In the third part of Nickos’ travels to Russia, Nickos wonders why they didn’t take the obvious route of crossing the Baltic Sea.
I wake up at 11am thinking that we have not moved yet! I open the curtains of my cabin only to realise that we are at mid-sea. It’s a cloudy day and there is a vast expanse of water between the ship and the horizon. I fall asleep for another hour and then prepare a little healthy breakfast from my own supplies before heading to the restaurant for some coffee. The drivers arrive shortly after and sit down for lunch. We have a nice conversation, Kenneth shows me photographs of his wife and two teenage daughters and talks about his imminent holiday back home in Surinam. Kees comments on an article about Vermeer in the copy of the Art Newspaper that I am reading.
I want to confirm what I suspect, so I ask them why we chose the not so obvious route of crossing the Baltic Sea going north and then driving south the long road to Moscow. The answer is that this route allows for only one border crossing between an EU country (Finland) and Russia. Our EU shipper’s HQ are in Finland and they have long-standing relationships with the Russian authorities, which will facilitate the crossing (not necessarily alleviate the bureaucracy however). It is preferable and certainly safer than crossing the borders first between Poland and Belarus and then between the later and Russia. I am told that the waiting times for customs clearance at those borders could double our entire journey time!
Three cups of coffee later I head to the lounge to do some work on my computer. I’m also curious to try that berry vodka…