The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Tag baltic states

Last day in the Baltics

Today we did some final exploring of Narva, visiting Narva Castle and seeing the Swedish lion monument. We did everything slowly seeing as we had a lot of time and not that much to see. It was nice to take it so easy for once. We then got on the bus back to Tallinn for one final night here before moving on to Finland with the ferry.

Some pictures from our last day Read the rest

Spying on Russia

There is more to Estonia than just Tallinn, or at least that was our premise, so we searched through lonely planet for tips on other places to visit. Shunning both beaches and national parks (we’ve seen plenty of that already) we finally opted for the rather small but supposedly interesting city Narva in the far east of the country.

We caught one of many buses in the morning and got here in roughly three hours, not bad compared to travel opportunities to smaller towns in the two other Baltic states. The main attraction here is that the town borders on … Read the rest

Water and ruins

After the lest few  days barrage of old towns and soviet prisons we figured we needed a bit of nature. According to the guide book, there should be a beach not too far from central Tallinn so we decided to go there. From the shopping mall right outside old towns south-eastern end we got on one of several bus lines going to Pirita. Just when we hopped off the bus we stumbled upon a building that looked like it was only a gable with no roof, we just had to check it out.
It turned out it was the ruins … Read the rest

Soviet style adventures in Tallinn

Today has been a much better day than yesterday, I’m back to my normal happy self. We started by some shooting…or rather I did the shooting while Yini acted as a photographer. I got to shoot a revolver, a 9mm pistol and a tactical shotgun. It was loud, forceful and fun, much more so than what shooting we did in the military. The shotgun especially was an experience since I was shooting from the hip, the kick of the thing was so strong I actually got a bruise on the side from it.

Firing a revolver…

…a Glock with a Read the rest

Having a bad day

Apparently traveling is not always a pleasant endeavor, or rather, sometimes things don’t turn out as well as you hoped. I got up bright and early this morning, intent on going to an old Soviet fallout shelter to fire and Ak-47 at a card board James Bond. About three quarters of the way there I realized I had forgotten the one essential thing I must not forget: my passport. The bus to Tallinn was scheduled to leave promptly at noon and by this time I couldn’t go back to the hostel, get the passport and start out for the shooting … Read the rest

From the Gulf of Riga to the Baltic sea

During the last few days, the internet access has been very limited as we have been camping slightly northwest of the middle of nowhere.  We had read in our guide-book that a place called Cape Kolka was supposed to be very special with a desolate moon landscape. This sounded very interesting to me so we checked and rechecked how to get there which, the place being so remote and desolate, was rather hard. Eventually we did find a bus to take us there as well as a campsite willing to rent us a tent and some sleeping bags and off … Read the rest

Sigulda with a guide

The plan for today was to look around a bit more in Riga and in the afternoon I would go to an old Soviet bunker and fire an AK-47 but, after thinking things over for a while we figured out it might be wiser to switch plans so, at the spur of a moment we signed up for a tour to the national park in Sigulda.

Normally I avoid tours like the plague because there is too little freedom, they take too much time and take you to too many place that are not interesting, as some kind of diversions … Read the rest

Rainy Riga

Today me and Yini have explored Riga’s old town accompanied by grey skies and intermittent drizzle. The old town of Riga, much like that of Vilnius, is full of churches, merchant houses and other old buildings covered in ornaments. Unlike Vilnius most of it is in good shape with brightly painted walls and unbroken masonry; it seems the Latvians have done a better job of either preserving or restoring its old town. There is more life on the streets of Riga as well, the ground floors of nearly all the buildings hold small shops and there are several cafes on … Read the rest

Hill of crosses

Today we visited what is supposed to be Lithuania’s most incredible place – and you will see why I agree with that statement. The hill is a short distance outside the town of Siauliai so – on recommendation from the tourist office – we rented a couple of bikes and off we went. You notice directly when you have reached the place because you see the hill from a distance and once you do you just want to get closer.

It is not a big area, just two small hills in the middle of nowhere,  covered by crosses. When I … Read the rest

Hill of crosses 10:38 am

Photos cannot truly describe this place, there is simply too much of it. Crosses, thousands and thousands of crosses, all in a big jumble. Big crosses, small crosses, iron crosses and wooden ones. Two small hills in the middle of nowhere completely covered by them. Some are simple some are ornate, the  smaller ones hanging off bigger ones, crosses all around. Intermingled with the multitude of crucifixes are Jesus status and other religious symbols. That the weather is slightly cloudy doesn’t matter, the experience itself overshadows such trivial matters. My words however, just like a photo, are insufficient to describe … Read the rest

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