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Baltic States

Deutsche Version

In fours on trip
In fours on trip
Also this time the destination of our journey was determined by the Unica (Union intenationale du cinema non professionel) in 2001 in Tallinn. In fours with Annemarie and Reiner Urban as well as Martin Kochloefl we started on a tour to the Baltic States and visited four European capitals (Villnius, Riga, Tallinn and on a oneday short trip Helsinki) 6 hotels in four countries in one vacation. This would be a personal record. We had absolutely our reflections. Cold weather, many chatting, bad road conditions, crime, linguistic problems to anticipate bad hotels and so on, around it all our prejudices quickly vanishing in air.

And Reiner wanted that I draw no short pants...
In August warm weather with temperatures of 20 to 25 Degrees Centigrade announced, we had in 14 days approximately 4 rainy days and there was practically no chatting.
The road conditions are very good, you reeach your destination faster than in Germany. Little traffic over country, less trucks, only a few cities and kilometer long, dead straight and flat streets for lonely regions. On streets over country one makes headway very well, if one can drive 90 km/h, one also comes 90 kms in an hour, because only approximately 2 small cities are to be driven through. The streets are always tarred almost, however very much unevenly. Once we went on a grit runway, but also this was in very good condition. The cost of petrol in in all countries without exception with approx. 1,35 DM per liter. The speed were very consistently controled. We had approximately 10 radar checks in 14 days. One is warned by complaisant vehicles with headlight flasher, if somebody comes against. The police is rather laizy, the check points are approx. 2 to 3 kms before and after a city. The controls were never more far away from this places.
Youth Style
Fantastic youth style facade in Riga/Latvia
With English you come through very well, partly it is also spoken German. The hotels have entirely a high level (western standard), however are expensive. We had booked most hotels in the approach about a German travel agency. Only in the smaller cities we had to book ourselves. But Internet and then booking in English by fax also were no problem. Baltic States are good connected to the Internet and in this report are many links included. Everywhere as a breakfast there was buffet with neat choice. The level was also mixed, just like at home. The number one was the Hotell Rehe in Tartu / Estonia with sauna in the room!!
An magazine serie supplies here good information with itself ´... In your Pocket´ names. Also, for example, ´Riga in your Pocket´, Kaunas, Kleipeda, Vilnius or Tallinn and supplies a street plan, a general map and hotel overview as well as information to discos, nightlife and sights. Some hotels were complete, but I think a journey without previous reservation should make no problems. Credit cards are accepted, exchange of money DM in national currency never was a problem, however you should exactly look at the rates of exchange. Crime does not strike negatively, we feeled actually always relatively safely.
Hill of the crosses in Lithuania
Hill of the crosses in Lithuania
A little bit, what was a surprise, are the differences of these countries. Completely different currencies of 3:1 (3 marks to 1 Lats) in Latvia to 1:8 in Estonia. Estonia and Lithuania do not take part of daylight saving, so you has with every border crossing a time change of one hour. Actually border crossings last very long. From Latvia to Estonia in position 9 we used up approx. 45 minutes, one controlled very exactly, license, engine number and so on. They have constructed completely new frontier stations. Certain articles have clear differences in prices. So rented cars are the most cheapest in Lithuania, however with Hertz you can go in the other countries and rent even oneway. We flew to Vilnius in Lithuania and departure in Riga in Latvia. The car rented from Vilnius to Riga was no problem, only a low impact became payable. The cheaper price in Lithuania more than compensated this. Mobile phone reception exists almost everywhere, however the prices sway very much. Latvia is very expensive here with 5 to 7 marks per minute, Estonia cheapest. Absolutely helps to get a view before, there are several net operators per country. SMS is usually the cheapest way.
Castle in Trakai/Lithuania
Castle in Trakai/Lithuania

There are many sights, parks and fantastic renovated churches. Beyond the big cities you are usually alone and you come to an open-air museum in August and your car is the only one on the parking lot. Nevertheless something is offered and it's very intresting. Many travellers seem to be by the bus on the way. For the physical well-being is also cared very good, we have had dinner always very well and reasonably. Only once we have advised in a tourist's case, that is the others, I had made my own decision for this day. The restaurant is the Olde Hanse in Tallinn / Estonia, a tourist trap with ladies in national costumes, but the shop does not support what ladies promise. We were another time in very expensive (also for German situation) pizzeria in Riga / Latvia. However, dinner was very good. I had a pizza Quattro Stagioni, besides, one could choose for four quarters of the pizza in each case another, a quarter of Regina, a quarter of Margeritha and so on. You also find national kitchen in big number to good prices and very tasty.

Single reports of the countries:

Lithuania Latvia Estonia Helsinki

Result: We all were surprised very much positivly by 3 very different countries. Again we were surprised by breathtaking sights, as for example "the hill of the crosses" in Lithuania. Lithuania was the best for us, because tourist not yet as "spoiled" as Riga (by ferry) or Tallinn by the Finns, who are also to much for the Estonians. Very recommendable.

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Published 02/27/2004
Last update 02/27/2004
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