I've been away from the Blog because I needed to go to a midterm evaluation camp from the ICYE, the organization which has had me in Finland for what now is 6 months (halfway there). The camp was really nice, since it was a chance to catch up with some friends, as well as meeting new people, hearing some life advice and overall, exchanging our experiences in Finland. However, this was just 3 days, the following 4 days I spent in 4 different countries, since no longer had the camp finished, I left Helsinki in direction to Tampere, from where I took a Ryanair plane (really cheap) to Riga, where I was being hosted by couchsurfing.com website, and was actually planning to spend the 3 days there. First day I arrived in Riga, the only major city in Latvia, a country which has a considerable Russian population, and which adds to no more than 40 years of independent history. It was dark at night, and I was actually more aware to follow the directions which led me from the airport, commuting nearly one hour to my hosting place, with a Latvian girl who had actually lived and travelled through Latin America. We spoke until late, although I was quite tired.
Next morning my friend companion & me woke up around 10 am, had breakfast in the bread store across the street and prepared our legs for a good walking day around Riga. Little would we know that we would finish that day entering the country of Poland. Little had we walked, when we thought it would be a good idea to just go to the train station and catch a train somewhere else, with Prague being our main objective. After learning the crappy train system in Latvia (you can't leave the country on train), we had to use the buses. We checked the timetables, and took the next bus to Vilna, Lithuania, where we planned to connect to Prague. We basically went through Latvia and Lithuania, so although I can't say I know Riga, I do know Latvia. In Vilna we managed to buy tickets for the night train to Warsaw, which was going to be our final destination. When I saw the map, I understood that Prague is not really around the corner. However, before taking the bus, we had a couple of free hours, which we use to go around the beautiful city of Vilna.
We slept at the bus, so we didn't need to pay for a place to stay, but we got to Warsaw around 6 in the morning after a 10 hour travel. Over there we had to wait for the currency exchange to open, and then we could delight ourselves with Polish food, myself taking a Pacek Po, some kind of pancake with meat inside, kind of like a crepe but thicker. Unfortunately, we also found out that the train station is not really that close to the city center, so we stroll around aimlessly until we finally took a bus, which took us nowhere, but returned to our initial spot, and took another bus on the opposite direction, where a nice looking Polish girl explained us how to get to the old city, or whatever remains of it. Anyways, we got to some pretty amazing clock tower, which I somehow didn't take picture, and then strolled around the city. Saw a couple of landmarks, but afterwards saw the city zoo, and since we had not had very good sleep at the bus, we thought it would be a nice idea to just go there. Quite a waste you might think, but I actually enjoyed it, and believe it was a correct decision, plus I got to see the first rhino in my life. The day ended as the one before, spending the night on the night bus to Vilna, just to get off, wait some 20 minutes, and set our asses for another 5 hours to Riga. I slept quite a lot this time, in contrast to the first travel. We where in Latvia, got some nice sleep, and flew back to Tampere, where even though we had some inconvenience at the fucking expensive Pendolino train. Next day I was back home at Savonlinna and had to prepare for another day of work.
Overall the experience was quite nice, especially since I had being complaining about my lack of traveling, which just seems to be growing on the future months, though I'm not sure where will I fabricate money to spend. I'm currently looking for an afternoon job, so if you live in Savonlinna, own a business and have a vacant, post in the comments ;) I would also like to add, that I don't really reccommend this trip, since although we got to get a glimpse of the cities, it is way too tiring, and they still have a lot more to offer than what we were able to see.
|David Bowie - Warszawa .mp3|
|Found at bee mp3 search engine|