It started raining more or less regularly in Hamburg. All the big cities save Magdeburg and Riga greeted me with a heavy rain: Hamburg, Berlin, Szczecin, Gdansk, Kaliningrad and Tallinn. It became a tradition in a way, entering a city soaking wet and muddy. At first I did not mind it. I managed to cycle between storms and find a roof of some sort to have a lunch or chill out. After spending most of my time outside, I learnt to appreciate such a simple invention as a roof. Trees are good, but a man-made roof is way better. Oh, those small perks of technological progress and civilisation. Riding in a light to moderate rain is not that bad provided adequate rain gear and frequent chain greasing. My rain gear could be better, but at least it dries quickly. “Rain” pants are particularly bad – crap at breathing and crap at stopping water (for the curious the pants in question are Montane Featherlight). After Berlin rains became more intense and more frequent. In Szczecin I first began toying with the idea of taking a ferry to somewhere. There were no ferries and it stopped raining soon enough, so I continued my journey on bicycle. Rains kept on on a regular basis though.
In the vipassana LINK retreat I experienced periods of intense sudden fear, where I pictured situations of riding in prolonged rains. As it turned out, this exact thing happened to me and the reality was not that bad at all. At least it was not cold and I managed more or less to keep my stuff dry. I had enough of this on my arrival to Lithuania from Russia via Curonian Spit. That day it rained almost non-stop all day long. I was tired, hungry and pissed off too. On top of that, the forecast for the next few days showed only rain, rain, rain. So upon my arrival to Klaipeda I had two things in mind: a hostel and a bus to Riga. The hostel did not become a reality, but the next day I took a bus to Riga breaking my streak of travelling by bicycle only. In Riga it continued raining, violent thunderstorms this time, so the choice was right indeed. On the day if departure it was sunny and hot weather for a change, but alas the momentum was gone. So I took another shortcut, a train to Valga, the Latvian-Estonian border. In Valga I almost jumped on a train to Tallinn, but since the weather was still sunny I figured out one more day of riding would do no harm. The next day I arrived to Tartu and soon enough the rain resumed and continued all the way to Tallinn.
So there you go, one month of raining and three shortcuts. In the beginning I did not set any goals to do all the distance by bicycle, but nonetheless I had mixed feelings about the whole matter. Of course it would have been nice to do the entire route on bicycle, but I had enough of the rain after a month of wet riding and at that point I wanted to go home as soon as possible. Taking shortcuts is a good reason to visit Baltic states on bike again. Especially as it turned out there are things to see here, such as abandoned Soviet military objects.