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My crazy year so far..

Hello world again- am back!!

Well I wasnt really gone, but my last real post was on Midsummer so it feels and it was ages ago!
I know people say they have been busy and I sure have, but it shouldnt be any excuse.
But excuse me anyway 🙂

As mentioned I did that pic-challenge on June. And it really was a challenge.
I started it on Midsummer weekend but was struggling with those pics & spacing for many weekends.
So it took forever and it is still a mess.
But what I´ve seen others have the same issue so am just gonna leave it that way..

Now you think I have been busy with that and things like those??
Not really – I wish 😛

I graduated on June from my lovely school with title of Travel Agent.
I was able to choose between that and event management (some prefer service provider) which means for example planning tours and related events for people.
Travel Agent doesnt sound as sexy as that provider but since I have already studied Entertainment Business and worked years at Booking Agency and Artist Management and had pretty much that title, I thought it is better to choose the non-sexy one 😀

I didnt really like studying when I was younger and at one point I said I will never go back to school and thought my friends crazy when they did so.
At the age of 29 I went back to school (entertainment business) and 2016, I started this. So never say never!
Those two decisions has been the best I made so far.

Loved going to this school but hated 6am wake ups, I didnt much enjoy travelling to school for about 2-2,5 hrs one way, but I made such a great friends there and I learnt a lot!!
AND during my internship I had a chance to travel to Ukraine as a tourleader. That was awesome!!
First we flew to Kiev and went by a car to Odessa and took a night-train back. What a trip!
I will tell about that on another post though.


Because that Ukraine trip went well (even though I was super nervous first) & I got good feedback, I was recently asked to do Trans-Mongolian tour as well but I couldnt go. That sucks.
It would have been right after my summer holiday, less than a week or so and been already off the work for 3,5 weeks made it impossible.
I wanted to go so bad- you can just imagine.
Taking Trans-Mongolian or Siberian Train has been my dream for years.
I hope I can make it sooner than later.

A week from this I got another call from the Travel Agency (Traveller), if I would be willing to take a group to Kiev & Chernobyl. Hell yeah!!
That´s only 5 days trip and bit later than Mongolian would have been.
Havent got the plane ticket yet but keeping my thumbs up that will happen!!
Never been to Chernobyl but I really liked Ukraine & told JP (Jani) that we have to go there, he would like Ukraine am sure.

Beside those I have been working my a** off, literally!! In several ways.
I dont remember when I had last full weekend off.
It was probably that Midsummer weekend- I just wanna go to the summer cottage and relax, so I dont take any shifts then.


Before I went to school I was working at the Booking Agency as mentioned somewhere.
Did my internship there as well (2010) and after finished my school I started to work there full time.
Then the economy got bad and I was able to do only part-time there & did the other half at groceries.

That was pretty challenging; waking up, going to work, finish there and go to another place, go home and get some sleep.. and next day the same shit.
I was lucky though cos the grocery manager let me to chose the shifts first so I was able to do all the weekends shifts = save money & travel!

As the late winter came I decided to take no stress about anything- even though I was little panicking what would our summer holiday this year be then..
I enjoyed my time at Traveller, so I stayed there 3 extra months and did my whole internship there.
Later the spring I was talking to Kati (the shop manager) & she said she´d be happy to have me there full-time for the summer summer & I was also thinking to do some shifts at the Agency.
Then my dad surprised us totally.
He started to talk about buying a lunch place and asking if I was willing to work for him.
I thought he was just talking but he actually bought a place and so my ”plans” changed again..

So I´ve been working at that lunch-cafe-restaurant/gas-station place since I finished my school.
Not a dream job obviosuly, cos I just wanna take pics & travel 😀
But it has still been nice.
That place is in Loviisa, 90 km from where I live so that takes like almost 200 kms joyrney everyday.
Sounds crazy, right?!

Let´s compare: it took more than 2 hrs one way when I went to school, in capital region by public transport.
This place is 90 km away, only about 40 mins by car. If you have a car, as I do but not a license -yet..
Luckily most of the days we (me & my goddaughter) got a ride from my dad on June.
Now that he´s been at their summer cottage me and Minttuneeded to take a bus and it takes more than 2 hours from Helsinki + the joyrney to Helsinki & all the traffic jams.. Oh my!! It was more like more than 5 hrs a day just getting there&back.
The good thing taking a bus is having a lot of time just to scroll on Instagram & the bad thing, maybe you can already guess?? My finger got sore for all the freaking likes 😀
So in a nutshell.. been to Loviisa every weekdays & weekends at the grocery. But that is not all..

Beside those two jobs I started driving school, right after Midsummer.
A dream for years came finally true!! I was so happy but nervous too!!
Staff in Loviisa were shocked cos Minttu & I didnt have a driving license and were pretty much in shock!!
Well, didnt really needed before and it´s so damn expensive.


I once kinda had the money but then my hand got injured and I couldnt work and I had to move out from my apartment cos the owners needed it back and without a job it was hard to get one.
Although all those shitty things happened I was lucky since I was never on the streets thanks to my lovely family & afterwards thinking am glad all that happened since I dont think without those I would have not met Jani!

Then I was thinking to get the license when I was working full time- (this might sound strange to some) but I also wanted to travel! Cos I wasnt able to work for several years, I wasnt able to travel a lot (I got a chance to visit the States though but that´s different thing).
So ”needed” to choose between driving license or a holiday and to be honest those holidays are pretty much the only time we can really see each others and be together with JP cos many shifts.
So I chose to travel.
I dont regret it though, we have been to so many great places (and few not so great), done great road trips, even flew couple of times and experienced a lot!!


