Monday, July 16, 2007

The journey so far...

Hello there, haven't had much chance to update this since i left as i haven't had great internet access or its been expensive but lots has been happening so here is a quick low down! Arrived in Helsinki on Wednesday afternoon (weather was wet and miserable!) and dandered around the city, it's quite nice and modern but not stunning. On Thursday the weather was nice and sunny so we went to Suomelina (left picture). It's an old island fortress just off the coast of Helsinki (15min ferry). We got a guided tour which was interesting - a good spot to go visit if you are ever there.

We left Finland on Friday and got a 90minute ferry to Tallinn in Estonia (3 pics on left). This is is a beautiful medieval looking city (large town really) with lots of cobbled streets and squares with market stalls surrounded by cafe's and bars. It's to sorta place that's great to walk about and stop for a coffee and watch the world go by. We took a walking tour of the city which was interesting. The people in Estonia were very friendly which i suppose you expect when they are thriving on tourism. Lots of nice hotels and restaurants with great food so it's definitely a place i would go back to. Not as cheap as i expected though.

On Sunday we departed by bus for Riga in Latvia (5 hours). When we arrived and found our hostel we headed off on another 1 hour bus journey to Sigulda which is described as 'the Switzerland of Latvia' in the Lonely Planet. It's a beautiful small town which boasts snow sports during the winter and so we really went for some adrenaline summer activities. First we had a go at bobsleding down an olympic bobsled track in what basically resembled a tin bath on 4 wheels. The 80km/hr rush was well worth the cost of 5 pounds!

Next we headed off to the Cable car where we had read off the opportunity to bungee-jump (check out their website) from the cable car suspended over a ravine with a river at the bottom! At a cost of only 25 quid this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. The cable car takes you out and stops half way for your jump of 150feet! We had to queue for a couple of hours and weren't sure if they were going to have space availble for us or not but they did and before i knew it i was being fitted with a harness and strappings around each ankle. At that point the nerves started to kick in and i began to think that maybe this was not the brightest idea! However, that was nothing compared to the feeling you get 150ft in the air in a cable car with the door open and some bloke looks at you and says 'you're turn next'! Next thing you know you are clipped in and you have 15 other people in the cable car waiting for you to throw youself into mid air attached to a big elastic band. The peer pressure is immense! To top it off, you are beside a bridge and so the passing traffic stops to have a good gauk at you too and they beep their horns if you hesitate at all! So the upshot of all that is that against my rational thought, i did it! It was undoubtedly the scariest thing I've ever done and i don't think i would rush to do it again but i did it and managed to keep my pants clean! Niall has a great video of my jump on his camera so i'll hopefully get that up here soon!

Today we have been having a bit of a walk around Riga city. It's much larger than Tallinn and more cosmopolitan but still has loads of relly beautiful architecture. Apparently it's a lot like Prague. Also it is very cheap. We had a nice lunch today and it only cost about 8 pounds for both of us.

Tomorrow we move on again to Vilnius in Lithuania so i'll keep you posted on that one. Over and out...

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