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Posted 14 September 2007 - Tallinn (EE):

I made it to the first local newspaper :) It's the one from Viljandi that I was talking about earlier and here is the link. I don`t know what it reads, I will try to find somebody to tell me tomorrow on the ferry to Helsinki. Here`s the link.

Spent today walking around with Marju and Kadri, talking about Estonia, Holland and the EU, then later on with a guy I met when I was in Latvia: Alex from Belarussia. He told me a lot about life over there and we had some philosophical discussions about politics which was more interesting than it sounds. Photo below is another monument reminding of the Soviet liberation of Tallinn. It is not very well preserved, but it has still kept its Soviet massiveness.

(© Tallinn - EE, September 2007)
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Paldiski, Pildaski, Padilksi, Pladiski

Posted 13 September 2007 - Tallinn (EE):

Another excursion to the Baltic past today. Together with American Tyson, I walked around in Paldiski - an old military Soviet base that used to be inaccessible to civilians up until the early 1990s. Nothing much exciting for the distance we walked, but here is some details that at least looked interesting.

(© Paldiski - EE, September 2007)
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Meeting people in Tallinn

Posted 12 September 2007 - Tallinn (EE):

It took me four hours today to get to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The first photo shows the `Bronze Soldier`, which removal from the centre of Tallinn caused political arguments between Estonia and Russia. Well, I can only say that they Did hide it well - it was quite hard to find it. Next photos are some of the streets outside the old town centre. I will shoot some pics from the beautiful buildings later on.

Another nice thing to mention: when I got to the hostel in Tallinn, I walked into two people I actually knew! They both participated in the 1996 and 1998 Euro and World cup football pools I organised with Joachim! It`s his sister and her boyfriend. We had dinner together and talked about their one-year trip around the world. They will leave on the Trans Siberia Express tomorrow, quite exciting and definitely something I also want to do before I get very old.

(© Tallinn - EE, September 2007)
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Milk in beer glasses

Posted 11 September 2007 - Kuressaare (EE):

Another day of PHP-messing, and I have not taken any photos except the one needed for Us Europeans. Hence the `archive photo` from the Soomaa National Park featuring people looking for fresh cranberries.

Us Europeans look(s) slightly different now, with another subsection to help other websites include Us Europeans on their website. Want to see what it looks like? All of the rest is now in one page and although there are some other things I want to change to make posting the stories easier and make Google tracking possible but this is enough for now. I need to have some things to do when the weather gets colder.

Otherwise, not much interesting activity today. It was sunny again, with higher temperatures than yesterday. When I woke up, a whole school of children was marching by. Probably to celebrate the beginning of the new year but that was already a week ago. Interesting other facts: people drink milk here with hot meals, and they drink it from the same glasses as beer. That is an absolutely forbidden thing to do in Holland, but nobody seems to care here..

I`m going to Tallinn tomorrow, Estonia`s capital. Beside some day trips from there, I will use it as a departure port to get to Finland by the end of this week!

(© Soomaa National Park - EE, September 2007)
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Cutting hair to miss the bus

Posted 10 September 2007 - Kuressaa (EE):

I got up early this morning to catch the today`s second and last bus to Pärnu, at 07h40. Then I found out that somebody had a razor so I could cut my hair. It made me miss the bus by 2 minutes. A friendly guy who was going in the same direction allowed me to catch up with the bus and deposited me in Tori - the same place where I has started walking to the hostel two days ago. The bus took me to Pärnu and then I took another one to Kuressaare, on the island of Saaremaa. I slept for almost all of the 4-hour drive, except the ferry-crossing.

It was raining on Saaremaa island and I soon found out that summer is really over now. The youth hostel, actually a school building, shut down the hostelling activities on the last day of August. Guest houses were the only alternative, but since those cost about the same here as do youth hostels, that was not much of a problem. I found one, left my stuff and walked back into the city.

It kept raining in small drizzles, so I found myself a place inside with internet access so I could continue working on website. Since PHP drives you crazy after a while, and also because a drunk Finnish guy invited me for a game of chess, I interrupted my activities to even the scores: during this trip I now won once (against this Finnish guy) and lost once (against Czech Pavel in Dublin).

I spent the rest of the evening talking PHP and German with one interviewee who did not speak English. He was lucky that I am always very motivated to speak German whenever and wherever I go, so that worked out quite well. Mit Fingerspitzengefuehl, one could say. Then it got so late that I could get no food anymore and I hadn`t eaten a lot during the day. My dinner consisted of a small fruit pie and a glass of plum juice. When I walked `home` after 1 o`clock, the city was completely empty and dark.

(© Kuressaare - EE, September 2007)
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Bog side

Posted 9 September 2007 - Joesuu (EE):

Sunday sportsday but I`m depending on circumstances here, so I do not always have the opportunity. I did today and joined a group of Estonians and one New Zealandster on a tour through a part of Soomaa National Park. We walked through forest and crossed bogs for about 4 hours without meeting anybody else on our way, or finding any sign of human life. No tracks, just colourful nature, lots of mushrooms, berries, moss, insects, trees, lizards, mice... Photo below: Rait and Raimo testing the `road` ahead.

(© Soomaa National Park - EE, September 2007)
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Stop-over in Viljandi

Posted 7 September 2007 - Viljandi (EE):

Another day in Estonia and it has been very useful but not very rich in photos. One of the few I did take is the one below: a green house. Houses are nice here, I can`t think of any other reason why I keep photographing them here.

I travelled from Tartu to Viljandi, which was originally intended to be a station on the way to the Soomaa National Park but Kristiina, who I got in contact with through CouchSurfing, convinced me to stay a little longer so she could interview me. I guess I will appear in the local newspaper next Monday, how exciting, after earlier appearances in Sweden and Poland. I will of course post a link when this one is out.

I have also been taking the previous day to do some maintenance work on the website and add some new features. Most exciting so far, although not yet entirely functional: the All Photo Page. When this round of upgrades is complete, I will try to find some more people to write about the Us Europeans project.

(© Viljandi - EE, September 2007)
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Late summer

Posted 5 September 2007 - Tartu (EE):

I spent a nice day today walking around Tartu. Schools and universities started on Monday so there is plenty of people around. The weather is very nice - a good improvement compared to the last few days. I have been thinking about what I should do or want to do when I finish this year of travelling, even though that moment is still 11 months away from now. It would be interesting to do some studies in political science or social geography, or maybe expand the commercial photo activities, or... We`ll see. I will stay in Tartu one more day and then take a bus to the western side of the country to see some nature.

(© Tartu - EE, September 2007)
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Posted 4 September 2007 - Tartu (EE):

Country number four is called Estonia, and this is another country I have never visited before. The first impressions are very positive: the country seems to be quiet, things make sense and the sky is beautiful. There are 25 Crown banknotes, which brings back old memories of when Holland still had guilders. I am now in Tartu, a small university town in the south east of Estonia. I am planning to get back to the seaside by the end of this week, then along the coast up to Tallinn. I will have to skip the Russian town of Narva, but will certainly write about the recent arguments between Russians and Estonians.

Photos: bus station in Valka (LV), border between Latvia and Estonia (marked in black and white), train from Valga to Tallinn (EE) during stop in Tartu.

(© Valka - LV / Tartu - EE, September 2007)
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