Thursday, August 07, 2008

Tallin, Estonia - Baltic Countries Coach tour - May 24

After breakfast on the Litvinov (ship of the Russian River Cruise) we sat around in any space we could find outside of our rooms, waiting for our transport to the airport or where ever. Sixteen of us waited for a bus that would take us on our extended Baltic Countries tour, with Uniworld. Why should I have been surprised when we boarded a dirty, run down, old rattle trap of a bus. We proceeded to drive over potholes and worse, roads to get to the border of Estonia. It was about a 3 hour trip with no stops and no facilities on board. We finally get to the border all very disgruntled, to say the least. We get out to go to the washroom and discover that we should have taken our hand luggage as the people coming from Tallin were trading buses with us. Oh my, they were in for a surprise, as we had been.. or maybe they had been told of the infamous bus. We then get on a gloriously clean, comfortable bus to continue our tour, with our new guide, Sylvia. Before I say anything else, I must say that Sylvia was THE BEST guide we have had on any of our trips. And now we get information!!! imagine. Upon crossing the border, each of us give the pot $2.00 to bribe the guards so that they do not rummage through everyone's baggage and hold us up for any further time.

The difference between Russia and Estonia is apparent right at the border. Great paved roads, cleaner countryside and neat towns. The land is farmed where Russia was all weedy and neglected. People here smile and are cheerful. Man, even the weather is better!

Estonia has 1.6 million people, 400,000 of whom live in Tallin. We watched an informative movie, but I cannot possibly remember it. Nice dinner in our hotel and are back to our very nice room by 9:00 pm. TV ( what a luxury) and sleep.

I can no longer remember when the above pictures were taken. I did not change the time on my camera, so it is still on my home time, which is probably about 8 or 10 hours difference. At any rate, it was great to have good weather and be shooting photos without being on a bus or boat with reflective windows. This is Kadrioru Palace and park. I have many more pictures of the park and palace but won't bore you with them.

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