Riga and Tallinn

Trip Start Sep 17, 2009
Trip End May 05, 2010

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Hi everyone,
This is going to be a bit harder to type than the previous entries because the "z" and the "y" on this keyboard are the other way round!

Also firstly wanted to say thanks to everyone who has commented so far on the blog- Dad, Auntie Anne, Dinah, Jody, Laura and Russell! Its really nice to hear feedback and hear from everyone!

So 2 days ago we were in Riga, and after having a bit of a dull time there we decided to attempt to squeeze something out of the most boring city ever and went to a recommended Skyline Bar, which was on the 26th floor of a massive hotel, where you could see a full night view of Riga. It was a really posh bar, so we could only really afford one drink each...but we sat on sofas and admired the view for a couple of hours, so it was quite nice. WeŽd noticed that there were a lot of homeless people in Riga so we gave away our last change in Lats (the Latvian currency) to the next ones we came across. Its been strange having to use a different currency every other day, we keep having to give away our change because of not being able to exchange coins!

The day after, on Thursday, we took the bus from Riga to Tallinn..and could immediately sense a difference in culture. Estonia has a strange language that looks quite Scandinavian and Eastern European at the same time..and just generally feels quite Scandinavian to me (Tom disagrees). Its a lot colder here, and we might have to break out the scarves and gloves soon!! The currency is Krone, and we keep getting dismayed at the current exchange rates- in my travel guide it said it was 25 krone to 1 pound...and now its 15 to 1 pound!! So bad!! So Estonia is a lot more expensive for us than Lithuania or Latvia were. They also only have 1 coin in the whole currency I think, the rest is in notes so we have a wallet full of paper money!

We took the tram to the Old Town, which is really medieval looking with lots of turrets and stone walls. The buildings are also really colourful, and all seem to be either pink or yellow. Our hostel was strange because we had to check in at a main building..part one of the hostel..and we were actually staying in another massive building with a dorm room to ourselves! We are enjoying travelling in off peak season because all the hostels etc seem to be empty so we have lots of space! We had a look around the Old Town last night and everything seemed to be very expensive, and Tom keeps going on about how touristy it is. There are lots of themed medieval places, especially restaurants..and one of them even has a daily sword fight! We decided to dress up and go out for a posh Italian meal..so we picked a really nice place and had bruschetta, soup and pizza. In the hostel earlier we were recommended some places by a guy whos name we cant remember (wev named him 'fleece guy'), and we bumped into him later and were really impressed by the way he remembered our names!

In the morning, about 8 random people stormed into our dorm room at about 9 o clock, while we were still in bed asleep! They had checked in really early and it was really embarassing because they said hi to us while we were still in bed! We had pastries for breakfast from a local bakery, and then went to check out a local market called Balti Jaam, which was a bit like the very un-Soviet market from the day before but a bit better. Everyone seems so poor though, because theres a lot of old women selling junk and things like jars..and it seems like its just a depressing taster of the poverty we will see in some parts of Asia. There was a free walking tour around Tallinn at 12, so we went on that and it took a couple of hours..mainly went to churches and learnt some weird ghost stories about Tallinn Old Town.  I think I enjoyed Toms comments about the tour guide more than the actual tour..."I'm not sure about her oratory style'..."I like the way her voice goes up and down..its very bouncy". There was a really nice baked potato place in town so we went there for lunch.

Tonight we're getting the night bus to St. Petersburg..I really want to buy a Russian hat!!
Sarah x
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annemarklew on

A plug for cruising
Hi Sarah & Tom

Lovely to hear all your news again. I'd no idea that Tallinn was expensive having only visited it on cruises. That's one of the (many) advantages of that type of holiday - it doesn't matter how expensive the places you visit are as you don't really need to buy anything whilst there. Not great for the local economy, though, I know (apart from the huge berthing fees they undoubtedly charge the cruise lines). Anyway, I won't bang on about my favourite type of holiday any more other than to say that St Petersburg is the other place on your itinerary I've visited whilst in the Baltic. The last time I was there I saw a performance of Swan Lake (now I can see ballet free as part of my Hippodrome duties!).

Keep going with the fascinating updates.


Auntie Anne

Jiju Jaipal on


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