So I guess this is it - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

May 12, 2015

So I guess this is it

That was hard. That was really, really hard. I'm definitely a lot stronger than I was that first shaky day when I had trouble even steering to the ferry dock in Istanbul. If this trip changed me in other ways, I'll have to wait until I go home to find out how. Will there be a next tour? Yes, but with better gear and planning if I'm in tough terrain and climate.

I have some more detailed thoughts and reflections written down, but I don't think I'll post them here, not yet anyway. I do want to come back to the journal and post informative, practical summaries of each country--I may or may not get around to that.

There are a few things that made this trip possible: the GPS on my phone used with offline maps, the people who helped me along the way, a country that will remain nameless that I couldn't get a visa for (thus giving me more time in Europe--I travelled in Asia for a few months before I arrived in Istanbul). I want to thank everyone who has been reading this and posting in the guestbook: you provided motivation to keep writing when it would have been easier to let it slide. And when I get home, I'm definitely making a donation to Neil for providing me with such a good audience.

As for Tallinn, the biking was finished, but I still had a few things to take care of before I could relax. I had to sell the bike, and that was not looking promising. I had to mail some things home, things like my saddle and panniers, that I didn't want to carry between now and home (and the cost of mailing was only slightly higher than the extra baggage charge I would have to pay on my first flight). I had to buy a backpack. Ideally, I would sell the bike first and use that cash for the other things, since I'm leaving the eurozone shortly.

I lucked out: yesterday, one of the hostel employees bought my bike for her and her boyfriend. I took off the saddle, and the boyfriend tried to remove the pedals (which I wanted to keep), but couldn't. So I went to a nearby bike shop, got the pedals off, then pushed the crippled bike over the cobbles and back to the hostel. Then I went out. When I came back, wearing my just-purchased pack, the bike had already acquired a new seat and pedals.

Today, she told me she already has a story about the bike. She was biking through a neighbourhood she would avoid if on foot when she saw a dying junkie. She called an ambulance, and they were able to save the junkie.

I've been splurging a bit on food--and trying to remember I can only eat normal-sized meals now--and decided to splurge a bit more: I went to the shooting range today, where I got to try a Desert Eagle and an AK-47, which I'm pretty sure is totally illegal at home, plus various other guns. I've wandered around Tallinn, which has a typically nice old town, but is pretty grim outside of the tourist area. I kind of like that. Though the really bad neighbourhoods are Russian areas; this is yet another place with tensions just below the surface.

Tonight I'll finally celebrate a little, or a lot, and tomorrow is the first of four flights to get home, with a couple of stopovers, some hiking and camping, and bad weather in the forecast. What a surprise.

Typical tourist view of Tallinn
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Where Olympic dreams go to die. (This is a remnant from the 1980 Olympics)
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