16-Mar-2005 -- This is a journey from Ulaanbaatar (UB) in Mongolia to Kirriemuir in Scotland, covering 110 degrees of longitude and visiting 15 CPs on the way. The story starts at 47°N 105°E. This is CP 12. The previous point is 55°N 59°E.
The nice Finnish customs man had a very grave expression on his face when he asked “Do you have any idea how much you will have to pay?” Unfortunately we were again required to pay a deposit – this time only 6300 Euros! The routine swings into action – hand over the car – retrieve a few essentials – cadge a lift to Helsinki(only 180 km away!) and head for the banks! Otto is the name of the Finnish ATM system. He kindly allowed me to relieve him of a substantial sum that evening (5 cards) and again the following morning. A final 1000 Euro from a bank itself and we were in business! Back to the border the next day and we can buy our car. Apart from a slight dispute over 100 Euros missing on the counter all went smoothly and we returned again to Helsinki.
In Helsinki we were guests of Timo Leinonen and family. Finnish hospitality rivals Russian hospitality and we were lucky to escape after only 3 nights in Finland. On the first afternoon we had a look around the city of Helsinki – it has a fine cathedral overlooking the senate square and the harbour. We were then collected by Timo and taken back to his apartment on the edge of Helsinki. After a quiet night we set off on Monday to get the money and then by bus to the border to recover the car. On Tuesday Timo had plans…. After 10am he was not teaching so we went first to the old wooden town of Porvoo and then to his cottage a little to the north. At a Finnish cottage there is of course sauna and cooling off in the lake after. I dropped out after 1 dose of lake cooling at 1.30am. Erka and Tima did the full course and dipped 3 times before retiring at 5am.
Leaving Timo sleeping peacefully we slipped away in the morning to visit this point. Using Timo’s road atlas we found the route with no problem and reached the point by 10.30am. The point lies about 240metres from the road. Erka brought a pair of skis …. but no boots! He walked and I skid. I fact we doubled up on the skis for a while – needing good coordination! Deep snow all around the point but very similar to previous entounters. This was our most northerly point during the whole trip.
Back to the cottage and then collect our belongings and off to catch ferry to Sweden and CP 59°N 16°E.