Narva, Estonia (Russian Border Post)

Trip Start Apr 24, 2006
Trip End Aug 23, 2006

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Monday, May 8, 2006

Hi All,

Just a quick update to let you know where we have got to in the last couple of weeks (which seems a lot longer than that!). We have covered quite a bit of territory now, and have indeed reached our most northerly point of the trip!

We both really liked Poland, and found it cheaper than the Baltic countries, and interesting with the least English spoken (the majority of people we have come across in the 3 baltic countries, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) speak reasonable English. Our favourite area were the lakes district in the NE corner of the country, where we stayed in a lakeside resort, and were "fortunate" to encounter two evenings of free concerts, well one was 80s cheese via the DJ, and the other Polish folk music from a live band, but with (very cheap) beers on hand it was great fun.
We also visited Malbork, the largest brick castle in all of Europe, the castle sure was big, but not as huge as the 3 hour tour to get round it! We,re sure this tour was most informative, but as it was 100 percent in Polish - that turned into a VERY long 3 hours! (most of the last hour of it was spent trying to skip ahead groups to try and finish sooner, im not sure what the small study group (complete with notepads) thought of us "discretely" joining them for a bit!!).

We have zoomed up the Eastern side of the 3 Baltic countries to allow us a bit more time to slowly motor back down their respectice Western coasts. The countryside is very low lying farmland (the highest point in all 3 countries is only 312m!), and in the NE corner you find towns where mostly Russians live (and thus mostly Russian language is spoken, now our Estonian isnt flash, but its a cut above our Russian!). We also drove thru a small town called Visaginas, built during Soviet times to house workers for the local Nuclear power plant (of the Chernobyl era, and still in use). These Soviet towns are bizarre places! Looking like a cross between a univerisyt campus and a council estate, it is almost impossiblöe to find the centre (do they have one?), and are totally uninspiring-with all the land at their disposable, they all live in 5 story estates - easier to build when you dont really care what living in them will be like i guess.

Our main stop has been Vilnius, Lithuanias capital, and a great little town, really rated it. We also rated our campsite, which came inclusive of a spectacualr castle, a wedding ceremony, fireworks, and a biker festival (all in 2 days!).

Anyway, enough for now, great hearing from you all,
Love Mark and Natalie
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