But now the license is a must thing.
Am working so far away and am able to work full time and I got my paychecks without any struggling so I took a loan for that driving school.
I dont take loans for holidays or pay them with credit cards, we travel if we have the money so I am ready to work like crazy if I get to travel.
I can take shifts 7 days a week but I need my holidays / that goal.
I think most of you can relate to that..??

So summa summarum I finished my driving school, got the license even though he said it was a tough decision and he made me to promise I will go with Jani first and learn to use that stick better before I go to work by myself. I was struggling with that a lot!!
That even came to my dreams!! Damn stick!!
Great news is I got a text message a day before we left to our summer holiday- the goal I was working my as** off- that I can go and pick up my driving license!
And finally, at the age of 30 something I got the license!! Am super happy & excited!!

I meant to write and finish this post before our holiday but there were so many things to do (excuse me one more time)- like if I had any free time after driving school I was exercising, we have crosstrainer at home so I was doing that every day as well!
Project number 66 to lose some weight I think 😀
Beside that my brother went to army and parents travelled to Sweden & Norway so we got their crazy dog. So holiday was really needed after those 4 weeks he was staying with us. Imagine a dog flipping out so bad when going out that he tries to bang his head through the door, and screaming help when you tell him no & stop him not to rush.. I have a video somewhere am sure..
But now we are somewhere in Europe and unfortunately we need to get back home next week..

Will tell you more about this holiday on another post.
But I´ve been to my fave place Balaton,
enjoyed tasty Mojitos while watching those amazing sunsets, met friends from Finland there, went to Croatia (which wasnt a top choise then), fell in love with the coast line & tuna steak, climbed up to winehill in Maribor & had a class or two their sparkling wines.. Just few things to mention.


Our route has been so far this:
Estonia- Latvia-Lithuania-Poland- Slovakia- Hungary- Croatia- Austria-Czechia and tomorrow we will drive through Poland, probably visit Suwalki (our fave pit stop) & then head to Riga for those last days.
Riga is like a second home to us and it is always great to go there.
You can check my travel (+ some other) pics on Instagram!
Am posting Road Trip 2017 pics little late cos I had huge problems with Icloud for days and was so sure I lost all my great pictures but now it is working and I can find & post them again! What a relief!!
Those pics you can find here: https://www.instagram.com/666places

Hope you all enjoyed your summer! ✌

 

Sorry, my bad!

Am kinda embarrassed- I dont even wanna share this with you..
But what the heck, am gonna.
Remember, my recent post about Road Trips, Via Baltica & stuff you need/should have with?!
If you dont click here

So I was just telling about how we´ve been there many times, things you need to have there, things to remember, sharing our experiences..
So you would think we had all covered?! Ha 😀

So we made plans to visit Latvia on our Easter Holiday and couple of days before we noticed few missing things/documents.
Those were not the end of the world-things but better to be safe than sorry they say..
Was just having a bath (oh yes, we do have a big bathtube!) with lots of foam and having a nice, chill drink & reading.
Didnt have any book to read so I took those Motor-magazines Jani brought and there was an article ”Tips for driving in Europe”.
Have already read that once some months ago..

They mentioned those same things what documents you need but also mentioned alcohol limits, using mobile phone & radar detectors..
And it slowly hit me.
Oh we are missing that, oh that one has expired and what about that..
Boom!Boom!Boom!
Nowdays they use only electronic registration document so if you travel abroad you need to ask a printed version from your inspector and since that was a new thing to us (again!) we didnt have that.
We had our old version though so I dont think that even matter cos other than the date it was the same..

So it wasnt just one thing we ”forgot”. Our car´s export licence had also expired..
Oh shit,again!
Last car was cheaper and so it was ours, this one has banks name on it though Jani´s name is on the registration document as well but still they suggest you to have that piece of paper (easy money to them, cos you only get that for max 6months and you have to pay 42€ each time, just saying!)
We had our old car for 5 or so years so cant remember these, right..

Another thing I mentioned was registration document.
In Finland they comes now only as e-version, so you dont get that print with you anymore. But you must have that abroad.
Since it was pretty easy with our old car, this was something ”new” and something to forget. Again.

Well, we had previous registration document so we could have just go with that and hope they wont check the dates.
But we thought it´s better to get that since we are planing another road trip already and it´s the easiest to get or so we thought.
Jani drove after work to the nearest inspection-station.
The place was open till 6pm but their office closes at 4pm (would have been nice if they would put also that to their webpage..).
So he had to go further to get one, after waiting 30 minutes or so, he finally got that, for free.

This wasnt all, part 3 comes here.
Then we just realized our Greencard had expired.
Only few days left and Easter coming up so couldnt get it mailed in time.
Luckily Fennia has good service and office just two steps away from my office, so I went there in hurry with mandate and it literaly took less than 2 minutes & I was heading home with new 12 months greencard. Thanks!

See, pretty much every thing I told others to check, I forgot or almost forgot..
What a dummy. Seriously.

Some other things I´d like to remind; pay your tax on motor vehicles & check you take your car to the annual inspection-in time.
If taxes arent paid or you havent checked your car (as the law says here..) you can say bye,bye to your ferry.
That never happened to us (huh) but missed those inspections, twice.
First time we realized that on Father´s Day (almost 3 months late) and second time (a year later) we were in Tallinn just heading home in September and realized the due date was till the end of August.
We had our summer holiday starting the very end of August that year so that confused us- oops..
Now we have alarm for that 🙂

If you think you heard it all, there is more. Jani wanted to change our tyres before we go.
Oh yes, it was such a great weather a week before Easter, looking good and so he got them changed. I was joking it´s going to snow (as it always does) and oh well, the closer we got Easter, the worse got the weather: snow, degrees below zero- stuff like that.
The day we meant to leave it started sleeting. Forecast in Tallinn & Riga promised pretty much the same, sleet/snow and close to zero.. Damn.

