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Published: February 3rd 2009
Us in front os the main atraction in Talin
We approached the border frightened, was only when we got on the bus that we thought about the visa for Estonia. We checked the requirements for Latvia and Lithuania, but not for Estonia!! A friendly girl on the bus called some friends to ask, but couldn't get any information. If we needed a visa we were going to be in trouble! Russia for sure would not let us go back and we would be locked in the no-man land unless we could somehow get to Finland. We were desperate and as we we arrived at the Estonia border we saw the E.U. flag hanging side by side with the Estonian one. Was that possible? If Estonia was part of E.U., we would be safe! We asked and the girl told us they signed the Schengen agreement just a few months ago! What a great relief!
After three years on the road our finances were running low, so for this last and expensive (Europe = € = Our Brazilian Real meant nothing)
part of the trip we had to change our strategy. We decided to only hitch hike and stay at Couch Surfers places. The first night we stayed with a
Quiet and peacefull
friend of Lyubomir's (our host in St. Petersburg)
, at the border town of Narva, a friendly girl that by chance wasn't away in her university town and could host us.
Next day we started off early in the morning to improve our chances of a good ride to Tallin, the capital city. However, hitchhiking is not always easy, it can involve a lot of waiting at the road side till someone will stop for you. For young students and/or girls there is always someone wiling to help, but for two almost 30 years old men it is not the same. We waited for one and a half hours out in the freezing cold temperatures of an early European winter, dressed in our Thailand climate clothes. For out delightment a truck stopped and offered a ride but for only one of us. Well, better than nothing we thought!. Claudio jumped in and looked at Fernando. "where do we meet?" Fernando had just a few seconds to answer and choose the most obvious place. "In front of the church!" For sure there is a church in Tallin and Claudio can stay inside and avoid the cold. What Fernando didn't consider while
Fernando and Che Kong cooking. Lisa (our host) watching!
picking this place is that there are more than 10 different churches in Tallin, specially in the touristic center part!
It was another hour before Fernando got a ride. When a nice old gentleman stopped, Fernando was already thinking on giving up. He sat inside the car, thanked the driver and tried to start a conversation "Cold isn't it?" and the driver "Of course, it's winter." After this he traveled in silence. The driver dropped Fernando half way, but the few kilometers and heat in the car were more than welcome.
Claudio's driver dropped him off in the outskirts of town, lucky near the end station of the city tram. He took the tram to the center than walked to the old town. Amazed with the number of churches, started to get worried. Where would they meet? Passing by the city hall he stopped to hide from the rain and to try a Internet connection. After all, they didn't have a place to stay yet. After few few unlucky attempts to connected, came Chee Keong, a Malasian guy that had arranged accommodation via CouchSurfing and couldn't find his host. Claudio and Chee Keong started talking about where to
Everybody working hard
sleep in case his host wouldn't show up and where to get an Internet connection. At this moment Lisa, the host, appeared. Very friendly, she invited Claudio to stay at her family's place too. Claudio was touched with her kindness but couldn't accept, because he wasn't alone, he was still waiting for Fernando. Lisa didn't hesitate and called her mother and asked if was OK for her to have 3 guests not only one. It was fine with her, now they just had to find Fernando! Which of the 10 Churches would he be? The best way was to go home and e-mail him giving the directions. So, they started walking towards the train station.
Fernando got another ride with a plumber but unfortunately he couldn't speak any English. With hand gestures Fernando and the new driver managed to exchange some information; where do you come from, what are you doing in Estonia etc. It was a nice ride. Once in town he dropped Fernando off a few hundred meters from the Old Town. It was at this moment that Fernando realized the big mistake he had made with the meeting point. From there he could see more church
On the Bus
Fernando, Che Kong (Malasia) and Claudio
towers than people in town. He picked out a tall one and started walking. Claudio wasn't there. Another few meters there was another church. Fernando started walking thinking about the rain and worried about finding Claudio. On the way he saw some hostels, and was mentaly saving their location. But it wasn't necessary, just around one corner, he saw another three people walking in the rain. Claudio, Chee Keong and Lisa!
It was our lucky day (besides the heavy bag, the rain and the cold)
, we found each other with no big effort, found Chee Keong, found Lisa and found some accommodation!
We all went to Lisa's place and had a nice evening chatting and planning the activities for the next day.
Early morning we went out for some sightseeing but the highlight of our stay in Estonia was Lisa's kitchen and after walking around town we came back. But not without some grocery shopping from the supermarket first! In retribution to the great hospitality, we decided to make a nice dinner in three nations style, some delicious coconut rice prepared with expertise by chef Chee Keong, some chicken breast in Brazilian style with some salad in Estonian style!
After two days and the clock counting down the minutes we had to say good bye and try a new ride to Riga.
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