Day 12 – Q Into EU

The agreement with Maxim was to pick up the Fat One at 10:00 so we had a bit of a lie-in. After packing and checking out we had a little bite for breakfast and then got into a taxi that should take us to our car. We were of course quite anxious whether Maxim and his guys would have been able to fix the problem and everything would be OK now.
On our way there our taxi driver provided a special service by honking his car’s horn whenever we were passing a car that was driven by a young woman so that she would turn around and we could have a look at her. How very thoughtful…
When we arrived we could see the car already in the yard. Jörg went directly into Maxim’s office and received confirmation that the car was indeed fine and ready to go. They had replaced the inner fan and re-filled the anti-freeze. The bill was for 15.000RUB. Including the pre-payment Jörg gave him 220EUR and Maxim was happy with it and wished us a good further journey.

The happy campers that we were now, we put our bags into the car and made our way out of this great city in the North. While leaving we made a bit of a detour passing the stadium and the Lakhta Tower, now Europe’s tallest building and the future headquarter of Gazprom.

We were on the road crossing also the island of Kronshtadt when we heard a noise coming from the floor of the car. We immediately stopped on the shoulder and checked. Obviously one of the plastic panels had become a bit loose. We professionally fixed this with duct tape and lo-and-behold the noise was gone. We felt quite heroic…

Then we tried to get to the Russian-Estonian border between the towns of Ivangorod and Narva to get back into the European Union as quickly as possible.
And hit a wall or to be more precise a queue in front of a wall.
There was a long line of cars probably nearly a kilometre long, of course with quite a few of our colleagues also there. We got to the end of it and expertly started doing nothing but waiting and occasionally moving some metres forward.

Franz then went into the supermarket right before the border to fill up our dangerously thinned stock of super-healthy sweets, cookies, chocolate and wine gums. We now had some cookies but after a quick taste had to get rid of the jelly cubes that tasted just too artificial so Franz’s was only a sort of semi-successful mission.

We the got to the border and the lady that was responsible for checking us had only very few words for us: Open! Passport! Auto-Passport! and had a torchlight as a pointing tool.
First we had to get the car’s export in order, after that we could get our passports stamped. Oh the sound. What a relief when you hear the sound of the stamp. Then we had to Open! all doors, boot and also the tent and in broad daylight she was very casually checking our stuff. It was in the end a fairly short one might even say skimpy process and after 2:45 h we were through and could proceed to the Estonian border post.

Next to the river was an old castle protecting the border.
We were greeted with a smile by an Estonian lady in sitting in the booth and after only a few minutes we were back in the EU.
Other teams that arrived after us at the border told us that the queue was at that time up to 2km long and they had to wait up to six hours.
From here it was less than 2 hours to the party location in the middle of the Estonian woods. We passed by a nice sea side location, the village of Vösu where we did some shopping and headed on towards Raudsilla in the Lahemaa rahvuspark.

We arrived at the site in the forest, picked a nice spot to park the car and put up the roof tent and got to the centre of activities, a huge teepee, where there was beer and soup and people were watching football. Later there was a buffet with meat, quite spicy vegetables and mashed potatoes and more beer. It was a great evening with banter and laughs and maybe a tad too much to drink.

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