It was midnight when we arrived Tallinn and it was sleeting even more.
Just outside Tallinn it turned to snowing and that was one heavy snow-storm we got ourselves into.
Luckily there were no traffic (just a lorry every now and then).
I was checking the rain map and we were once thinking if we need to pull over and find another place from Booking.com for us.
Even though these tyres are middle-European there was a while I was missing our old car and stud tyres..

But suddenly that bloody snowing stopped and closer we got to Latvia, the better got the weather.So we made it there well <3
More about Riga later- just wanted to share these little "do´s and dont´s" first..

PS
If you are planing a road trip to Europe, check my previous post – if you havent already read it/this and please follow those advices.
My lovely godchildren has mentioned they wanna be like me/us and travel a lot, but please my darlings, dont do what I did here 😀

PPS
Our passports are valid till 2020/2021 and our personal insuraces are continuing, so we are good with those, at least 😉

Road that stole my heart

VIA BALTICA ROAD TRIPPING + STUFF LIKE THAT

IMG_8266

Via Baltica and going to Baltics..
Almost everyone has an opinion about the road&these countries.
Opinions vary widely from love it to boring/interesting/dangerous to wanna go again & never again, at least not by a car.

I tried to count how many times I´ve been there & there are numerous times and from Tallinn to Riga there are many more, dozens of.. Cant say for sure.

Yes, am a road trip fan, Baltic & Balkan fan!
Latvia, especially the capital city, Riga is great and I call it my home-away from home Baltic and Serbia, esp. Beograd is my home-away from home Balkan..
You can just take a wild guess what might be my fave places to visit, along with Hungary!

Our first Via Baltica road trip was 2011, just 6 years ago (it feels more though).
Had a plan to visit Lake Garda and Hamburg.
Then came the Ehec-epidemic, people got sick and also died..
They didnt know yet what was causing all those and they told not to travel there (the cause was foreign cucumbers and sprouts probably watered by contaminated water).
So we didn´t go there.
We didn’t visit Italy either since we were thinking is it really worth to go there for a day or two & with mini budget. Just started working less than a month before.
Got a job from the Booking Agency I did my internship for school, so didnt have much money & had only two weeks off.
Still remember the night in Krakow when we decided to change our plans, sitting outside our hotel watching beautiful sunset, with cold beer.
Decided to stay few more days there, visit Oświęcimim (better know as Auschwitz) and drive back.

Of course felt little upset but afterwards this Tallinn-Jurmala-Kauna-Krakow was just perfect for first time. Visited also Vilnius but we had our hotel outside Old Town so didnt really walk there but visited Gediminas and KGB-museum. And then it was just raining so went to do some shopping and were just laying lazy at the hotel. Wasnt bad at all!

IMG_8271

Dont remember where this road trip idea came from.
Am glad we both are similar- ready to go almost when & where ever.

When people heard about our plans, they werent too excited.
Thought us crazy & that we were kidding 😀
They were warning about how dangerous it is there, we will get robbed, militias will take our money, roads are awful, car get stolen etc.
They were like go to Spain or some place normal.
What´s funniest that people who had never been there said these, they are usually the worse also. Just saying 😉
Jani´s parents were horrified by our plans but they said some nice things about Jurmala.
First we didnt think to visit there at all, thought it´s going to be place for oldies but it turned out to be great place to visit.
Amazing beach with white, soft sand as far as the eye can see. The sun’s shining & the sea is sparkling.

We happened to have great weather, even though it was just the beginning of June.
It was raining in Vilnius but other than that it was just perfect!
The rain didnt bother that much there, since we were bit tired of all the driving, excitement & new things plus there´s Akropolis, huge mall or shopping hell- depends on whom you talk to 😀

Via Baltica´s reputation really isnt the best. Some call it dangerous road.
Well, driving style is different than in Finland. It could be pretty wild!!
I have seen many close call situations and numerous vehicles in ditches.
Especially in Poland you can see also numerous crosses, flowers, figures of saints, statues and chapels on the sides of the roads: to commemorate a site where a person died.

Some say these roadside memorials are there to bring a good fortune and prevent accidents.
As mentioned the driving-style is different but in Poland it felt just little more crazy since some of them seems to have a thing what comes to overtaking.
They just need to pass your vehicle.
And they are pretty calm, there´s been many situations with approaching traffic that you notice there´s no room, even though you are on your lane but there´s two more cars coming side by side.. It´s been usually us to pull aside first..

They´ve made some parts of the road wider, so you can give some room easier but it´s still not really helping with 4 cars approaching you.. I saw an article that narrower streets would be actually safer cos wider lanes only encourage people to drive faster.
I dont think this person has driven on Via Baltica 😉
Jani is my trusted driver, very focused on the road, as you should there!
But still extra heart beats are something you get there every once in a while.
I dont have the license (yet!) but I dont think I ever want to drive there. Or could.
Jani wouldnt want that unless he has an alcohol level of 5 promille or above.
Half kidding!

Anyway, roads are better, of course there are still holes, pumps etc but there are a lot more those ”money was given by EU – signs” and comparing to 2011 some of the roads are like heaven on earth to drive (except the traffic). Just waiting when they will fix our roads in Finland!
Just 2015 we passed Estonian- Latvian border and it was awful!
We had our old car and that was really something! When we came back home, they had repaired it! Yippee!!
It feels like every other vehicle is a lorry so no wonder the tracks are like that!

