A Travellerspoint blog


Wet day

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Yep, the forecast was right and it turned out to be a wet day. Disinclination and sloth meant that I didn’t make it to the KGB museum or any other museum. I did go out to get my laundry done to avoid the higher prices in Italy. And while waiting I went into a mall to keep dry.

In the mall, I stumbled upon a bookshop. To my surprise, for a small country speaking a rare language, there were lots of books in Estonian. It must be quite expensive to translate or write for a relatively small audience.

As I approach the end of my stay in the Baltics, here are some thoughts:

1. It is a nice part of Europe that's still affordable and I can easily have a good time. It gets more expensive from west to east.

2. Some countries and some people value an education system based on English language as the medium of instruction, more so than their national language.The three Baltic nations (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) demonstrate how they can have education, government, public signage in their own language but still have nearly everyone but the oldies speak good English (plus a third language).

Some would have argued that their respective languages are spoken by only thousands of people and are quite useless. On the other hand, they are languages that could disappear.

I think language is an important part of one's identity, national identity and even sovereignty.

3. The weather is very fickle. Summer is like an Auckland winter.

4. There seem to be quite a few people with walking impairments on the streets. More in Lithuania and Latvia and perhaps less in Estonia. Anyone know why?

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Estonia Comments (0)

Pre-emptive activities

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After breakfast, I explored both the upper and lower parts of the old city. My thinking was that the free walking tour at midday might cover some alternative sites or the weather may turn.

As it turned out, the free walking tour covered much the same areas but I got a little more insight into things. It didn’t mean that my morning explorations were wasted because it was quite crowded during the walking tour, both frm the participant and also other groups. It made photography very difficult especially in the two viewpoints.

I was happy that it didn’t rain too much today and all my activities had been planned in anticipation for a wet day tomorrow.


Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Estonia Comments (0)

Moving on to Estonia

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large_5550_14713334941945.jpgGloomy and damp introduction to Tallinn Old Town. View from city wall.
Today I bussed from Riga to Tallinn [Tallinn-travel-guide-944187] in Estonia. The 1000 departure meant that I could have a leisurely start, walking from the hostel to the station at 0930.

The 4h30 Lux Express bus ride was smooth and went quickly with two movies. Surprisingly the entire journey was on 2-lane roads (one in each direction) and not on motorways as with the journey from Vilnius to Tallinn.

Arriving in Tallinn, I braved the rain to go to the nearby tram station. I waited for the #2 tram to my hostel. The driver of the #4 tram saw that I wasn’t getting on and signalled to me that the #2 wasn’t running. So I had to take a taxi as the bus alternatives were good in wet weather. It was a little pricey at EUR8 and I realise that there is overcharging going on as in Vilnius.

The weather seemed OK after I had checked-in, so I ventured out for a walk around the old city, including a walk on the city wall. It drizzled on and off. Having only had a pastry and bread on the bus, I was famished. A lot of options were rather pricey compared to what I’ve become accustomed to in Riga and Vilnius. I settled for Indian. My tummy welcomed the chance to have rice and spice again!


Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Estonia Comments (0)

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