Here in a medieval city

Trip Start Sep 24, 2006
Trip End Sep 01, 2007

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Flag of Estonia  ,
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's been a long time finding an internet connection.. they are few and far between here, well hidden and expensive... I have moved to my third hostel this a.m. in the four days i have been here! The first one was ok but no window in my room and some male dock workers down the hall who didn't appear they were working... so i thought it was a bit dodgy so i moved to another in the old Town but it was filthy so I spent last night there but found another and moved in this a.m. and this one has free internet!
Tallinn is a beautiful medieval city, a Unesco World Heritage site due to its walled Old Town complete with 3 preserved towers. It has a modern downtown, built since independence from Russia in 1991 . hard to believe so much happened in such a short time. However a lot of the rest of the city of 400k is run down. Soviet style apartments are in disrepair, apparently they cannot renovate unless they increase the rents and renters won\t pay more rent unless the owner renovates... People are dressed in the latest trends and the young know English but the older people will actually walk away without a word, a shake of the head if you're lucky if you ask them a question in English. I arrived on Sat. after a 2 hour flight from Berlin on Easyjet costing 55 euros, about 70 dollars. Yesterday, Monday, the first person since i arrived, asked if i needed directions / not like in NYC when someone asks right away. We native English speakers are lazy.. the international lingua is English ie the Korean tourists here speak English when asking directions so I myself haven\t learned anything except for laundry *see below+. Although in my dirty hostel last night, they preferred French so I switched to my Sask. high school French, which they found better to understand than my English. go figure. This is yet another configuration for a keyboard to excuse my punctuation, can't seem to find the right buttons!
Tallinn has been a difficult city to get around vs Berlin and NYC. it is spread out 30 km long along the gulf of Tallinn with some beautiful vistas. They have trams, buses and city tour buses but no grand map of what to take where. And the Old Town is a maze where nothing matches any logic but of course this is the joy of travelling / challenging yourself to get around a strange city... Went to a lovely concert Sun. night at the Estonia Kontseerdisaal performed by Estonian soprano Aile Asszonyi accompanied by a pianist on a grand piano. The concert hall is gorgeous, with huge chandeliers, balconies etc. cost 12 dollars. Prices are lower here than in Germany but a cup of espresso is 150 kroons, about 1.40 dollars. What i wouldn't give for a cup of ordinary coffee with free refills... not a Tim Hortons around, not even a Dunkin Donuts which abounded in Berlin, not that i darkened its doors t here but i might be tempted here! There are lots of tourists here, mainly from Finland I believe. Although there is someone in this hostel from Ont.
I have to stay until Thurs. because my laundry will be done Wed at 4 p.m. / it took days to find a laundry \keemeline for my pushaskus\. the tourist office doesn\t know things like that. so now i have my Eurolines bus ticket for 11 a.m. Thursday costing 270 Estonian kroons, which is 27 dollars! for St Petersburg / takes 9 hours to go 400 km. apparently the Russian border is only 2.5 hours away but it can take a long time to get through it. No one takes the train, it only goes to Moscow anyway, and don't know why. I now have to make my hostel reservations in st. Petersburg, the next thing to do as well as make a reservation for the Hermitage/ which apparently a better idea than standing in line. I guess if i thought Tallinn was difficult to get around, i can't imagine what i'll report from St. Petersburg! bye for now, Linda
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