Our old car had only 8cm ride height but we managed to pass those tracks, cobblestone streets and even the Tatra´s.. So if you wonder can your car make it there, just take a look at ours 😉
I think you´ll be just fine.

Even though there´s been huge improvement, you still got to stay focused!
Talking about those close call situations, saw a German camper got a hit by the truck.
They only lost their mirror and got some paint damage.
But I still remember the driver´s face, he was horrified.
There was one car in front of us & we had a safe distance, luckily!
I just saw some black pieces flying & then Jani hit the brake.
Nothing like that ever happened to us (knock, knock).

Of course a car low like that gets more damages than ”normal” ones, so after every trip we needed to fix/change some things.
Fuses got blown at Tatra´s when we drove away from the gypsy camp (one of my worst memories), got some speeding tickets and have got extra heart beats but other than those- we have been lucky!
Got some close call´s as well, on our way to Bratislava we had 130km/h, almost no traffic & suddenly the car in front of us did the panic brake because he almost passed his intersection.
Jani was able to switch the lane, if not we would have hit the other car bad cos there were no room&time to break..

Not only there´re crazy people, there might be some animals on the road or next to.
Not on highway though but am talking about those smaller villages.
There´s usually 30-50 km limit & there´s a reason for that; esp. in Poland you can find cows & chickens wandering around..

Latvia quickly became one of our favorite destinations. Only country we got speeding tickets & other fines (still knocking).
There´s been very nice cops so far- one came to shake Jani´s hand and was sorry about the fine and wishing great holiday despite that.
Visited Riga, the capital city first time on winter 2011, went to see hockey (KHL) and been back several times for mini/ long stay/ Easter break/ surprise-birthday holiday!
Went there for Easter also this year. Just thinking back how just a week ago was wandering there..
Oh am missing back!

Not only roads but countries has changed too!
There werent too many tourist back then, this Easter the city was packed, everywhere we went you heard finnish & saw other tourists as well.
But I think biggest change has been the currency. Most of them didnt want to let go of their Lats.
Latvia is still cheap for us to shop, eat, drink etc. but prices are rising, already did and they rise much faster than wages. I am little afraid what will the future be there.

Driving across Poland 2011 Jani said that he wont go back, ever. Period.
2012 we did just Latvia-Lithuania tour but 2013 we drove across Poland again & also 2015, 2016 as well & visited some new cities.
And now we have visited more Polish cities than cities in Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia or other countries we´ve been to, how funny is that 😀
So Poland isnt that bad after all! But there are dozens of road projects. I once started to calculate those, got way over twenty and then I couldnt anymore.. It´s just from one road work to another..

Of course you should reduce your speed so it takes more time.
For example Google Map tells it takes 5 hours from Suwalki to Lublin, but you should add 1-2 hrs more.
And good luck if you´re going to Warzaw. Once visited the centrum and it took 4 hrs to get out of there.
Dont know what was going on but the traffic was awful.
There´s ”new” road & you can avoid this centrum, as we do now.

Via Baltica, been there & done that several times, so I know what am talking about 😉

Via Baltica goes from Tallinn to Warzaw (not ending to Lithuanian border) and road E -67 actually continues all the way to Prague, Czech Rep.
That´s the part we´ve not driven yet.
Navigator is great there!
First time we had avoid road tolls cos thought those expensive, difficult and what ever.
Which amuses me now but I had old Nokia-phone + bad internet so didnt really want to use that..
Having iPhone makes everything so much easier!

What comes to those road tolls, they are not that bad!
Later we tried Katowice-Cracow road and it was less than few euros. Woow, what a smooth road!!
There are different charging – and collecting methods.
In my experience vehicles are charged per total distance driven in a defined area.
Tolls are usually collected at toll booths/gates after the journey, but you have to stop at one before you hit that smooth road, so dont worry, you shouldnt get there by accident.
And to make it a bit confusing, there are also vignettes in some countries and some countries use a combination.. But let´s get there later.

Few words about speed limits. There are cops running radars, a lot. But people warn about those usually. You cant do it in Finland (what a boring country) but if you see elsewhere somebody flashing their flights, you know there´s something going on. And it´s usually a radar.
Thanks to these people (esp. truck drivers) we have avoided some tickets..
Spasibo! Merci! Danke!

There are also radar speed signs, warning about the automat-control.
But the best has been other roadtrippers.
Am sure there´re ppl thinking ”that´s why there´re limits that you follow them” oh well good luck!
The traffic is really something else than for example in Finland.
And am not talking about those small roads.

I love those highways in Slovakia & also south Poland, where the roads are great and limits are 130-140 km and traffic is smooth. Some go there over 160 so that´s lil scary sometimes..
But also some funniest memories comes from there, if you happen to pass a local (esp. in Poland) they just need to overtake you once more, even though they´re driving an old, run-down car they just cant give up & when you let them pass – they have the best Gold medal face on 😀
This has happened cople of times- you just have to laugh at them but also give
a little respect 😉
But as I´ve mentioned you got to stay focused, keep calm & remember safe distance.

