(to the tune of Estonia, my home and native land)
04.01.2009 - 10.01.2009 -1 °C
- **PHOTOS LATER, COMPUTER TOO SLOW***
Tallinn is a very cool city with lots of cobblestoned streets and 3 storey buildings of various colours. People seem very chic and all dress in black (it seems to be this way at every capital city), and we definitely stand out with our colourful scarves and beanies.
We stayed with 2 couchsurfing hosts (if you don't know what this is, check out www.couchsurfing.com, and do a search for us), one was Antz, who generously picked us up from the Helsinki ferry, performed currency exchange when our cards weren't working, and took us to an open air museum, and the other Marko, who took us to an amazing community kitchen run by some friends. The group is called Uus Maailma (New World) and have free dinner every night at 7pm, and are very welcoming. We spent a long night there playing music and poker, and running outside spontaneously for a snowball fight at midnight
A highlight was climbing up and down an old series of towers once used as a nunnery. In Australia there would be proper lighting, guide ropes - actually it would probably be deemed unsafe and closed down - but here you are free to move freely about the place, and there's a fantastic view of old Tallinn.
A little restaurant called Kompressor also had enormous savoury pancakes that were awesome, and took a long time to digest, and the 'Best Tallinn Cafe 2007' which was kind of overrated but felt like an underground cave, with strange objects and candles strewn about the place.
Then on to Tartu, a university town in the west of Estonia, where we went to a sports museum that bizarrely had an exhibition on the life of an Estonian postman. Also the KGB Cells were disturbing but fascinating. We learned a lot about Estonia's unwilling place in WWII. We were hosted here by a guy named Katz Matz (actually pronounced Ketz Mates) who pulled out the always popular old BBC Narnia series, and we had a good nostalgic moment.
The next day we proceeded to sleep through our alarm (Tim's watch was buried somewhere in his quilt, and he said when he woke up 'I thought I had a dream about an alarm going off!') and we missed the only bus from Tartu to Riga, Latvia at 6.30am, so we had to take a bus back to Tallinn and then jump on one to Riga from there. BLERGH...travelling on buses is boring, and we had a 'robust' man behind us who snored the ENTIRE time like a steam train...it was just like being a kid again back on the old 3801.
And so here we are at a hostel in Riga, Latvia. Tired, and confused by yet another new currency with a different exchange rate, but we are very impressed by the kitchen, and we had a great chickpea stew for dinner that we made ourselves. Then a pint of cider each, so we're feeling pretty comfortable. Missing you all of course, and quite jealous of the lucky NCYC cats just back from Melbourne.
Caitlin and Tim.