28 july Helsinki (FINLAND)

In the Finnish capital, after meeting four Swiss girl from Zurich, we decide to go to the sea instead of visiting the city! All together, just to change with!

Me and Phil dive in the water and arrange a swimming ball match.

After a long walk we reach the city center, but we discover that our port is still far and we don't have any Finnish mark left, how can we do? I ask for a lift to a bus driver and a kind driver helps us without problems!

We encamp near the entrance of the Port.

It's two a.m. and I have the great idea to play football there, because it is very cold.

Few later, two policemen, called by the port attendant, send us away from there...

We kindly explain the situation and they suggest us to move in a quite place two hundreds meters from there.

We are going to spend the night there! We decide to do guarding: 50 minutes per person. Pedro and Phil start.

They play some football to warm them up, then they prepare a hot tea while I fall asleep.

29 july Tallinn (ESTONIA)

This morning, after many adventures, we have had to say goodbye to our dear friends: Phillip and Wolfgang.

We board on a ferry to Estonia, they keep on to the South of Sweden.

In two hours, by ferry, we set foot in the first of the three Baltic States.

Before visiting this city we arrange the following trip to Latvia. We buy the bus tickets and I call Krists, who, even if he was not prepared for our visit, he's so happy to host us again!

Suddenly, it starts raining and we take shelter in a mean McDonald.

Estonia has given me a weird impression. It seems to me to be in Bulgaria. Maybe for the condition of the city or for her "architectural style". In the end we catch our bus to Riga at 18.00.

Estonian roads are completely "uninhabited", long roads not properly built, without traffic signs, SOS points, now and then wretched motels appear for the Polish, Estonian or Latvian lorry-drivers.

We are the only ones in the street, aboard of our bus directly coming from Russia.

Six hours later we are in the Latvian capital.

My dear Krists is there waiting for us.

I am so happy to see him again. Now he's living in an old building, old Communist Russian style, in the city center, with his girlfriend: Signe.

We have lived so many good and bad adventures together and we spend the first night recalling all that we did that famous month spent here two years ago!

 

30 july Riga (LATVIA)

Today we go to Krists' parents house, I meet Leo (his father) who was working in the courtyard, Martins (his brother) grown up, and all his pets, from the funny Ripsie till Rega.

We have lunch in a nice restaurant: "Lido" and then we hang around in the city center till late.

I see many places very familiar to me but, at the same time, unknown because last time I saw them they were completely covered by the snow, so: here green parks, artificial lakes, wide avenues planted with trees, benches just there where I used to watch a simple, monotonous, white and uniform row.

I was reading again some of the pages of my travel journal...

Here we are living each second of the day: Milan, Bern seem episodes happened so long ago...

01 agosto Riga (LATVIA)

Krists convinces us to stay here some more days, so we will have the chance to live a new feeling: the parachuting jump.

 

02 agosto Riga (LATVIA)

Martins gives me the famous Latvian ring called: "Nameis", it's a very good and important memory for me. All Latvian wear it, it's a symbol that they care very much. It represents men virility and it has the name of the Latvian warrior who wore it in the 12th century. I'm proud of it.

04 agosto Riga (LATVIA)

Tonight, after the tasty barbecue at Leo's, we go to "Slepenais Eksperiments" with Karina and Regina and, as soon as we enter... Surprise! I still can't believe it! Kyle, the guy from New York, who was kicked out the train with us in the difficult trip: Koln - Copenhagen. Sometimes world is so small.

The funny thing is that from Copenhagen we went to the North of Norway while he kept on to the other side: the South of Finland and ten days later we meet again in another country too!

At four a.m. we go back home, we are so tired and, four hours later, we leave to Cesis, some extreme sport is waiting for us!

05 agosto Cesis (LATVIA)

As soon as we arrive in this small airport, we soon collapse on some military camp-beds, we are very tired.

At 2 pm, Krists wakes us up because he's going to do a flight. We will go with him.

It is a Russian "four-seats" plane. My Latvian friend with another pilot are in the front; behind: me and Pedro.

Krists flyes with caution. A classical standard school-flight. We do three touch and go with no problems. We also unfastenv our seat belt, to take a photo.

His friend is crazy. When he starts piloting: he soon does some aerobatics.

At the first he points the sky at 180°, then, with the engine at minimum, the plane, for gravity, turns around and falls in dive... But our seat belt is not fastened very well and we hit the cockpit with our heads!

We get quite scared!

Last shudder: the landing. We "cut" perpendicularly a highway, two meters from the land, while a lorry was coming in our direction honking as a crazy... Was it worthwhile?

I ignore that these were just small pieces of a huge puzzle of emotions that we would have felt that day!

Few later we start the preparation for the jump with the parachute. Hours and hours to explain in Russian, to try all the different manoeuvres, Krists is my simultaneous translator while the instructors explains us what to do.

Some hours later, inside the plane, we are divided into three groups.

The plane, an old Russian Antonov, takes off. There are some girls sitting next to me who are terrified. I try to be calm and I manage.

I'm too reckless. We reach 600 meters, find the right spot: the first three are thrown out the plane. Grave-silence.

Ten endless minutes later, after a 360° turn, we report where we were before. The second group is ready. It's my group. The first goes. The second suddenly disappears in front of my eyes. It's my turn. I approach the door. I see everything so tiny under me. I stop on the line while I hear a scream in Russian and a strong push.

Few seconds which last an eternity.

I feel slapped by the air, by the wind gusts and then a weird feeling, as anyone is pulling me from above. My parachute is opened.

Silent sigh of relief. It is not over yet!

There is a spin in progress yet.

Solved the problem... an absolute silence as never heard before, broken only by the scream of the guy jumped before me. I put my adrenaline out screaming at first with all my breath and then calling Pedro who is still on the ground.

Then again an unreal silence. Just me and the world.

I'm approaching the ground apparently very slowly, everybody seem bugs under my feet, but there is a group of people who is running towards me screaming something in Russian that I don't understand. I don't speak Russian. I start getting worried again.

Maybe my parachute has some problem? I'm almost touching the ground. I close my legs, as instructed and I quietly land.

Few meters from me there is a girl who is crying keeping her broken ankle in her hands.

I land and I see Pedro running to me and taking thousands pictures. I have managed.

I feel stronger.

Few later he would have felt the same feeling but jumping in tandem from 2500 meters, with the instructor on his back.

Coming back home, I can't help thinking about the thousands feelings and emotions lived during this long day!

 

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