Lands of the midnight sun!
The festivities at our campsite in Lithuania reached the climax with the bonfire celebrations of Jonas night.
There was lots of singing, dancing and drinking and even we got asked to sing, even though the campsite owners thought we were German( a common error).
The fire was big and the dancing filled with joy and laughter.
After all the festivities we need a rest and went lake side, where the first image was taken at about 1am.
We finally got some sleep and the next day we spent a quiet afternoon on the water first in a pedal boat and then with some swimming, the lake was a lot bigger than we thought and the swimming most refreshing a wonderful place to spend a few days.
Still we had to move on if we were ever going to reach the Nordkapp.
As we moved on through Lithuania we saw lots of wooden carvings by the side of the road, this is to do with the pagan history, they really are quite something.
We moved onwards towards Palanga and the Latvia border, this was a tourist spot and busy.
Whilst riding up there my pannier came loose and fell off, luckily there was only a small amount of damage and Steph avoided being hit by it.
We found a campsite in what looked like someones back yard, it was a nice place until 2 families with barking dogs and screaming children, I am sure they were just having fun, but boy were they loud, added to that some awful off keys singing by the woman in a caravan close by and its not hard to see why I ended up in a Harley bar, with a cocktail.
We moved into Latvia and it seemed to us that perhaps not as much European money had found its way into the country. There was lots of roads works and some nice off road sections for us to complete.
The shops and petrol stations were all well stocked and really clean, however the roads were mainly log and straight ( a feature we would have to get used too).
We booked a place to stay via booking and it really was in the middle of nowhere.
It was run by a young couple with a young boy who is one of the best climbers we have ever seen , the child had no fear, up ladders, climbing on stools and chairs with great balance.
The property was slowly being done up and our room was a real surprise ultra modern, even if the rest of the property was being updated. It was a great place to stay and we heard a sound of a bird ( we think) that we had never heard before.
We cooked a big tea and spoke with a Latvian man who had spent 11 years living and working near Leeds, it was good to hear a bit of Yorkshire in a Latvian accent.
Our next stop was the capital Riga as we wanted to visit the Two Wheels hotel/hostel which we had read and heard about.
Riga was an interesting place to ride a mixture of tram tracks, cobbles and road works in the middle of the roads, so much so that they had sectioned off half the pavements so car and traffic could get past, first time we have ever ben told to ride on the pavements.
We purchased some bivvy bags ( small waterproof sleeping sacks) from a gun store with Police sat outside, they did not care that we were parked on the path at all.
Two Wheels was everything we had been told about. A little hard to find but once inside with the bikes safe we got to get a really good look at the place, it has a really good vibe and is a cross between a hostel/hotel/bar and travellers meeting place.
We even had a glass wet room/shower bathroom which was covered by some curtains, different
Next up was Tallinn and after some messaging with Jevgeni Karpenko ( thanks again) we found a good hotel and some sights to see.
We walked around the old town and had a good if not cheap meal and then the next day we did the tourist bit, with cliffs, lakes waterfalls and a lighthouse.
The view from the top was good, its 52 meters high but there were a lot of steps, not great in biking gear.
The steps ( lots and lots of steps)
We rode around the countryside less than 20kms from the city, it was empty, with good roads, it reminded us of parts of East Yorkshire.
Our final stop was an old quarry which had been tuned into a lake and nature reserve, a little off roading was required
but is was worth it too see this, it was quite incredible to watch
No visit to Tallinn is complete for any biker without paying your respects to one if not the greatest road racer of all time.
From Tallinn we got a quick and efficient ferry to Helsinki and we arrived in Finland 2 hours later.
We spent several hours riding and then about 1 hours 30 mins looking for somewhere to wild camp.
We had just about given up when we came across this and set up our first wild camp, it was a good experience apart from the mosquito's who had a feast on us despite spray, nets and midge coils, they are evil, I had 22 bites Steph nearly the same. We now have at least 4 sprays and 2 after bite treatments, they really do itch, still thing it was worth it.
Happy camper pre-bites
Until we had reached Finland we had only had good weather and sunshine for some considerable time.
We rode from our wild camp and the cooler weather and discomfort from our assorted bites meant we booked into a hotel for a night, apparently 74 euro is a good price for 1 night with breakfast.
We rode onwards towards our goal of the Nordkapp and the temperatures dropped and the rain got heavier as we got into the artic circle, the most northerly point on a bike for either of us.
After a long cold ride we arrived at the wonderful Salla's house. A wonderful warm person we had met on our travels initially via Facebook and then in person in Romania and again in Bulgaria.
We were so glad she invited us to stay it was cold and those mozzies wouldn't stop biting us every time we stooped.
Salla had other guests Ismo and Sirkku, we had a wonderful evening eating good food and drinking red wine like old friends, we even got to use the sauna in Sella house which was an experience for us reserved Brits.
Salla was a great host with a wonderful home and provided us with lots of information for places to camp and visit during our final leg to the Nordkapp, she even managed to get us to book a hostel as the weather was not going to be good, cold and raining.
The wonderfully warm Sella with some bloke in an adventure suit
We rode to the hostel in cold wet weather, it was very bleak in places but has a stunning wild kind of beauty.
We got to our hostel in Honningsvag, about 30km from the Nordkapp, it was warm, clean and offered really hot showers, we ate some food had a beer and an early night
We had a wander about the next day, yes it was cold and rained and we got to see ships in the harbour, big ships and snow on the hills
Tonight we make the run up to the Nordkapp as it is not supposed to be raining and it gets light at 2am.( picture proof to follow)
This will be the culmination of thetalkingmonkeys world trip phase one, follow us on polar steps to see where we have been.
After this we fancy a bit of relaxation, we have several places to visit and Steph wants some sunshine after all its all south from here.
Neil and Steph