A Travellerspoint blog

Tallinn Free Day

Day 2 Tallinn

rain 2 °C
View Long Service Leaving on noraht's travel map.

Got up this morning to discover that it had rained overnight. Gone are the beautiful blue skies that greeted us yesterday when we arrived.
Not surprisingly, the bike tour was cancelled. :(
But we braved the elements to check out the Palace, with it seems obligatory Art Gallery inside. Also saw the police in action as the Finnish President was on a State visit today to Tallinn. Didn't see the president, just saw the very nice cars outside the cafe with heavy police presence, and the red carpet being taken into the Art Gallery for a later visit. We found all this out from a couple from Woolongong that we met outside the information Office, we Aussies are everywhere.
Also the occupation museum, interesting design, several exhibits were matchboxes, I think I missed a point somewhere.
Now the elements that we braved, little bit of snow at first, but mostly rain, around +2 degrees Celsius. Not warm.
Spent afternoon in warm bed while Kat climbed a tower and found some funky souvenirs. we went out later to get more. Dinner at an authentic Russian place, meal servings were enormous.
Must be up bright and early to meet everyone at 6am. Moaning and groaning but on the upside there will be hot chocolate available on the bus.

Posted by noraht 12:05 Archived in Estonia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Tallinn arrival

Day 1

sunny 10 °C
View Long Service Leaving on noraht's travel map.

Tallinn here we come.
A short walk from our Hotel in Helsinki got us to the Tram and then to the wharf. Alarge ferry took us across the great expanse (60km) to Estonia. There was much entertainment to be had on the Ferry, Loads of restaurants, Karaoke, dancing, bingo and Pokies. A shopping area where everyone was buying up lots of Alcohol, apparently it is cheaper to get it on the ferry than in Helsinki.
Arrival and a short walk to the hotel and a bit of time to settle in. My word the colour in the room, well the photo speaks for itself.
A quick tour around the old town section of Tallinn and we were left to our own devices. This really is picturesque, and yes touristy, but only in that there are a lot of souvenir shops. The rest is real; the medieval Wall that surrounds part of the old town is not a prop.
Dinner was at a nice restaurant that was reasonably priced and had a great feel; we were near the open fire. Then back to the hotel to figure out how we cope with the sun setting at around 10pm and rising at 6. Tomorrow, a bike ride around the city to see outside of the old town.

Posted by noraht 14:11 Archived in Estonia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Travelling again

St Petersburg to Helsinki


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Today was a relaxing day.
We spent the morning relaxing and repacking checking out at noon.
We rode the St Petersburg Metro for a few hours, and that was entertaining, the stations are not as elaborate or over the top as Moscow but equally stunning in a quiet way.
Then on to the train station for our 4:30 train to Helsinki to meet with our tour group to begin the Intrepid Baltic tour.
The train was a pleasant enough journey, I keep comparing to the days and nights spent on the Trans Mongolian and it is not that surprising that these little trips come out surprisingly well. The Border crossing into Finland was a delight compared with the Mongolian and Russia crossings. The best bit was not having to search for a money exchange, a lady came up to our compartment and changed it for us. Ahh convenience, I have missed you.

The difference in the landscape between Russia and Finland was striking. Russia had old run down houses with muddy roads, Finland has Forestry management, bitumen and solid well built houses.

We jumped off the train at a station that was not Helsinki central, so we not immediately sure if we had alighted at the right stop, it took 10 min to figure out how to leave the platform, taking random sets of stairs was getting us to different platforms or closed shopping centres. We grabbed a cab ( most cabs are Mercedes Benz, how cool is that), and it turned out that we were very close to our hotel so well done Kathleen.
Tiny room but cute and we are only here for the night.
tomorrow we move to Tallinn.

Posted by noraht 12:11 Archived in Finland Tagged train_travel Comments (0)

St Petersburg

May 1

rain

I think the rain is following us.
So today originally was our free day according to our Itinerary, but well up to now our itinerary from these guys hasn't actually meant a lot.
We were picked up by Olga and given a guided tour, MAy 1 is a public Holiday, and several of the roads were closed ready for the May day march that was happening later in the day, we hit the big sites of st Petersburg, and until the last stop only took pictures from the car. The last stop was a church, we have seen many churches in Russia, this will not be the last. The church of the spilled Blood was erected over the spot were one of the Tsars was fatally wounded. Inside the church there is a small section of the cobblestones that were not covered but the building, but were preserved as they had the tsar's blood, hence the name Church of the Spilled Blood.

At the end of the tour we wandered down to St Isaacs, a cathedral that has been rebuilt 3 times. Why is St Isaac important, well the Tsar that founded the city of St Petersburg (Peter the Great) he was born on the day of the Feast of St Isaac. Another Opulent Russian Cathedral, the artwork is truly spectacular, the huge Granite columns make this a striking building inside and out.

Onward to the Hermitage, I really don't know a lot about art except to look at a painting and like/dislike. The Hermitage is massive, and massively popular, we waited in line for 20 minutes before entering the ticket office. People everywhere, I wandered through the paintings quickly, the halls that housed them were more interesting. Some say it takes a week to look at all the artwork in the building. I would agree, i stuck to admiring the walls and ceilings, and the sculptures. I found a Michaelangelo. Also I was very much looking forward to the Main staircase at the Hermitage, but it is currently under restoration. might have to come back at another time.
I finished up before Kat so hung around the exit near the food. A brush with fame, Antonio Banderas was in town and getting a tour of the Hermitage at the same time, I got a glimpse through the entourage as he headed out.

Dinner in a small homey restaurant and back to the hotel. I love Russian TV. For the second time in about 4 days, I have seen an old Jackie Chan film, this time it is Armour of the God. Unfortunately the Russian dubbing makes it very difficult to understand. They just speak Russian over the English, so you can hear the original audio underneath the loud Russian voices. But they are Jackie Chan films, you just need to see the action sequences, not understand the words.
Tomorrow we catch the train to Helsinki

Posted by noraht 12:08 Archived in Russia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Everything in Between

The blogs posts i Missed

The following entries will be of the days between the last post in Hong Kong and well now. It will be added over the next few days so stay tuned.

Posted by noraht 12:05 Archived in China Tagged train_travel Comments (0)

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