Tallinn

Trip Start Mar 16, 2004
1
33
35
Trip End Jun 13, 2004


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Flag of Estonia  ,
Wednesday, June 9, 2004

I continued on to Tallinn on Sunday despite the late
night. Back on mainland Estonia I followed the quieter
road to Kiela rather than the main road. A gentle tail
wind made up for any lack of energy I may have felt
due to the previous night.

I counted down the kilometres to the last capital city
of the trip and felt really elated when I reached the
sign proclaiming Tallinn. It was a strange feeling. I
was glad to have made all ten countries, yet disbelief
that the trip is essentially finished.

Tallinn is a beautiful bustling city. Its old part is
beautifully preserved and maintained. Medieval
buildings still in use. The old quarter winds up a low
hill towards the castle. Tour groups are led around by
their guides and there are cafes, bars and souvenir
sellers all the way. Tallinn is more expensive than
either Riga or Vilnius.

Many old people, mainly women stand along the streets
selling little posies of flowers to earn a few bob. It
is sad to see old people, many well over 70, passing
their day like this, obviously poor, but not resorting
to begging. This was also the practice in Riga.

The hostel here in Tallinn saw another reunion as many
of the same travelers turned up over a couple of days.
The hostel is incredibly friendly and small, so its a
big advantage that people already know each other.
This will be the last such time this happens as from
Tallinn everyone heads in all directions.

Yesterday I cycled out to Vosu in the Lahemaa National
Park with Ralf and Jents. They are doing a tour around
the Baltic Sea and currently going towards St
Petersburg. It was a great pleasure to cycle with
others even if only for one day. Ena and the Estonia
girl who runs the hostel drove out to join us. We
camped out on the beach and had a beer as the sun set
at about 11.30pm. The red sunset sky never actually
disappeared, it simply moved eastwards were at some
point it turns into a red sunrise sky.

Today I cycled back to Tallinn, on my own again. I was
a little jealous of the pair continuing on, they have
another three months of their trip left and will get
up to North Cape in Norway.

This is my last days cycling for now and the weather
did a little cabaret act of sunshine, rain and wind
for me. The last few kilometres into Tallinn from
this direction were characterised by kilometre after
kilometre of packed apartment blocks. So many people
in such a small area.

The trip really is over now, tonight I organise my
gear for tomorrows flight to Copenhagen and then onto
Newcastle. I am returning home via Scotland and will
visit friends and family before getting back to Derry.

It will be a while before it all sinks in, but I have
learned a lot in the last few months, a little about
the countries and the EU and a lot about myself. Now
when I hear countries such as Estonia being mentioned
I will certainly pay much more attention.

I think in general most people are glad to be in the
EU and many have high but mostly realistic
expectations.They want to improve the standards of
living in their country, but feel that they are doing
it for their children. Quite a few people mentioned
Ireland as an example of what they would like to
achieve.

I have enjoyed both the trip and writing these pieces
for the Journal. I hope you have enjoyed reading them,
now I,m looking forward to getting home and a bowl of
my father,s Irish Stew.
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