BALTIC STATES (July 2013)
After a stop over in London to catch up with friends and family, we're back on the road. It's a 4 a.m. wake-up to catch our 5 a.m. cab to Heathrow. We're flying to Tallinn, capital of Estonia to begin a two week exploration of the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. We have a layover in Helsinki, where I'm grilled by an Immigration Officer. I had my ticket showing my departure in an hour's time, but he also wants to see my ticket from London to Helsinki and wants to know where I was going after Tallinn. After a few more questions, I get my passport stamped for no good reason and then it's on to our twenty minute flight to Tallinn.
After a bit of a rest in our hotel, which seems to be situated in a former factory area, we're off to dinner in nearby Old Town. I'm not sure if it's a regular thing, but our restaurant is decked out in Medieval attire and, while salads are being passed out, decidedly Middle Eastern music begins playing followed by a belly dancer with a sword. Before the entrees are served, a mock argument erupts between two of the dancer's suitors, ending with fisticuffs and a prolonged sword fight. There's soon beer for all and everyone is friends again.