4247 km so far.
As we were riding through yet another beautiful pine forest this morning we caught sight of a flash of red ahead. We both knew immediately what this meant. JY! Our new friend, Jean-Yves, was just ahead of us. Even though we had parted ways yesterday morning, we knew it was likely we had all stayed in the same town last night. So, I thought it possible we would see him again today.
We picked up the pace a bit to catch up to him, and then spent the rest of the day riding together, sharing stories and sharing the road. Three fully loaded cyclists can really take up a lot of space. The road was once again almost entirely free of cars, so often this meant we took up the whole lane, the three of us side by side by side.
We stopped for lunch once we had made it back to the coast not far north of Rīga, where we found picnic tables at the seaside, shaded by the ubiquitous pine trees. With the sea and sand at our feet, the three of us sat, ate, and enjoyed each other’s company.
It has been really nice to throw a new personality into the mix for a few days, since it’s been just the two of us for nearly 4 months.
Jane’s note: I totally agree, just in case you thought this sounded mean.
The first couple of campgrounds we had planned to stop at were closed and non-existent respectively, so we kept going to one on the Baltic Camping Map called Nemo.
It has clearly seen better days. We tried to figure out what the strange, large blue structure was at the end of the tent camping area, only to realise it had once contained a large tube, and was in fact a disused water slide.
The camp also has many rundown and clearly Communist-era cabins that hold two families per cabin, separated by a thin wall.
They appear to have needed a new paint job since Yeltsin was in power, and have small forests starting to grow on their roofs.
Fortunately, there was a bar with a 3 for 2 happy hour deal, so the rest was immaterial.
We spent the evening at the outdoor bar enjoying beers and cider, and the company of JY.
We didn’t want leave the bar just to cook dinner, so we set up our small stoves on the edge of the patio, out of the view of the teenaged barmaids (who we knew wouldn’t care anyway) and proceeded to make curry. Having an extra cook and an extra stove made dinner prep much easier and quicker than normal, and it was really nice to share a ‘home’ cooked meal together.
The curry included the first tofu we have found for sale (at a Rimi Hypermarket in Jūrmala) since Kraków. For Jane and I this made a nice break from beans. For Jean-Yves it made his first tofu experience.
We discussed the world and its problems, including environmentalism, the deep emotional aspects of cycle touring, the ins and outs of the Swiss government, the problems with the Swiss Army (it’s not just about clever knives you know), and the finer points of many aspects of yoga.
All the while JY protested that his English was not good enough. Of course, to our ear, his English is amazing (French accent an all), and we can’t understand what more he could need to know. Eventually, we switched to French, just to prove to him how good his English actually is. After hearing our pathetic attempts at simple sentences, I think he was convinced.
Heinz, There Are No Other Kinds
We were joined towards the end of the night by Heinz, a German cycle-tourist who has been on our route for the past two days, and stayed at Hotel Saule with his two travelling companions last night. He was several drinks ahead of us and a very animated addition to our group. He had solid opinions about everything, had been everywhere, and was eager to share. It made for a boisterous and entertaining end to our day.
Soundtrack: Jay-Z, Magna Carta Holy Grail (we both listened to this at the same time on our separate devices, until we met up with JY) ♥