travel

Nordkapp trip part VIII: Riga-Gdansk-Girona

Finally we had the car repaired and managed to leave Riga to go to Poland, of course we would go through Lituania but after spending so much time in Riga it was impossible to go to Vilnius. We basically drove in the night (yes, it was back).

We arrived to Gdansk next morning and we stayed at Marcelina’s, in there we didn’t go many tourists attractions as we were mainly with the locals and basically doing nothing.

Concrete light post. Will not break, ever.

Finally it was time to go back home after having spent 15 days, 6139 km and many places I can’t wait to explore more deeply soon.

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travel

Nordkapp trip part VII: Riga

I was expecting Latvia to be similar to Estonia but nothing further from the truth. Those are completely different countries and Riga and Tallinn are two cities with a very different atmosphere. For what I saw in both cities, Riga has had more Soviet and Russian influence than Tallinn and is like nothing I have seen before.

Old vs. Modern Riga

On one side there are the old Soviet blocks in the suburbs of the city where most people live and on the other side there is the old town and city center with some soviet buildings such as what is now the market, buildings originally design to serve as a zeppelin base and another building which is an exact replica of one in Moscow.

Generally Latvians are not very fond of Russians (as all Russia’s neighboring countries) and that has been source of conflict in the past years as a big majority of the population is from Russian origin as Latvia was a very important industrial center during the Soviet times.

We planned to stay in Riga one day only, but turned out to be three as the car broke down trying to leave the town. Luckily that didn’t happen in Lapland as finding a single person was a difficult task and we had our host, Kiril. We met him through Couch Surfing and let us stay more days than planned due the inconvenience. He showed us around the town and the best places to eat and drink (really cheap, specially compared to Denmark).

Typical soviet blocks

Handwritten numbers in the elevator

As I said we were lucky to have Kiril to show as around the old town, the first thing he explained is that, the bus, is free (well, kind of) so we headed to the old town. The independence monument, apparently is an old Latvian goddess holding three stars symbolizing each region of Latvia.

Latvia’s independence monument

Orthodox cathedral

In contrast with the Scandinavian countries, Riga has an old style Opera house

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Nordkapp trip part VI: Tallinn

We arrived to Tallinn late at night with the ferry and proceeded to go to the hostel we had booked which is called The Monk’s Bunk, to describe it shortly I must say that is perfect, great atmosphere, brand new hostel, affordable with cozy common room and great kitchen, the only bad thing is that we couldn’t stay there for the three nights we ended up spending in the city.

After checking in to the hostel we went to do what Tallinn is most known for, partying. The city has great nightlife as Finns and Russian’s, as well as other nationalities, travel there for tourism and a bit of drinking. We visited quite a few bars and pubs and the one that a visitor in Tallinn can’t miss is the Embassy Bar & Lounge (Väike-Karja 1) with a great selection of special shots that are completely worth trying.

On the night life part it is also very interesting to join the Tallin Backpacker pubcrawl where you can meet random people and get to know the classic bars of the town.

Disabled war vet

Next day we took the walking tour around the city which is given for free by the local toursit office, that gives a chance to be shown around the city and besides learning historical facts our guide told the group a lot about the every day life of the city and country as well as how the regarded the polititians (whis is the same way as all the other countries in Europe) and in general what was going in the city.

Orthodox Cathedral

Besides drinking, good eating places are also found in Tallinn, our favourite, in where we spent a lot of money is the III Dragon in the old city hall, besides the medieval age atmosphere of the place where the women serving are wearing costumes the food and beer is good for a nice price, they serve a variety of cakes (mosse, apple and other kinds) as well as a very tasy moose soup for which you have to sing a song if you want a spoon to  eat it. But don’t forget Kompressor (Rataskaevu, 3) where you can find amazing pancakes big enough for a good brunch after a typical Tallinn night.

The best eating place in Tallinn

Our everyday meal

In general Tallinn is a very nice medieval city where you would spend a lot of time walking around the cobbled streets, it doesn’t have a specific thing that makes it special but there’s something that charms you from the first minute you set a foot in the old part of the city.

As it was written in the blackboard of the Monk’s Bunk “If you’re bored of Tallin, you’re bored of life”

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