As it’s been a while since my last post on this site, I figured I should make one about what has happened over the year and a half. As you can see, I’ve done some visual changes to the site, as well as functional. The last post was about my trip to the West Midlands in April 2019, I’ve gone on a total of 4 trips since then. In this post, I will be writing briefly about each of them. In the future, I might make more in-depth posts on some of them.
I went on a class trip to Russia, which took place from June 12 to 16. We visited St. Petersburg, Moscow and Pskov. I don’t have much to say about this trip, other than that I won’t want to do something like that again. We were under supervision of the teachers and guides for almost all of the trip, and as someone who prefers to independently explore new places it wasn’t exactly my jam. Still though, it was nice to visit some of the common sights in the three cities, and also to ride the sleeper trains between cities.
USA & Canada
This trip was without a doubt the highlight of the year 2019. I flew off to New York City on June 18, less than 48 hours after returning from Russia, and from there took a train direct to Washington DC, where I stayed for one night. DC had been on my bucket list for years and I was hoping to include it in my first trip to North America in 2017, but I ended up doing it in 2019 instead.
In the capital city of the United States of America I visited the capitol building, where the Congress sits. I was also hoping to visit the White House, but they weren’t taking in visitors at that date. Additionally, I visited the Newseum and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.
On the same night I started making my way north up to the coast of Lake Erie. I took a Megabus coach to New York City, where I connected to another Megabus service, which I took as far as Buffalo. My friend Justin would meet me there along with his boyfriend Tyler. I had visited Justin before, 2 years prior to this trip, and we had only talked online through Facebook and forums in the 2 years prior to that.
I stayed at his place for one night, and he showed me around West New York. This is something I otherwise would have never seen, so I definitely appreciate being able to see that part of the US. The day after that, about an hour after Justin’s house lost power, all 3 of us drove to Toronto to visit the Canada’s Wonderland theme park. This was one of my favourite parts of the trip, as was the case on my previous trip to America. Tyler unfortunately isn’t a huge fan of roller coasters, so he didn’t quite enjoy it as much. We stayed two nights in the suburbs around Toronto and drove to New York City in the morning.
We had hoped to arrive in NYC before 3, so we would have time to check in to our Airbnb, unpack and catch a subway train to Manhattan. Unfortunately, we were heavily delayed due to traffic, so we missed a tour of the Tenement Museum that we had booked prior. Fortunately, they were able to reschedule it for the day after, and we were still able to go to the top floor of the Rockefeller centre to see the New York City skyline.
We stayed another two nights in New York City and visited all the common tourist attractions: the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Ripley’s Believe it or not, 9/11 memorial & museum. What I remember the most from those days is buying a new phone at almost midnight, saving about 100€ from its price in Estonia.
In the year 2019, the European Union ran a programme called “DiscoverEU”, which was to provide Interrail passes for people who just turned 18. Since I had turned 18 only a month or so before the turn of the year, I was able to apply along with a few of my friends. We were accepted and made plans, but due to personal reasons everyone but me was unable to come. So I replanned my trip, and visited the UK, France, and Finland to make good use of the pass I was provided. The reason for this unusual choice of countries will soon be clear.
This trip began with a flight to London Stansted airport, and just like I did when I visited West Midlands, my friend Andrew met me at Tottenham Hale station, and we went to his place in southwest London from there, where I stayed the next 4 nights. Unlike most other trips I had done, I took a more spontaneous approach to this one. I rode some trains, visited the East of England, met Andrew’s friend Rhys, rode the bikes in London with them, and went to Wales with Andrew to ride some unusual trains. Those parts were all fun. I also visited Paris in France by Eurostar, since I had made a reservation for that train already as part of my previous plans, so I just booked a return leg in the evening. Paris was rather boring without anything planned, and I later realised I could’ve gone to a lot more places. Being on foot for 12 hours didn’t help either.
4 days after my arrival in London, I left Andrew’s place and boarded a plane once again, but not to Tallinn as usual, but to the Finnish city of Turku, where my step brother lives. I stayed at his apartment for two nights, I met with some of his friends and played Super Smash Brothers, and after that the two of us went back to Estonia together. Overall, this trip was a good conclusion to the summer of 2019.
In late 2019, after visiting Hamburg on other errands, I thought it’d be a good idea to see more of Germany, and just how good their train network is. Little did I know I timed it really well, returning to Estonia just before March 2020. My goal during this trip was to visit as many cities & towns in Germany as possible to see where I could go on a more detailed trip, and buying another Interrail pass was the perfect way to do this.
I booked myself an Airbnb in Berlin, where I would return to every night, after visiting a different city each day. First day after landing was Munich, followed by Köln, Duisburg and Düsseldorf, after which was Dresden and on the last day I toured Berlin itself. Due to the layout of this trip I could spend very little time in each city, but I still liked the trip overall. Next time I go to Germany I will likely be spending more time in the Rhein-Ruhr area, which I liked the most, and also visit Frankfurt that I couldn’t fit into my plans this time.
Helsinki – a sign of hope
In July 2020 it was looking that international travel was a real possibility again, so I booked myself a day trip to Helsinki on the 21st to satisfy my urge. Once again, very well timed. As was the case with Germany I spent a lot of time on trains and stations taking photos and recording, and visited a few shopping centres and tourist attractions too. Even though my trip would be boring compared to what most people would’ve done in the 7 hours I had, it was enjoyable for me to leave Estonia once again and spend time in another country.
At the time of writing international travel looks very unlikely and irresponsible, so I haven’t scheduled anything yet. I do have some rough ideas, but no timeframe for them. In the meantime, I will be saving up more money for amazing trips once they’re possible. I’m also hoping to have more time to work on this website and write content that I’ve been putting off. Any suggestions are welcome.