This involves a bus, a plane, a van and a ferry. It started on Sunday —
I’ve been looking to purchase a used mini-van for use as our ministry in Europe expands. Our little red car is getting a little long in the tooth, and I felt that the time may have come to find a good traveling car since I’m on the road so much these days.
I have been looking for cars in Germany. Prices are lower there, and Germans take good care of their cars. A month ago I sent an email to a private seller (not a dealer) in Germany but never heard back from him. I looked at a lot of other cars after that . . . .
Sunday: After driving from Russia to Estonia, I check my spam folder and notice a reply from the seller; it’s three weeks old. I write asking if the van is still for sale, and it is. We exchange several emails as I get more information. After talking with Olga and coming to agreement, I book a flight to Hamburg (using frequent flyer miles).
Monday: After taking care of some business in Jõhvi, I take a bus to Tallinn and spend the night with friends.
Tuesday: I fly to Hamburg in the morning (above is the Germany countryside near Hamburg) and meet the seller, who is a actually young man, K., helping his mother sell the van. We drive a couple of hours to Güstrow, between Rostock and Berlin. I agree to buy the van (it’s in GREAT shape), and we spend the afternoon doing all the documents.
Güstrow is a small town and we actually had a good time talking with the ladies at the DMV who knew K and his family well. They were all very helpful and interested to see an American buying the car.
K and I had some great conversations, and I really like his family. It was nice to have that little amount of time with them. One of the topics of my conversation with K was how I became a follower of Jesus when I was about the age that K is now. I was really blessed as we talked about the character of God and what it means to follow Him. I am very thankful that we had that conversation, and I pray that K will receive abundant life in Christ.
A little about the van: it’s a Chrysler Voyager, the European model. It has a diesel motor and a 5 speed manual transmission. Even though it’s a 2003 model, it has only 74,000 kilometers (46,000 miles). K’s mother S really loved the van and took excellent care of it. The van was mostly used for long trips because she rode her bike to work most of the time. She was clearly sad when I drove away; she told me that she had ‘said her goodbyes’ the night before. I’ve already sent them a picture of the van here in Finland (see below).
Tuesday late afternoon: I’m still not sure exactly how I’ll get back to Estonia. I had been thinking I’d drive, but I realize that I’ll be too tired to start such a long trip in the afternoon. (The drive would be over 1000 miles and take about 20 hours.) I check online to see about taking a ferry (which I’ve heard of people doing), and I find a 25% discount on a ferry that’s leaving that night. So, I book a ticket while sitting in a McDonald’s (free internet and a burger) and drive to Travemünde (an hour) to board the ferry.
This is a video of a lovely drive through farmland on the way to Travemünde:
(if you have trouble viewing the video on this page, click on the placeholder, and it should open in YouTube)
This is a picture taken as I’m about to join the queue for boarding:
And here’s a video of the actual boarding (I am on the ship at the top of the first ramp):
The ferry is large. My cabin was on the 9th floor (deck); there are 11 decks total.
Olga and I had already planned to spend this weekend in Finland, so it worked out well that the ferry was going to Helsinki. After an uneventful 30 hour trip the length of the Baltic, I arrive in Helsinki at 7:30am on Thursday (today).
The Baltic was foggy near Gotland:
And sunny in the Helsinki Archipelago:
Here’s a view as we are just about to arrive at Vuosaaren Satama (Vuosaari Harbor):
Then I disembarked
and drove to Koppero, the little cabin by lake Pyhäjärvi, where I promptly mowed the grass:
Olga, Valerie, and Olga’s mother Tanya arrive tomorrow for the weekend. It will be nice to have time with family in such a beautiful land.
And next week I take a ferry to Estonia to register the car there. . . .