Realizing that it’s going to take forever if I blog about each day, I’m now doing some condensing. Tartu is a great little town but you could easily cover it in a day, so spending three days here means I have too many repeat pictures and by the time Scotty had delivered his paper, we were ready to hit the road. Here’s a few more from Tartu and then it’s on to Saint Petersburg!
Once Scotty had delivered his paper we were ready to go. We boarded our bus and were soon on our way to Mother Russia. The drive through Estonia was beautiful but as we got closer to Russia the effects of the heatwave were more evident. Fields were dry, grass parched. The border crossing was interesting in that the border is right on a river. At one side of the bridge there is a huge old fortress and on the other side, directly across is another. Once we entered Russia there was a definitely different feeling – but that may have been because suddenly the roads had seriously deteriorated. The next few hours were physically rattling as our bus bumped along. Our entire journey from Riga to Tartu and then to St. Petersburg was on simple two-lane roads, which I found to be surprising. It wasn’t until we were about two miles outside of Saint Petersburg that we were actually on a multi-lane highway.
Once we pulled into the bus terminal in Saint Petersburg we were pretty tired. The station was chaotic and there wasn’t a taxi in sight! Strange, huh? We dragged our bags around in search of a taxi and promptly broke the first rule of travel in Russia. We hailed what is called a “gypsy taxi” and tourists are widely warned to avoid these. But we did a little haggling and got a very good price. Soon we were settled in our hostel, an interesting experience. We decided to take a little walk around and get our bearings. I’m sure you can imagine our delight when we discovered we were around the corner from this:
After our walk we hit the hay…sort of. Russia was, and is, in the middle of a historically horrific heatwave. So we tried to ignore all the chaotic noise coming through the open window. It was a long, hot, sticky, noisy night.