10 thoughts: Baltic trip

At the beginning of April I got a chance to do what I like the most – travel. I was interested to explore Baltic coast, my home country neighbors. Here are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus. Also I  desired to visit Kaliningrad, the place between two different histories. It was challenging because of different cultures, proximity, European architecture, cheap pricing. And just for interest. You know, you might go to more popular destinations at any time in your life. But such journeys are reasonable only in youth.

So, here is my trip map and now I’m going to note 10 distinct impressions I was felt.

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Small countries


It was a marvelous experience to stay for a week on countries with your town proportions. Frankly, small societies have different needs and points of many walks of life.
One distinction that I noticed in small countries – foreign language learning. Almost everyone at Baltic countries knows English. Why? Because they must do. Otherwise they’re going to isolate yourself into very small circle of possibilities. Also failing to communicate with the rest of the world.
We can calculate a dependency between the country population and English-speaking humans rate. Or any foreign language else if we talk about English-native countries. I mean it, there is a definitely straightforward dependency. In Russia/US/India people don’t care much about foreign language because of motivation lack. Surely, why does the human should learn if he’s fine with native language in communications?
This subject worth hot debates for an hour. Let’s keep going.

Russian stereotypes


In my neighborhood people think about the enmity between Russians and Baltic coast. Well, I tried some research during my journey and investigated that…it’s not an enmity at all. I didn’t feel myself oppressed by locals.
The main reason of stereotypes is the nation characteristic. In average, Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians are quite enclosed humans. It takes a lot of history research to answer why. But it matters every other nation at communication, not only Russians.
Yes, that’s true about stuff citizenship limitations stuff for Russians  living there since the Soviet time. But that’s because of official language ignorance! Putting yourself in place, would you like to respect other people who don’t care about your rules? I don’t think so.

European Union


Also I always asked people about EU introducion which was around 13 years ago. People don’t like this solution much. The industry which had willy-nilly left from Soviet Union, was closed. A lot of people can’t get well-paid jobs and forced to leave their motherland. People said that Baltic coast is just a sales market for EU. Although there is a feature with open borders, economic integrations and low-cost trips.

So. where is the true? Does this sort of integration look fine from all sides? Doubtedly.

Contrast


I went to Kaliningrad for a day to feel the difference between Baltic countries and us. And, yes, that’s absolutely different situations, and the difference is not cool for Russia. In comparison our infrastructure leaves much to be desired.

Also we’ve got a lot of legacy from crappy Soviet-style architecture. It was so strange to see the 19-th century German houses between unfashionable condos. Actually the German legacy is still quite useful for Kaliningrad. It still does in train stations, schools, universities, even at some malls!

So, this day showed me up how far we are in infrastructure and inspired to make it better.

Middle Ages


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It’s about Tallinn old city. That’s a magic, that’s a different epic! Walking through 14-15-th centuries castles, narrow streets, bastions, soaking up the atmosphere. Well, we all can get some time in life for this.

Also I went to Middle Ages fashioned cafe right in Town Hall, it’s called “3 Drakons”. Here I tried the Middle Ages as well with no light bulbs, clay dishes and soup spoons. Don’t know,  I guess the Prague or Barcelona looks more fairy. But anyway Tallinn is a great place to get started.

Petersburg-like


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Suddenly I felt a bit of Saint-Petersburg in Riga. The Old Town is a small and when you’re going outside, you’re walking to such old-fashioned streets. Also the climate is similar, because these 2 cities located pretty nearby.

If we talk only about Riga, that’s quite fun to go there for a day-two maximum. Like a Tallinn, fine place to get started and save some money.

Buses


I was fascinated by bus lines between Baltic countries. It was almost the first time I tried such comfortable buses. They have almost everything necessary: from Wi-Fi and sockets to the toilet and tea/coffee. Actually they’re saving a lot of time to dropping the reasons for stops.

Although the train infrastructure is not well-developed yet. In Western Europe the transport infrastructure is still much faster.

Organ


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During this trip I listened the organ concert the first time in my life. It was on a Kaliningrad Catholic Cathedral. Classic organ music sounds awesome, you can’t reproduce such impressions from the web. There was a Bach symphony I never fully listened before. One more achievement in my life!

Expectations-driven journey


Strangely, the journey was 100% predictable although it’s not should be. I mean a lot of transports may be missed, some mistakes done, problems happened and so on and so forth. Compared with India, there is a very stable atmosphere where you can plan your life in a few years.

But…is it a feature? Does it look boring? Is there a root source for depression? We all humans sick and always don’t know what do we really want.

Smoking


I tried to figure out why some many people smokes in Tallinn. I met almost each third fellow with a cigarette. What is this? Depression killer because of shitty weather? Just because it’s cheap?

Well, also I learned about some sort of smoking culture in Tallinn. Locals said that you’re getting closer smoking at the same place with stranger. That’s a good topic for research.

Conclusion


I’m really appreciated all my new friends and comrades who help me with living. I was stayed with Couchsurfers as usual and thought once again how cool to be with you. To get a it of your culture. To meet interesting people with boundless mindset. To make your trip cheap and stop paying for accommodation. Shortly, thanks very much.
This week of life has inspired me to make my work and my life better. To get new knowledges and start fun and thoughtful hobbies. Cool!

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