While I freely admit to having a bit of a boner over trains, being forced to take a bus really makes you realise why. My poor cycled out knees ache when forced to stay in one position for too long and with seats this tight I cannot even get into my usual sleep sitting up position. Maybe this love of the locomotive stems back to when I was a kid and our family won a trip in the cab of a steam train. Or that there are so few trains back home which is such a shame as they really are the best form of transport. It just feels so much more civilised than being herded into some metal tube. Another advantage that trains have is that once you board at a usually central station it just goes. None of this tedious getting out of town through traffic and intersections just two rails pointing in the direction you want to go. Even just boarding is fun. Stand on the platform as a mighty piece of engineering pulls in. The immaculately presented providnista’s stand ready to welcome everyone aboard. Once underway there is so much more freedom to move around and looking out the window is far more accessible than a bus and more interesting than a plane. [read on]
Archive for the 'entertainment' Category
Instantly on arriving in Tallinn it appears to be a far more thriving place than Riga. Still the same pattern of old town, this time rather attractively on a hill as opposed to beside a river, surrounded by more recent development of which there has been quite a bit. From what I’ve read Estonia is the success story of the European Union expansion into the Baltic. Skype was created here, turns out fittingly as we sure put it through its paces but more on that in a bit. It definitely feels more cosmopolitan, where in Riga a couple of blocks out of the old city it was almost immediately run down Tallinn has skyscrapers and malls. Usually I wouldn’t view this as a positive but here it feels kind of hopeful so will let it slide.
Lookout over the lower old town.
I am gradually settling into the backpacking routine again – arrive, preliminary money change of a small amount to be able to use local transport, find local transport, find map of local transport, argue a bit about local transport, take local transport (in this case buses), find hostel conveniently located under a stripclub (a great look the next morning when outside in the courtyard gateway having coffee and cigarette then realise why all the passersby are smiling is cos right overhead is a sign for the top floor establishment). Change more money trying to estimate how many Kroons will be needed for a couple of days accurately enough not to get burned too much by exchanging money too many times yet still having enough to have a good time. All pretty straightforward on about an hours assessment of prices, find supermarket, find pub. [read on]