Wow busy week. On wednesday Hans and I went to Cēstis which is a country town in Latvia. Since I left the pictures on my other memory card I think I'll talk about it next week. So on friday Hans, Jeremy, Marc and took a bus up to Talinn.
We got there on Friday and the hostel was pretty cool. We walked in and there were 8 people playing a drinking game - we all started laughing when we realised that the Aussie there had taught them all King Cup. I guess it is our national drinking game.
Jeremy and Marc went out drinking while Hans and I got some sleep. We wanted to do some sightseeing and had to organise ferrie tickets to Finland for Monday. Hans and I later joked of our 'family dynamic' during the trip.
Hans - Father. He lead everyone around (with his uncanny sense of direction), spoke to the waitresses/bus attendents/hostel owners etc, and got the other two organised.
Me - Mother. (haha) I was constanly worrying about the other two, making sure they hadn't forgotten things and planning for things others hadn't, like buying water and food for the 5 hour bus ride and 3 hour boat ride.
Marc - 18 year old kid. Mature enough to let him wander, or even let him and Jeremy go off together, but didn't organise anything for himself or us, and has a slight interest at things like museums, but prefers to be out doing things.
Jeremy - 8 Year old kid. Just wants to have fun, not that intested in sightseeing, needs constant attention and looking after.
For example when Hans and I went to get the Ferry tickets we could not buy the because we needed the passports and students cards of the other two. So we met them in town.
Hans: "Okay everyone we need your Passports and students cards to get the tickets"
Jeremy and Marc: "okay"
Hans: "So before we walk 20 minutes to get there, you've both got your student card and passport?"
Jeremy and Marc: "Yes".
Then Me the worrying mother comes in. Me: "Marc do you have your passport"
Me: "Marc do you have your student card?"
Marc: "Yes, gees Stuart give it a rest."
But I keep at it. Me: "Jeremy do you have your passport"
Jeremy: "Yeah yeah, Stuart"
Me: "Jeremy do you have your student card"
Jeremy: *pause* "No, do we need it?"
Yup that was typical Estonia. So Saturday wasn't hugely eventful, mostly spent sleeping in the morning (the bad side of living in a party hostel is everyone waking you up when they come home) and organising things. We went to an African resturant for dinner which was probably the best food I've had since going overseas. I ordered Antelope which was awesome. We got a good photo of us but it is on Han's camera so not uploaded.
Saturday night Hans, Marc and I went to bed while Jeremy took a map and proceeded to hit the town. I was worrying about him returning as his sense of direction is worse than a deaf dumb and blind mute. Let me put it this way - we once walked into a resturant to be told that it was closed by the lady standing at the front. Jeremy had taken maybe five steps into the building. We then turned around and walked out, except Jeremy who walked into the kitchen because he thought it was the exit.
Jeremy made it home alive and the next morning the other three went out sightseeing and museum visiting while he slept. Talinn is a pretty cool city. It some respects it looks a lot like Riga but the people are friendlier, quieter and the city is safer. It is also uphill/downhill a lot whereas Riga is generally flat. We saw a few museums and went out for dinner where we all order some Wild Boar. To be honest it wasn't that good, like pork but fairly tough.
The next day we got up at 6 so we could get to the ferry. Jeremy wasn't ready to go, but I had suspected this would be the case so we actually had plenty of time. We got to the terminal when Hans picked up the tickets. We sat at the cafe and ate the food I had bought the previous day for everyone until it was time to leave. Hans handed out the tickets and off we went. First we had to line up then there was a race to the passport booth. After that we lined up to get on the ferrie. Everything seemed good.
Suddely I realised we were missing someone. Marc was behind us a minute ago now he was gone. Like a mother looking for her lost child I raced around checking the duty free shops, all the toliets in the building, everywhere, trying to figure out where he had dissapeared to. I could not find him and we were trying to decide what to do next. We then got a text from him - he had lost his ticket and had to stay in Estonia. No shit, Hans gave him the ticket when we were sitting down at the cafe and 2 minutes later he had lost it. So that was it, no ticket for Marc, we went to Finland without him.
We felt bad for the poor man, so took we took a special photograph in Finland, just for him.
Haha serves him right. Anyway Helsinki wasn't that great, I mean I am glad I went, but it was fairly metropolitan, similar to Melbourne. A few cool buildings I took photos of but mostly vast shopping centres and skyscrapers. We went shopping a bit, I got an Ice Hockey game for my Cube for 10 euros, bargain, even if I can't play it due to region lock. We went out for dinner where we all ate some Reindeer. Not too bad at all, but not as good as Antelope.
Another funny story happened when we were in a shopping centre. A lady came up to us and told us we had dropped something. We came back and saw a glove. Hans picked it and said it wasn't his, and it wasn't mine, so Hans went to give it to Jeremy but Jeremy waved it away. Hans said to her "It's not ours" but she didn't speak English that well. She insisted one of us dropped it. There was somewhat of a confused debate, she said we dropped it but it didn't belond to any of us. People came over to translate. Hans told her that he had asked everyone and it wasn't theirs. That is when I figured it out, see, despite Hans trying to give Jeremy the glove, despite us spending 5 fucking minutes debating whose glove it was, despite six finnish people coming over to translate sentences about the glove, no one had specifically asked Jeremy if it was his. "Jeremy is this yours?" I said. He pauses confused, and looks at the glove and says "Yes". And everyone started laughing.
On the boat ride back we got excited when they had K-1 fights on. It is a bit like kickboxing. Anyway it was pretty cool but then they turned it off to put on "Finnoke" (Finnish Karaoke). I cannot tell you the pain we endured in that room listing to that crap. Anyway we got back to Estonia safely, despite everyone metaphorically bleeding from the ears, and the next morning we rose to get the bus.
Nearly missed the bus back to Latvia due to George W. Bush being in town and havine a 5km radius sealed off around the building he was in, which happened to be directly on our way to the bus station. I would have taken a photo of the hundreds of police and military guarding the parliment building if we weren't concerned about missing our bus. On the way home, at the checkpoint between Estonia and Latvia, one of the passengers who was from Finland on the bus got "randomly detained for questioning" (aka he was of middle eastern appearance).
Other than that we got home safe, but exhuausted, from a pretty cool holiday.
Photos for Finland and Estonia are up,