Little bits of bad luck seem to be filling the recent few days of the trip. First the incident with my mobile and the washing machine, then buying my ticket for the next part of my journey I find I am travelling on the one weekend in the year when the rail line is closed for maintenance and finally I found after receiving a staggering number of extremely itchy bites that my room was infested with bed bugs. Yesterday was spent moving hotels, doing laundry and finding ways to ignore the itching.
Have not done a lot that’s too productive in Amsterdam other than a few of the walking tours in the LP guide. I’m trying to find a time when the queues at Anne Franks house aren’t stupidly long. It will have to be today as I leave here on an extremely early train tomorrow.
Just arrived in Holland after spending a couple of days with my old friends Richard and Malene in Braunschweig. Good to have the company of some old mates again.
In an idiot maneuver I managed to leave my mobile phone in a pocket when I did the laundry. Its busted despite having dried out. The SIM still works but as most of my numbers were in my phones memory I have probably lost some. Expect emails requesting contact details when I return.
Arrived in Warsaw yesterday evening after an 8 hour bus ride. Didn’t seem like there were many major highways between Vinius and Warsaw though things should be getting better as a lot of time was spent waiting at major roadworks.
Warsaw suddenly feels a lot bigger than Tallinn and Vilnius. A quick inspection reveals a lot of historic buildings, an old town area and a stunning number of bookshops. More later hopefully(I know I still have to write up Vilnius and the Trans Sib trip).
Arrived in Riga after a 5 hour bus ride from Tallinn. I had looked to continue my train journey that effectively started in Hong Kong, but found it more trouble than it was worth. From what I could see the countryside of both Estonia and Latvia is remarkably flat. Also most of the people you see out here don’t have quite the prosperous air you find in the centre of the capitals.
Riga itself is much bigger and has a less snug feel than that of Tallinn. What it does have is far more of a lively nightlife, though this is of limited benefit to someone who is travelling solo and arrived in the city at 6pm.
More when I’ve seen a bit of the city. Sorry about the lack of photos but the web cafes recently don’t have the facilities I need.
Leaving Tallinn today after a really enjoyable time here. Its a lovely city to spend a couple of days especially if, like me, you stay in the old town. The cobbled streets, lack of traffic and general architecture almost make you feel you’re in a time capsule. Add in some great restaurants and bars and what more do you want. I suppose a few less tourists after midday and a guarantee of good weather, though it was pretty good most of the time I was here. All in all this is one of my favourite places to spend a couple of days, though I doubt it has enough to keep me for much more.
One thing I did notice was I only saw a single Soviet era car in my time here. I guess they were got rid of ASAP after independence. Staying most of the time in the old town meant I also saw little of the soviet era architecture or of the more modern commercial era architecture.
Arrived in Tallinn at 6:50 this morning after an overnight train from St Petersburg. My first impressions are very good, it is a lovely compact city with an “Old Town” at it centre, feeling very European. Lots of small cobbled streets and squares filled with cafes and bars with seating out front. It made me realise how long its been since I was in a place small enough to be human in scale; Yangshou in southern China probably 10,000km and one month of travelling ago. The icing on the cake is the clear sky and the sunshine.
I am looking forward to an afternoon snooze; border formalities took 2 hours to complete at 2am, though this is much better than the 7 hours of officialdom it took to get into Russia. The exit stamp is also likely to be the last in my passport for this as I’ll probably be within the EEC for the remainder of the journey home. 6 to 8 countries with no permanent evidence in my papers…..