Couple more things: you dont have to pay road tolls if your vehicle is under 3500 kg and there are no vignettes on Via Baltica.
In Poland there are some road toll-roads, you can pay in zlotys, euros, pounds, dollars & some places accept also credit cards. My advice is to have small euro coins with you.
These roads in Poland are not the main roads. If you stay on Baltica you dont need to mind those.
If you continue from Warsaw to Slovakia like we did, you still avoid them.
You dont end up to those toll- roads by accident but if you somehow do, you´ll notice that since all those starts and end up from the booth.
So keep your eyes open, read the signs & keep some money with you 😉
(I couldnt find my zlotys so I have here a pic of Latvian lats)

I found this very useful list of paid roads in Poland.
I suggest you to double check the prices but at least you get a hunch how much are they.
These prices goes from few euros to almost twenty, it depends what´s the distance.
If you go by a motorcyckle (or bike as I prefer to say), the price is usually half except A1 and A2 Swiecko-Konin.

A1 Rusocin (Gdańsk) – Nowa Wieś (Toruń) 29,90 PLN
A2 Świecko (DE/PL) – Konin 75,00 PLN
A2 Konin – Stryków (Łódź) 9,90 PLN
A4 Bielany Wrocławskie (Wrocław) – Sośnica (Gliwice) 16,20 PLN
A4 Katowice – Kraków 20,00 PLN

Neighbouring countries, except Germany has vignettes.
I will make a new post about those.

Must have:
– First aid kit
– Fire extinguisher (not in Poland)
– reflective safety vests
– reflectorised triangle

Other things to check and good to have greencard, car insurance + insurance for yourself.
In some countries there´s double or even triple deductible in case of damage or theft.
If you dont own your car (family car, owned by financing company etc.) you also need some kinda export licence.

In Finland, Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania you can use both studded and non-studded tyres.
Winter tires are not required by law but it is highly recommended to use winter tires in Poland.
The studded tires are strictly forbidden.
It´s recommended to carry snow chains when driving in Poland in winter condition, especially in mountainous areas.
Remember, however, that the use of snow chains is restricted only to roads with snow and/or ice cover.
If you are going to travel there during the winter double check the rules & periods.

Few other things
– bigger gas-stations have free wifi
– toilets can be found as well, but they are not always free- there´s someone to collect the money or it´s automatic. Again have small coins with you (fee could be anything from 0,10€ to 1€).
– 112 works everywhere in the Eu.
– If you are on a motorway there are roadside phones + emergency exits with usually the roadside markers to tell you in which directions is the nearest one.

I use my mobile´s internet on the road if there´s no wifi available. Usullay my phobe bill has been quite reasonable.
Past years it was more expensive in Poland and once Jani ended up having 50-60€ extra billing cos got email, a newsletter (from record company who didnt choose them then :D) and we thought it might be hotel that we tried to find but it wasnt -luckily he has employer-paid phone (thanx for being so fair Jartsa!).
After that happened I started to shut down all the needles apps, now I only have Chrome, Bank, Maps, Booking.com and Facebook (and now Instagram). That´s all u need hahahhaha

There are quite many gas-stations & other resting place on a roadside, sometimes it feels there are just one after another and then none.
We have had few so called ”close call situations” with gas, taking small(er) roads and noticing the low fuel level warning light is on & noticing there´s nothing but field both sides, no houses, no gas station sign on navigator, getting darken & realizing you forgot to fill up the auxiliary fuel tank.. That was somewhere in the middle of Lithuania (and we didnt learn the first time..)
If you´re just taking VB- then you´ll be fine.

Gas stations near border are more expensive for sure but gas is still cheaper than in Finland, last time it was just about 1€.
You can find there many Neste/Hesbruger combos, and yes, even though Hesburger is Finnish, we´ve eaten Hese-food, cos they´ve better burgers, but also size and price is better 😉

Hope this wasnt too long (am working on it) and can give some help if you are planning a driving vacation through Baltic.
Dont be too scared to go. Just stay focused, keep calm, dont rush, sleep well.
After all road trips are the best, you get to see so much more, places you wouldnt get to visit otherwise.

And you have total freedom to choose where to go & when.
Plus you can buy as much as you want to – no need to weight your luggage the night before in panic!!

It feels like you would never get bored of this road, no matter how many times you go!
Just seeing those familiar places makes me smile!
I love going back to places where I have spent a lot of time in the past.
And I always find something new from each places.
Been to many cities and I have to make own posts about those- cos this one is super long already!!

PS
We´re planning to visit Lake Balaton this summer, we have already booked a place to stay for one week & those other 2 weeks- who knows!
Havent made any plans yet & that´s the best way to travel.
Last year we ended up to Maribor, Slovenia and that was amazing!
So I hope after September I get to tell you how are the roads & traffic there now, has there been many changes in one year?!

PPS
I will look for better traffic pics, these looks kinda lame 😀

PPS
Just a quick note:
I just want to make sure, we go there safely, we go along the traffic, sometimes might do little speeding but nothing much/bad, we might have helped some ppl as well but not those who go over speeding and can cause problems.
If you havent been there, keep your opinions till you´ve been where we´ve been 😉

Estonia (Tallinn – Pärnu) stuff

Estonia, Estonia
Have been there so many, many, many times so I don’t really think that´s even traveling anymore.
So going to Tallinn is like going to shopping mall- in deed!!
Nowadays going to Tallinn is either going to shopping or drive through.

My first trips to Tallinn were years back, my grandma took me with and we went to the ferry and jumped to the bus and went to Mustamäen tori! That was so exciting!
She bought food and I bought cd´s and some clothes and chewing gum!!
U heard me 😀 They didn’t and still don’t sell those good gums here.. though now am more careful what I eat, i don’t buy any of those aspartame – shi*t anymore!
Luckily few years back got known what kind of poison that is and didn’t first want to believe but after quitting that and seen the results, i don’t want to eat or drink anything that has that! and I also suggest you to check..

