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Road Tripping: Warsaw - Tallinn (Part 1)
Mary Lasprilla   

Road Tripping: Warsaw - Tallinn (Part 1)

It's been a month since I was in Tallinn with Luis. I'll try to tell the story as lively as possible in spite of not having the memories fresh enough. You can follow the story looking at the pictures in http://picasaweb.google.com/mary.lasprilla/MaryInEstonia
Warning: the impressions that I had during this trip are mostly negative so if you think you will feel offended don't read it.

It started on January the 2nd saying goodbye to the apartment in Podwale 29 and to the city because somehow we felt as if this was going to be Luis' last time in Warsaw in a long time. After a proper farewell at 14:30 we headed towards the Train Central Station of Warsaw to leave our luggage and spend a couple of hours walking around the Golden Terraces (Zlote Tarasy) before taking our bus from Warszawa Zachodnia Bus Station. The journey was going to be 18 hours long! So we decided to equip ourselves with lots of food, some movies and magazines.

To avoid getting lost trying to get to the bus station and missing the bus we decided to go earlier, make sure we found the departure lane and go back to the shopping center. The place was easy to find but it was good to had decided to stay in Zlote Tarasy making some time instead of waiting there because the bus station had nothing to offer except a couple of places to have a coffee and a snack, a couple of drunk men (as usual!) and a crazy guy spitting out all around the place...he looked like a priest blessing the area but instead of using holy water he was using his saliva!

The time rushed off and at 7:00 p.m. we were already boarding the bus. We started moving and after some 20 minutes the bus made the first stop and the bus driver announced something loudly in Polish from which I only caught the word Papierosy which means Cigarettes. Oh yeah! There was a gas station. Nothing special to do there except SMOKING! We thought What the hell?! Are they really stopping just to have a cigarette?! And yes! That was all about. All the passengers who smoke and the bus driver went out to the parking lot to have a f****** cigarette! With -7 degrees outside or so! And the rest of us simply had to wait (!!!!).

The comparisons started...just for fun. Nothing else. We thought that even though we came from a third world country where most of the services don't work properly and everything goes with the flow the thing this time was different. We were thinking: In Venezuela buses usually have programmed stops in places where everyone can do something: go to the bathroom, eat something, rest, make some phone calls (and have a cigarette!) The number of stops depends on how long the journey is going to be and are done after a considerable period of time running in. Here they just stopped 20 minutes after starting the trip in the middle of nowhere in a gas station that had nothing except cars and people who wanted to smoke! Dear Lord! Is these people mad or what?! Anyway...people had their so loved cigarettes and the journey continued. Reading a bit of this and a bit of that, talking about everything and nothing, watching Pan's Labyrinth and having some sleep the first 8 hours had passed. The bus had already stopped a couple more times so people could have their cigarettes. We thought if this is going to keep the driver awake we better be happy that he is doing it. At 3:00 a.m. we realized there were not so many churches on the way anymore and that the language in the billboards, shops and bus stops started showing some little dots and other stuff in the vowels. That was not Polish, for sure! So we had reached Lithuania. The bus stopped again, this time to switch drivers quickly. On the way I was fascinated with all the snow around. A thick white layer was covering everything. It was beautiful! In spite of the trees being so brown and naked and the sky being so dark it was naturally artistic. It was great! (and probably it was also damn cold out there!).

Anyway, after more sleeping and movies and eating and talking at 7:00 a.m. we were in Riga. Once there we had a surprise: the bus was going to leave us there and we had to wait for an hour until another bus going to Tallinn would pick us all. There's no option so we got down the bus and once out there I felt it was worse than what I had thought: IT WAS FREEEEEEZING!!! COLD!!! I felt like I was inside a FREEZER!! THE NORTH POLE!! What have I done?! Forgiiive me!!! I was shaking! Begging! Gosh! Cold! Damn cold! So cold!! We are going to die here!!! And then...

Hey Mary! Take it easy! Look around you...people is living normally here...OK? Is just a little bit cold...I mean, too fucking cold. But yes, people can live with this kind of weather! So we rushed to the bus station building and after a while my neurons defrosted and I came back to my senses. While waiting for the next bus I kept wondering Where is the European beauty here? Where is the Europe that I fell in love with the first time I came? All the faces around were so serious. So boring. So dark. So Russian so Latvian so Lithuanian. Sooooo dark. Sooooo boring. Sooooo eastern Europe :| I mean, they are hard all around Europe but then the white color of winter or the green colors of spring and the fresh air or the yellows of the sun when it shines and the nice buildings and places and the order help give this life and color and makes it the greatest place in the world before my eyes. But here everything was different. This was the other Europe. The one that I did not know.

I did not want to tell Luis but I could not avoid thinking that I was not going to find anything special there in Estonia except his own presence. And I think in was reflected in my face because he even asked me if everything was OK. I think the short minutes in the cold had frozen my positive spirit. I forgot of thinking how lucky I was of being in a spot of the world that I would not have dream of being in a year ago! I was making my dream come true: I was traveling around the world! But that's what it was before my eyes: a cold, dark, boring place!

After an hour and a half our next bus finally came. The sun was rising (it was 8:30 a.m. and yes...it was just rising!). The trip continued. When the bus started moving I could see in the city of Riga how many scars Communism had left around. All this horrible squared gray boring buildings. A big river and a tall TV aerial were the only signs of beauty and modernism that I could spot. The rest was more of the same. The trams and bus colors where boring. The cars were boring. The advertisements were boring. Everything was boring. And for the rest of the journey the only nice thing was the thick layer of snow that was covering everything and the sun shinning making everything look bright.

When we reached Estonia I thought Wow, even the flag is boring: black, blue and white. I do not mean to offend Estonians or other Eastern European citizens. There are great things about these countries that I wish my country would have. I mean there are many reasons why I have decided to come here... But when it comes to colors and simple things I think that South America rules the roost (and maybe Indian from what Eliza and others say...).

And now, talking about the nice things about Estonia Internet innovation is one of the best. And having wi-fi Internet access everywhere for me was amazing! Just for fun I tried to connect while still being on the bus and it worked :D There was great signal and it was free! And this I could find it almost anywhere while I was there.

When we reached Tallinn it was 1:00 p.m. Estonian time (12:00 p.m. in Warsaw) and I was still fighting with myself to open my mind to the beauty of the place...
On the next part I will talk a bit about the places I got to know in Tallinn, language, food, people and the city itself.


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