Ah yeah. . .
Finally, a hot and sunny day! It's only the second one since I left Poland behind, so you can understand my excitement!
Last you heard of me, I was complaining about the weather in Helsinki, Finland. Well, things never got better in the Finnish capital, and I had to walk from the Olympic Stadium to the train station under the rain. Of course, the fucking rain stopped when I reached the station. . .
My arrival in Tampere was more or less the same. But the forecast was for an unseasonably warm day for the morrow, with temperatures of about 27 degrees. I told myself that I would believe it when I saw it. Thankfully, it turned out to be true, and I was able to wander around the town while soaking up the sun. The following day, I walked to the train station to return to Helsinki, and it couldn't have been more than 16 or 17 degrees. As a matter of course, it was raining when I reached Helsinki. To my chagrin, I walked to the port with my jacket on and my hood up.
Finland, I must admit, was a bit of the disappointment because of all that crappy weather. But what can you do? You have to take it in stride and try to make the most of it, no matter what.
The ferry crossing to Estonia takes a little more than an hour and a half, and all of a sudden I had reached Tallinn. Again, the weather was gray and it rained shortly after my arrival. Fortunately for me, though relatively cool with about 19 or 20 degrees, my first full day in the Estonian capital was spent under a mix of sun and cloud. Toompea and the Old Town are absolutely beautiful, and I fell in love with Tallinn. Estonian girls are quite good-looking, but many have that trashy look that you find all over Budapest. Still, for the eye candy, no able bodied male was complaining!;-)
If ever you are in town, go for the stuffed pancakes at Kompressor, a joint frequented by locals and tourists alike. I ate there once a day every day I was there! Also, since I was leaving the euro behind, I decided to splurge twice, though splurge might not be the appropriate term here. Had dinner at the medieval-themed Olde Hansa, where I had light cinnamon beer and the mixed plate of wild game sausages (bear, elk, and wild boar), all for about 25$. For a hipper experience, the next evening I visited the cool Wana Tunnel, a trendy restaurant built in a tunnel. I indulged in a filet of pork, with vegetables in foil, wild rice, red wine and mushroom sauce, accompanied with a glass of red wine, and warm chocolate cake with berry sauce and ice cream, all for about 30$. Pretty good shit, if you ask me!
My last day in Tallinn just plain sucked, however. It was Monday, and everything is closed (as far as tourist attractions are concerned), and it rained for half of the day. Still, trooper that I am, I soldiered on and went to Kadriorg Park to see the palace. Had to walk all the way to the international bus station (why the fuck couldn't they put it next to the domestic bus station and the train station?) to get my ticket for Riga. The only good thing that came out of that hike was the discovery that I would be able to board the coach at Terminal D of the port, which was located nearby.
It was pouring when I reached Riga, Latvia. I was soaked when I reached the hostel, only to realize that my booking had been lost. Not only that, but the owner split up with his girlfriend (co-owner of the hostel I had booked a bed at), and he decided to open his own place. They split the bookings between them, and I suddenly learned that I was at the new hostel. Wet and miserable, I didn't even had it in me to argue. After all, the place is brand new, and it's only costing me about 10$ a night, breakfast included. All in all, not too bad, though the hostel is kind of quiet. I'll have to book a pub crawl elsewhere, it seems.
Filled up on Russian and Ukrainia dumplings at the local hangout called Pelmeni XL. Met a German reporter on my way back, and she asked me if I wanted to go out for a drink later that night. "Yeah, what the heck," I replied, and left to walk around Riga now that the rain had stopped. When I got back later tonight, wearing shorts and a tank-top, she turned out to be a lot cuter than I first believed. Walking one full day under the rain doesn't make anyone look good, I gather. So anyway, a couple of beers on an outside terrace on Livu square and a bottle of red wine later, and yada yada yada, I overslept the following morning!
I was graced with a mix of sun and rain for my first full day in Riga. Not good when you consider that I decided to take part of a 3-hour walking tour that began at noon. As we started walking toward Little Moscow, the sun was blazing and everything was fine. By 12:20pm, it started to rain. Then the sun would return, only to disappear so we could be pissed on anew. Again and again. Taking no chance, I elected to visit the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia after that.
And finally, today, after a shaky start when the skies were gray and it sure looked like it was going to rain again, the sun came out for good! And with 27 degrees, there is nothing to complain about today! Other than the stupid battery of my digital camera decided that the time was just about right to die on me. So I'm writing these words as it's recharging. . .
I had heard a lot of good things about Latvian ladies, and they sure meet any man's high expectations. It's not Poland, but it's pretty damn close!:p And with today's hot weather, well you gotta love summer wear. . .;-)
I'm about 200 pages into Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, and I'm loving it so far, Typical Stephenson's writing style makes this one a joy to read, for the story as much as for the narrative.
The nice weather means that by the end of the day I'll probably be done with everything I wanted to see and do in Riga. If Mother Nature looks kindly upon my adventure, I might take a bus/train to Jurmala, the Baltic Riviera, tomorrow, or Rundale Palace, which is supposed to be amazing.
We'll have to wait and see. . . I'm planning on sampling Riga's night life on both Friday and Saturday, and I'm leaving for Vilnius, Lithuania, the last stop on my itinerary, on Sunday.
Take it easy!:-)