So I did some travels with my granny, my first trips to Tallinn I had with her.
Good old times 😉
Unfortunately my grandma isn’t here anymore so I can share some stories:
I was underage when I took those trips with her but when she wanted to have a drink at the bar and so she ordered some for me too, when the bartender asked my age ma granny said I know how old she is and I want to buy her a drink and they sold it!! Vodka and juice and umbrella 😉
Also I had a backbag and she bought some liqueur, vodka etc and cos she couldn’t bring all by herself I was carrying some of the bottles. And I didn’t think there´s nothing wrong 🙂
I told my mom years later about those and she was amused!!
My mummi (grandma) was quite a girl!! I have some of her pics now and she had old money from different countries and no doubt had great stories..
I wish I was older when she had the 1st stroke and got aphasia. I was only 21 and didn’t ”care” much about ”old ppl” stories and history.
I miss her a lot!! It´s almost 8 years she past away (January) she had her last stroke on X-mas Day, that was last day she recognized me and the necklace she had given me..
Also the same day our family friends dog got puppies and spoke about those at the funeral & one of them came to my family. That´s a whole new story though.

Besides those trips I also took a trip with my friend.
Cos we weren’t major yet, we could´t take a real cruise so we had to take one ferry to Tallinn and stay night over in a hotel and come back with different ferry, from Muuga.
Well we stayed at Viru and had the room high up there!!
One of the few memories: sitting at the window having a cigarette & a drink, looking at the city.
We also were so touched when the hotel screen welcomed us by names –
so easy to please, lol 😀
And we had company of Viru Valge.. ended up to a night club and next day felt horrible- sitting at the bus first and then the boat..
We had Pringles and soda enjoying them on the ferry´s floor.. huh!
I don’t think I have taken a shot of Viru Valge after that & it´s sure been awhile..
Next morning we still had some left of the 80 % & of course didn’t want to waste it but couldn’t also legally bring to Finland so we had to figure out how to get it here & we got the way- but I keep my silence.. 😉

I do have some pics of the trip somewhere in those boxes but there is also a picture captured my head where we are giving that bottle a drive on the hotels corridor – putting that bottle to the trolley. Great memories!!
So if you mention Viru Hotel +/or Viru Valge that is a way to get me laugh 😀
but also to feel lil nasty- still 😀

After that hotel trip, I have been there few times just for a day cruise (24, 20 hr, hockey, x-mas etc.) but enough of those, we all have done those, right?!

Then those several drive-throughs to Latvia, Lithuania etc
People say Tallinn is south Helsinki, and that is quite true.
When we drive to Riga and elsewhere it´s like being in Finland..
When we hit the border and hit Ainazi and Neste/Hesburger combo- it feels like going home & I don’t mean that gas-station and fast-food LOL
Same way going back home, that is the sign that holiday is over even though we would have few days left to stay in Pärnu. Funny, ha!

Pärnu is nice but there really isn’t much to do, it´s more like to just be and relax, go to the terrace and have a drink and eat & shop for sure 🙂
Steffanis pizza´s are great and that Tiramisu.. omg!!
Also what I love there are those garlic bread sticks.. they also sell those at Arena Riga – watching hockey, having a beer & those gb-sticks.. so yummy!!

First time we ended up there on may/june few years back, kinda spring break.
Some weeks before that our car´s bumper got stolen.. not kidding!
It was so nicely done so it was someone who really knew what they were doing and it was assignment for sure.
Luckily we got Jani´s dad car so we were able to go! Memorable 1st Pärnu visit am saying!
But it was good!! It was so warm and sunny and lovely so we stayed one more night, happily both of our bosses said yes for one extra day!
The beach is amazing! Clear, white, smooth sand, no trees and just bright sun!!
It depends where u stay, beach is not near, we took the car there and had trouble to find a parking place, well there were some free spots but no machines.. only mobile pay & it didn’t work.
There were some ”hidden” parking lots on the other side of the road with the real machine, so yippii, off to the beach!!

That year we also had one night stand / September 2013 road trip.
We have had great weather during the tour de Europe but I remember coming closer, it was so cold and rainy and we had the extra heater on our room, but we wanted to have Steffanis pizza so bad so we went there & even ate outside with heaters and blankets..
well it´s a summer holiday, what can u do 😉

This years holiday we also stayed but we took apartment instead.
And it was nice one with nice money 🙂

Only few ”criterion” we have, to have a (private) parking place for our car, own bathroom and wifi if possible and of course a fridge is no harm.

Lower budget is the key but still I don’t book us the lowest ones.
I know some of our places are kinda places some ppl would never stay.. 🙂
Even though they are not crappy or anything!
Just don’t want to spend a tons of money for a luxurious room/apartment where we are about to sleep and eat some some & not spend a lot of time..
I rather spend my few euros to few trips than for a one fancy one.

This Sunny Sunday- apartment was close enough to Pärnus ”old town”. We also had gated yard to park our car- it was small yard so lil tricky but we made it 😀
I had few places to check and do some shopping on my own, while Jani stayed at our place to finish his school report- which he managed and got the diploma!! Yippee!!
Unfortunately there were no Terra Nova anymore.. I was so looking forward to buy some clothes!! That was a huge disappointment!!
A second one.. we didn’t meant to visit Pärnu this time cos wanted to stay in Riga!!
I checked before we left if there are any hockey games yet and there wasn’t- instead they had some Basketball tournament.. no ring,ring on my or his head, even though we passed Riga while heading south I told him there are no games cos the ball-tournament..
If we would have thought, maybe we would have found a room to stay.. but we didn’t check until few weeks later in Warsaw.
Only few 1000 $ & up fancy rooms for 3-4 night- so guess twice..
Am not a big fan of basketball so didn’t think that would be that popular.. LOL
Good thing is, we got to relax with nice place in Pärnu, found good Georgian redwine, different cheeses and crackers & enjoyed!! It´s so cheap outside Finland!!
And of course, had to buy a cake!!
They have good strawberry & chocolate ones!!
Plus I was able to save a lots of money, since I didn’t get to shop..
so with those money i can pay my next trip 😉

But don’t get me wrong Estonia is ok.
It surprised me last time, when we went to do some shopping.
But had some hours extra time to go around so before heading to eat & do our shopping, we decided to visit the Old Town, for the first time-really.

We went to Kiek in de Kök (the Cannon Tower)
Views were nice!! You could see the town and the sea and also peek to ppl´s kitchen 😉
They had also exhibition of old weaponry since years back, miniature of the fort, old-timer ”punishment” weapon devices, old guns etc.
They also have a cafe up there, but that was closed then.
On every floor there´s someone to look for the area but they also can tell you some stories about those articles. You can also book a guide for whole tour.

After Kiek-Köök tower we meant to go and buy some Total Flames cigars but there wasn’t, even though that was on the list 🙁 But we got some other cigars! Good ones but lil disappointing cos been hunting those Total Flames quite enough.. Of course we should have checked the list before left the tower cos there was a shop near that.. you learn ha!
Those TF we were hunting also in St.Petersburg.. but that trip is another story!
After some low-carb bread shopping and few Red Bulls we headed to Rocca Al Mare – to eat and visit Prisma 🙂

Found this burger place few trips back and been eating there while visiting Tallinn. Pretty much only place we know there but those burgers are like TGI Fridays (in Riga) so yummy!!
Am talking about Mack Bar-B-Que! J had Hunger-Tamer-double-burger and I had normal!
They come with coleslaw & also we took some fries and house lemonade- so fresh and not full of sugar, I had one with mint&strawberries & J took blueberry! Excellent choices!!
You pretty much pay the same price than in Finland you pay at Mc Donald oslt. but this was a tasty meal and you don’t leave hungry!! Also the service is good!! If you go to Rocca Al Mare and are about to eat; try Mack Bar-B-Que!!

There is also one visit to Tallinn- we have actually stayed night(s) over.
That was 2014 and Super Rally!! Unfortunately am running out of time and I need to find some pics too so I will post about that later!!

Few pics from Pärnu- spring break may/june 2013

And some from Tallinn- fresh pics- from shopping trip winter 2015

That bird, he/she was there like posing with ppl and sure well fed 😉
That was so funny, tilting the head and moving to ppl who may have some food 😀
Birdie was also at the tower, most pics taken from the tower, nice views ha?

Niin ja muutama sana suomeksi:

Eesti/Viro kuinka haluatte:

Siellä on tullut käytyä niin monta kertaa että sitä en osaa matkailuksi mieltää- en vaikka siellä viettäisi muutaman yön paluumatkalla kotiin muualta, on vähän kuin jo kotona.

Tallinnastahan sanotaan että se on kuin etelä-Helsinki, no totta.
Suomenkielen lisäksi meininki on muutenkin hyvin kotimainen.

Tallinna
Sinne me mennään kun halutaan shopata edullisesti (verrattuna Suomen hintoihin) ja toinen kun ajetaan läpi mennessä muualle.
Näitä drive-through reissuja on tullut useampi kymmen, monet niistä suuntautuneet Riikaan, osa pidemmälle (kesälomat) ja ollaan jopa vietetty jonkin sortin kevätlomaa Pärnussa (en muista kyllä miksi ja miten päädyttiin).
Mutta pidin kyllä Pärnusta.
Siellä ei ihan hirveesti tekemistä ole, hieno ranta ja vanha kaupunki.
Aikaa relata.
Me oltiin 2013 kevätlomalla Riia Maantien varrella hotlassa (samoin takastullessa sillon kesäreissulla 2013) joten sieltä ei ihan lyhyttä matkaa rantsulle ollut, autolla mentiin.. Parkkipaikat sillon oli jotain mobiilimaksullisia ja ihmeteltiin missä normi maksuautomaatit..
Löytyi tien toiselta puolelta onneksi vähän piilossa normi parkki ja päästiin beachille!
Valkosta, sileää hiekkaa ja sininen meri! Hienoa oli!! Kannattaa käydä. Noihin ihaniin pitkiin, valkosiin rantoihin ihastuin eka kerta noilla Latvian reissuilla.. Huikeita!!
PS
Hotlat muun muassa monet vuokraa pyöriä (tai ainakin tietää paikan josta saa) ja se on oiva tapa kierrellä Pärnuta, mennä rannalle etc.

Pärnussa tuli käpättyä siis suht paljon, ihmettelemässä vanhaa kaupunkia, terassilla of course ja syömässä hyvää ruokaa!! Stefanin pizzeriaan oli pakko mennä kun sitä kehuttiin ja olihan se!! Isot, mehevät pizzat! Eipä jäänyt nälkä.
Ois melkeen riittänyt yksi pizza meille kahdelle!!
Ja se on jo hyvin!! Tiramisu.. sitäkin oli pakko kokeilla, oi joi!!
Entäpä ne valkosipuliset voileipätikut.. rasvaa & hiilaria- pakko olla hvyää 😉
Semmonen setti ja bisse/Somersby kylkeen niin oih!!
Ja kakut?? Siellä on ihania kakkuja kaupassa + kahviloissa ja maksaa paljon vähemmän kun täällä, kokeilkaas, suklaa ja mansikka pala, ihan super!!

