptop.