Ahhhh Dear Trip Journal, hmmmh here I am yet again.......
There have been times during the solo parts of my travelling adventure when dear Trip Journal, you have been my companion and I have enjoyed spending a lonely evening recording and reliving the days events with you.
On other occasions, after a long day of sightseeing, many hours of walking, staying up to then record my exciting day of adventures at midnight, loading photos etc, (sometimes in a dimly lit hotel foyer using a dodgy internet system) has seemed a bit of a pain and huge amount of effort, although, I am thrilled to have these wonderful memories recorded with photos and glad I have made the effort to continue to remain committed to you. During the faster paced days, recording my days events have ensured that the days don't blur and that I have a good memory of all I have experienced during the day.
So, I should finalise my departure from Russia before I start on Estonia, although Russia already seems such a long time go.
St Petersburg was great and Nadine and James, you two will love it when you arrive here in October.
The G20 Summit was due to start a couple of days after we left so things were already starting to hot up in readiness, extra security, suited men plus elegantly dressed wives all over etc. I did mention to our Intrepid Group on the bus arriving into St Petersburg that if we were unlucky, we may be sharing a hotel with Kevin 07 Rudd, however they didn't think Kevin or President Obama stayed in Intrepid 2-3 star hotels. Plus I believe Kevin is too busy trying to score election votes in Oz to attend the G20 Summit. Crazy, you'd think he should be here showcasing Australia or at least Big Noting himself, apparently not, but I guess that's politics for you.
I fairly enjoyed the food in Russia, especially their piroshki, herring fish salad, borscht, pancakes (they even pancaked a hamburger - you would've loved it, Evan) etc.
I was hugely frustrated that I was unable to satisfy my immense curiosity (you all know how inquisitive I am and always have to know whats going on) by not being able to read any of the signs, so little was written in English and I would walk up to a sign, plaque etc. to read and it would only be in Russian, I kept opening doors or peering through windows to try and see what was happening within.
We eventually left Russia behind one evening after a wonderful time and hopped onto an extremely comfortable overnight ferry to Helsinki. We watched a beautiful sunset leaving St Petersburg on the ferry, enjoyed an excellent dinner on board and then awoke to a glorious sunrise as we entered Helsinki.
Another ferry brought us to the beautiful, medieval, ancient, historical, Unesco listed city of Tallinn in Estonia. As usual we joined a free guided walking tour around the city (bless your little cotton socks Evan for informing me of these fantastically, interesting, informative and humourous walking city tours).
Tallinn has an amazing and interesting history, only fairly recently having become independent and it's people are a fiercely proud nation (after experiencing Russia where the people were not at all patriotic), it was great to see the Estonian pride. The weather again has been perfect so we have enjoyed wandering round the cobble stoned streets, laneways, old city walls, churches (although Estonia do not have a religion and less than 20% of the population are religious - 'tree worshipping pagans, I believe the phrase goes).
I enjoyed our walking guide's description of the Singing Revolution as well as the Joined Hands historical event which I only vaguely recollected from newspaper reports. Her knowledge, descriptions and stories brought this beautiful town alive.
Tonight there is a major soccer Qualifier Match between Estonia and Holland and the city has been inundated for 2 days with Orange clad Dutch supporters who although fairly well behaved, have kept the Old City alive with their singing, chanting and general high jinx, and boy can they ever drink and eat, I'm surprised there is any beer left in this town. Luckily, it is a well known fact that Holland will beat Estonia (a country which has zilch sporting ability) so apart from sore heads tomorrow morning, the Dutch should all still be happy and singing.
We had an interesting and good time in Tallinn, Estonia.
Next stop, back to Berlin so Cameron can see this fine city......