Also read Why I went to Riga – Latvia Nr. 2

The early spring was warm when I made it with Sarah to Cape North. After several weeks of adventurous hitchhiking we had parted our ways in Helsinki. As I walked onto the ferry that took me from Helsinki to Tallinn I didn’t know that I just entered an emotional labyrinth that would give me on the first 50% whenever I found a dead end a pack of cookies to cheer me up but would bear deep horrors for me in the second half where It would be deadly to make too many mistakes since every dead end would have a little piece of death in it.

Now here you go with a shortcut through Tallinn. Small capital, old houses, castles, harbor, hipster, poverty. Done.

Tallin Arial View

On my way further south my plan was to visit Aga, a friend I know in Poland, Wroclaw, that I hosted in Vienna before. Hitchhiking south was alright, not superb but not bad. After getting into Latvia it turned out that the world had an adventure in store for me that nobody was expecting.  Not even Stīna.

Stīna was driving her car down from Estonia to Riga. On the passenger seat, her mum. They had been at a healer’s place because they had had dark times in their recent past. Stīna spoke near accent-free English and her mum knew some German. The sun was up and it was a rather good day. It was a very good day.

As we were driving and exchanging our stories a warm feeling started to light my inside, growing with every minute that we were sharing. We did a funny detour on some dirt roads as they wanted to show me some natural sight on the baltic coast, the Red Cliffs of Vidzeme, but we didn’t find them. Anyway, after speaking of my love of the sea, we had a stop for a cigarette and sat on the shore, strong winds blowing through our hair and a strong wind blowing in my mind. Stīna and her mom Astride were two very interesting women with a moving history.

As we continued driving, Stīna asked me where I had planned to sleep that night and – as always – I replied, that I would sleep wherever the journey leads me. It might be a nice spot in the nature, an old barn next to the road or just the best fitting bridge, I never know where my journey brings me. Without the need of discussion Stīna invited me to stay at either her mums place next to Riga, where there is calm nature and a lake next to the house, or at her flat on the city boundary. There was enough space everywhere. And again, the small fire of warmth grew and increased the good feeling that I already had. Two things made me decide for Stīna’s flat. On the one hand I could check the hitchwiki and get to a nice hitchhiking spot in Riga on the Via Baltica that brings me towards Vienna and on the other hand, the feeling that was much stronger, was my interest in her. Spending time with her was at that moment pretty much everything that counted.

We brought her mum to her house but I don’t really remember what happened there. Did we enter the house? Maybe we had a coffee, or a tea, a cup of water and something to eat? I only remember the fine old lady dog Markise, greeting us happily. From there to Stīna’s flat it was only 15 minutes of driving and so we arrived “home” pretty quickly. Not much of that night is present in my head but I am sure we talked alot about our inner selfs. Stīna is a very trusting person and it felt as if she opened herself to me without judging me or doubting me. At least so did I, taking of what was going on in my life and in my heart.

Riga Jugla
A view from the balcony where we spent most of the time

I had figured out where to go the next day and I somehow remember Stīna joining me on my way to the right bus as she was going to work too. The sun must have been shining, it was rather warm and I left her with a split heart. On the one hand I was on the road. It means, that I was constantly moving, changing. No time for deep connections, no place for anybody in my heart at the moment. But I think the absence of Sarah was screaming for a person. There was an empty space inside of me craving for the right person to fit into. And as I left and felt that I was moving away from Stīna I also felt, that she was the one to fit in there. And not only just to calm my needs, but that she was there to be a part in my life.

The road to Poland was rushing past me. Reconstructing from old chat logs and pictures I managed to find out what it was like. I have hitchhiked three times from Riga towards Poland and 2 times from Poland to Riga in the spring of 2015 so my memories are somewhat overlapping. So still in Latvia, somewhere in the hot sun next to the road in the area of Bauska, this white Mercedes Sprinter stopped, the side door opened and 2 tattooed and pierced man were looking at me. I, a little sceptic but not really afraid, asked them if they could give me a ride and one of them was speaking English quite fluent and of course, they had stopped to bring me to the future.

A future that turned out amazing! It was a band called The Crancers. They play surf rock. They are from Kaliningrad and they showed me that my 10 years of being wasted and drunk listening to punkrock were good for something after all. Because they were freaking punks and I was a freaking punk and together we were on the road through the Baltics to Poland. And we shared a lot. In the beginning we shared music. Awesome, oldschool punkrock. Then we shared beer and cigarettes and after having such a great time together running through the flat lands with nothing but our underpants I was invited to join them on their show that day in Kaunas. It was on my route. And it led me to drinking more beer and eating pizza for helping to carry their stuff to the stage and preparing and finishing the concert. Also I was provided with a sleeping place. It all happened totally natural. From the moment on when I got into their van I was part of the crew and unconditionally included in all their activities.

The following day we continued together to Poland where they had another show at the Hungry Dog Festival in Ciechanow. Another day with a lot of booze, punkrock and dancing. Including another place to sleep at the place of an incredible drunk polish couple. In the morning we parted our ways, they went home – inviting me there of yourse –  and I was heading towards Warsaw and further to Wroclaw to meet Aga.

A short interruption took place as the conductors pulled me out of a bus – I was only going 3 stations! – without a ticket. I had no polish money but I left them my passport number on a sheet of paper and they told me that I have to pay the bills when I am home. I kept the paper with the fine on it as a souvenier and they kept nothing. Arriving in Wroclaw in the evening I entered the flat where I was supposed to stay and found a dinner party with great food and nice people. And went to sleep finally. Happy, exhausted, and with a huge flame burning in my heart.

Wroclaw Main Square

As I strolled through the city the next day this flame was getting furious. In the fire I felt the presence of Stīna. She was calling me. Something was calling me. Something was pushing me back to Riga. The longer I was gone the stronger it was. After a day of walking around without plans I went back to the flat and wrote a message to Stīna: “hey. i hope this is not too strange for you, but I wanna tell you something. Since some days, in fact since I left your place, I can not stop thinking about you. everything inside of me screems ‘go back and spend more time with her’. it is a strange feeling. it doesnt feel bad. but it makes it hard for me to decide what I shall do now. what do you think about it?

When she replied that she would enjoy my company too and that I could come at any time my heart started bumping fast. Within milliseconds all of the decisions happened in my head. Quit thinking of getting to Vienna. Pack stuff together. Get to Riga. Get to Stīna.

It was a good decision.