Little short story about these last few days...
I left Ottawa airport, the 5th august at 22.50
The fact that I had a bike did not seem to pose a problem. The baggage handler did not even ask me to take off the wheels or the pedals. I did not have to pay an extra fee.
Arrival at London, Gatwick airport. I did not feel the urge to visit London... I saw it in the past, and not particularly attracted to the city. I decided to spend a bit of time in Gatwick airport.
It was my first time actually in Gatwick airport. It is a cahotic and disorganized airport.
The waiting line for security was extremely long. Forcing people to take ONE bag in the plane is also once again a trademark of the british trying to be "different" with their special rules.
One bag meant for example that if you were a lady and had a purse and a cabin baggage you were only authorized to take one of the items inside...
For myself it was a hassle, considering that I had two side bags on my bag with my main belongings in them. Even though they were very small... I had to choose one.
Giving the bike as a baggage was not very easy either. The airport staff don't seem to know the rules, and it changed from one person to another. From taking of the pedals, to wrapping it in plastic or cardboad... I really got everything.
On top of that they made me pay an extra 20 pounds for the bike.
When I called air Baltic they told me I could take it in wihtout having to do anything to the bike... but at Gatwick it was a whole different story.
Therefore a lot of hassle and going around with a bike and all my bags in the airport.
The staff is not friendly, the airport is a mess and their english is not clear. 🙂
I am glad I did not stop in London even though I had plenty of time.
I arrived in Riga (capital of Latvia) at night. I received my bike with flat tires. Good luck finding a pump at 11pm.
English did not seem to be the second language... and it was quite hard to find a gas station... So I did a lot of walking before an Armenian guy told me where to pump my tires.
I visited Riga the tomorrow (Sunset in Riga)
Next day was visit of Tallinn, capital of Estonia (picture of the old town in Tallinn)
The day after, I was in St Petersburg, visited various places such as The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood for example (picture above).
Going from Tallinn to St Petersburg was quite of a shock... while in Estonia (Tallinn) they knew ~some~ english, in Russia (St Petersburg) virtually no one was talking English... the charachters are cyrillic and you don't see any roman charachters .... other than brand names.
I managed to get around and visit St Ptersburg quite well before deciding to take the night train to Tver (~200km from Moscow) to meet Zack and Damien. Picture abvoe is just before taking the train to Tver.
Thanks for these guys ! Otherwise I think I would have spent the night trying to find the correct train and correct ticket. The three on the left (Ivan, Najeeb, Ivan) helped me all along, and Vladimir (left) joined after. They helped me with tickets, where to go... and they even help me put my bike in the train (a lot harder than what you can imagine).
The train was going St Petersburg -> Tver -> Moscow. In my wagon there were four beds. Two girls were going to Moscow... but they once again helped me a lot, because one of the girl put her alarm to wake me for Tver, she also helped me take out my bike and bags from top... so many thanks to her.
Once in Tver, meeting with Zack and Damien was quite smooth (as my previous post) and we started to head to Moscow (picture above, with Zack heading to Moscow).
We stopped at about 30km, at one of Zack's dad friends (Sergei). Thanks to him for hosting us for a few days.
Visited Moscow (pics to be uploaded in the future).
At the time I am writing this we are way past Moscow.... but it's a bit hard to write, upload pictures... Not enough time, but not always full admin access with the computers.
But I do write on my notebook what is happening every day(interesting things 🙂
So maybe in the future in Canada...