Tallinn revisited

Posted by jswt | Posted in Estonia - Tallinn, General, Latvia - Riga | Posted on 09-04-2013

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A week in Tallinn, Estonia.
Not much to say that wasn’t covered in my previous post from when I was here for NYE a couple years back, except that it was more fun with my friend S in town, and a cheesy Vengaboys show 😛



It’s got a great old town, drinks are cheap, there’s strip clubs everywhere… but it just feels somewhat staged, like an amusement park for Russian tourists. When we came last time, it was right after we’d spent months in Russia, and I remember thinking how European it felt. Now, having come from a lot of time in Europe, I couldn’t help thinking that it just felt very… Russiany.

The highlight of the week for me was definitely the last morning I was there, when I got the opportunity to help out with an event that Chris’ crew was doing: they’d invited 100+ Estonian orphans down to the venue where they were doing circus themed activity stations before the kids all saw the show. I volunteered at the photo booth station, where the kids got to dress in silly costumes and pose for the paparazzi with clowns, and it was so much fun to make them smile. These are kids who… don’t have much. Estonian orphanages are not fun places to be. So they were all quite timid and shy when they came by, but even though not many of them spoke english, it was fun to show them the costumes, and act out some of the stuff they could put on until they relayed I was being goofy and they’d start to smile and loosen up, and then I’d just move aside as them and their friends took over and put the costumes on while laughing and smiling before their shoot. It was amazing to watch, and felt really good to do something special for kids that you know have got the short stick in life and I don’t think are given many opportunities to smile. It was awesome.

After that, I hopped a train to Riga, Latvia. Again, it feels very Russiany (“It’s like Russia, with colourful signs!”), and has some beautiful old architecture, but is a bit of a bleak place that’s had some heavy history that weighs heavy on it. When we were here last time, it was near christmas and there were christmas trees everywhere, since Riga is “the home of the Christmas tree”… Without the lights and celebration, it’s just a little stark, and you can focus on the bulletholes in the buildings a lot more. It’s a week into April, and is still dumping snow, so aside from an obligatory wander, we’ve spent Monday and Tuesday staying inside in our sauna, went for massages at the really nice Espa, and just caught up on some work…

It’s now Weds, and I’ve just caught a flight from Riga to Rome, and am now on a train from Rome out towards Florence through Tuscany. My friend A and his wife are here for some big wine exposition, and he’s invited me to join them for a few days at their villa doing some wine tasting. As much fun as staying in Riga’s snowstorms sounded, I’m quite happy to be zipping across the Italian countryside that’s green in spring, with blue skies and warm sweet fresh air… Plus, this is pretty much the tail end of my European travelling, and though I’m feeling a little guilty about not working much lately, I’m going to take every last opportunity to make the most of things while they last. I’ve got a feeling that when I look back years from now, if I were to guess which I would consider more beneficial: a couple days working in my room or wine tasting with A in Tuscany, I’m probably not going to have any regrets.

Erring on the side of yes.
🙂

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