Ei käyty siellä toisella puolella ollenkaan (kait sillä virallinen nimi on 🙂 ) tai no ajettiin autolla tullessa läpi.
Sillon oli silta kiinni/hidastettu ja iso osa kaduista suljettu kun yhdellä pää-kävekaduista paloi vanha puutalo-hotelli..
Vielä samana iltana oli sama hotla Bookingissa varattavissa ja ilmoitin sitten sinne että hei- ootteko tietoisia.. ettei kukaan tuu sinne ja ei oo sitä majapaikkaa.
Noi vanhat puutalot on hienoja mutta just ton takia en oikeen tykkää niissä yöpyä..

Tallinnassa on tullut käytyä niin monet kerrat kaiken maailman risteilyillä niin silti se yllätti!
Käytiin viime shoppaus reissulla loka/marraskuussa Kiek in de Kök (kurkkaa keittiöön) tornissa ja maisemat oli hienot!!
Siellä on myös näyttely, vanhoja aseita, kidutusvälineitä yms. Tosi mielenkiintonen.
Joka kerroksessa on työntekijä, muutamassa kerroksessa istui niin hiljaa nurkassa etten edes tajunnut että siellä on joku..
Onneksi huomattiin ajoissa, ennen kun J päästi henget puhumaan 😉
Sieltä saa myös oppaan tai kyllä ne ”hiljaiset” työntekijätkin kertoo jos on kysyttävää!!
Ylimmässä kerroksessa on kahvio, oli kylläkin kiinni mutta hieno paikka!!

Vieressä on myös se Neitsyt-torni, sielläkin oli porukkaa terassilla!
Vaikka oli vähän vilponen. Sinne ei nyt kavuttu, oli aikamoinen kiipeily tonne Keittiö-torniin, välitykset tälläselle töppöjalalle oli vähän kun kunnon jumppaa 😀
Saapahan ainakin syödä burgerin hyvällä omalla tunnolla! hih 😉
Mutta tuolta Neitsyt-tornistakin saa ruokaa & kuulemma hyvää. Kesällä varmaan hieno!!
Oltiin jo päätetty et kun torneiltu niin ajetaan ettii sikareita (ei saatu Total Flamesia mutta muutama muu hyvä) ja sitten Rocca Al Maareen- Prisman kautta syömääm.
Roccass on se mieltsin hyvä burgeripaikka Mack Bar-B-Que!
J otti Hunger-Tamer-double-burgerin ja ahneuksissani (aina) nälissäni (aina) meinasin ottaa saman.. mutta monista vahingoista viisastuneena otin normaalin!!
Ja sekin oli loistava!!!! Ja ”talon oma lemonade” ihanan iso, ei sokerilla täyteetn töpätty ja oikean makuinen!!
Kesäloma makuja.. ikävä Bratislavaan jne 😀

Ko. burgeripaikka löydettiin muutama matka takaperin kun käytiin siinä eläintarhassa ja autonäyttelyssä Roccan toisella puolen.
Melkeen ainoa paikka joka Tallinnassa tiedetään ja jonka burgerit on kuin TGI Fridayn Riiassa.. niin hyvää!! Suussa sulavaa ja ne perunapalat ja coleslaw.. Yks mulle heti,kiitos!! 🙂
Ja hei samalla hinnalla kun mäkkiruokaa täällä mutta oikeasti maukasta ja ei jää nälkä, eikä tuu nälkä yhden röyhtäsyn jälkeen..
Jos eksyt Roccan suuntaan ja oot nälkänen- kokeileppa Mack-Bar-B-Queta!!
(PS jos on vkonloppu/joulu tai muu kunnon shoppailupvä, saattaa olla jonoa hieman sisälle mutta palvelu on ystävällistä ja homma toimii nopeasti)

Yllä olevat kuvat english tekstissä on Pärnun / Tallinnan reissuilta. Kuvia on matkoilta satoja lisää ja täytys käydä kamera, vanha tietokone, uus kone ja puhelin etc läpi..
Homma joka jostain syystä lykkääntyy.. saan yhen kuvan sieltä täältä pois vaikka samasta ois +5 eri otosta..
Ihan kuten en osaa kirjoittaa lyhyesti, en osaa valita kuvista niitä nro 1:ä ja tehdä hommaa tiiviisti.. SORRY 😀

PPS
En koskaan muista että olen ollut Tallinnassa yötä enemmän kuin kerran (se Viru kerta)
vaan olenhan.. Super Rally 2014!!
Mistähän lie johtuu ettei sitä meinaa muistaa hahhahahhahahahhaha 😀
Hieno tapahtuma, upeita bändejä, hyvää ruokaa ja juomaa……

A quick list

I try to post about the places I have been to asap but no promises 😀
Just a quick list for those who are planing to visit the same places & might need some help – feel free to ask, por favore, I´ll do my best to answer 😉

So the quick list by car many times & almost all around

– Latvia
– Lithuania
– Poland
– Slovakia
– Czech Rep. (only a day, drive through so that´s not that well known)
– Hungary

By plane – but also took a local bus and door to door there…
– Serbia
– Bosnia-Herzegovina (BIH)

By ferry to St.Petersburg, Russia
also those well known Stockholm, Sweden & Tallinn, Estonia trips LOL

Other trips than day cruises
– Germany
– Greece
– Turkey
–  France
– The States
– Sweden

Of course I might have some tips travelling in Finlandia… 😉
And not to forget KHL games!! Esp. Riga!!

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