After welcoming Josh last night to our gang of 15 as our better-late-than-never monsooner with late night drinks and showing off our shooting range videos, we headed out this morning to explore the local markets north of Tallinn’s Old Town.
This is a large area right by the train station. While nobody here speaks a lick of English, they sell extremely cheap food and coffee for less than 1 euro for an entire meal.
We found amazing Estonian coffee for 50 cents and their version of “Char Siu Baos” — fried doughnuts filled with pork and beef for 60 cents each, one of which can easily fill you up for breakfast.
Their desserts, while pretty, are much less inspired:
Afterwards we did a last minute stroll through the western part of Old Town from the Train Station:
At 4pm the group reconvened at Red Emperor Hostel and took extremely cheap Uber taxis (3-4 euros for a 10-10min ride) to the Tallinn Coach Station to catch the 5pm LuxExpress Bus to Riga (4.5 hours). While boarding, 2 of us realized they had left their passports back in Tallinn so they had to move their reservations to the 6:30pm bus. No biggie.
After 2 hours on the road, we parked at a rest stop where I then experienced the first ever instance of a bus driver chasing passengers down telling them not to take a bathroom break. He literally told us: “5 minutes, 5 minutes only!”
And true to his word he got back in his seat and started driving away 5 minutes on the dot, leaving 1 person behind (even with his luggage still on the bus!). Although other Good Samaritan passengers walked up to protest the newly self-proclaimed bus Nazi, he refused to budge and continued to drive onwards towards Riga…his fascist grip on our bus unshaken.
Another hour passed by before our driver randomly pulled to the side of the road for what seemed to be a cigarette break. Around 6 minutes later that very same passenger who was left behind got on the bus, cursing the driver under his breath. Since that passenger rushed to the back and didn’t want to talk to anyone, we never got to know how he was able to catch up to us so quickly.
On brighter note, the wifi on this LuxExpress bus is the fastest wifi I have ever used; it operates just as well as a hi-speed landline cable connection, even with all of us connected to it.
Because of roadwork, we arrived 30 minutes later than scheduled at 10pm. From the bus station we hiked about 10 minutes around a park to get to our hostels, Seagulls Garrett and Old Town, which are adjacent to each other.
After checking into our hostel, the group headed out for late night munchies at Russian “dumpling” bar Pelmeni XL. You can get an entire meal for less than 4 euros.
We then wandered around Old Town a bit:
And then it was shots at Skyline Bar at the top of the Radisson Blu, the tallest building in Riga.
After a busted visit to the Olympic Casino (only one blackjack table, which was completely full) at the very same Radisson Blu, we headed to a local hookah bar/club for drinks…
…where I then passed out and ensuing open mutiny was committed by my monsooners.
Well played. I’m gonna miss you guys.
– At time of posting in Riga, Latvia, it was 68 °F – Humidity: 40% | Wind Speed: 9km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear