After finishing my studies in Münster, Germany with a couple of friends 3 Colombians Claudia, Juan and David and 1 Chilean Marcelo, we decided to embark on an adventure. Our first step was to decide where to go as Europe has a lot to offer and visa wise it was a lot easier. The 5 of us decided that we would all love to go to Stockholm.
A low cost trip
Although due to prices and student budget we were unable to stay there for a whole week and we also wanted to explore more of Europe. So our decision was simply made by which destination was cheaper with Ryanair.
But I will leave you wondering our following destinations as I would call them the unexplored treasures of the Baltic.
Now here we are starting the trip, well for those who do not know how Ryanair works it is cheap airline so some airports are in the middle of nowhere, for this trip we had to take a train from Münster to Bremen and as we were 5 we bought a group ticket in German called “Schönes Tag Ticket” in July of 2011 if I am not mistaken the price was 35 euros.
Our flight would leave at 6am from the Bremen airport, to tell you the truth it was the first time I had ever slept in an airport. So Claudia had prepared a lot of sandwiches in order to prevent starvation.
All of us ate them with great pleasure and we tried to sleep on the benches and chairs of the airport but to tell you the truth it was impossible, well at least for me I don’t remember sleeping more than 2 hours straight. But with all the excitement and a young mind who cares, it is an adventure.
We arrived very early in the morning about 8am in Stockholm and we went to leave our bags in the hostel. Then we went to explore the city and the parks and it was amazing what a beautiful city surrounded by lakes it looks like the Venice of the north and everything in bigger size.
In the old town we visited the typical places which were the Royal Palace which was stunning and in my opinion what made it more amazing was because it was surrounded by water that it looked more majestic.
Then we kept on walking and a lot of places were closed we decided to go through the streets and at some point we got lost so we just decided to take a lot picture of the building and make ourselves part of the landscape and the art. At night we decided to go to the Icebar by Icehotels in Stockholm.
Since it was summer we were very lightly dressed.
Once you are preparing to enter they give you a thermal blue suit and gloves as it is -7C and the visit is designed to last 45 minutes.
Everything is literally made out of Ice, the glasses, the stools are made out of ice and covered by sheep wool so when you sit down you are not that frozen. From there we went and walked at night in the park close to hostel and we could see there was a lot of life activities on the boat.
The next day as it was too hot do anything we decided to put our bathing suits on and go to Baltic beach were we stayed all day.
In the middle of the sea there was some sort of trampoline were you would go and throw yourself in the water.
As the temperature was over 30C and the water was freezing it was quite cold and refreshing at the same. Although my recommendation is if you are going to jump make sure your bathing suit is well tied.
On our third day in Stockholm we went to the Ericsson Globe where if you wanted you could ride in some sort of type of a roller coaster and see Stockholm in a panoramic view.
There we decided to split up in to two groups Juan and Claudia went on the globe while Marcelo, David and I decided to go to the Nobel Peace Prize Museum.
The idea that the museum has is to spread the knowledge and interest and motivate people to research and study and do good projects in life.
The museum opened its door in 2001 and is located in a beautiful building from the 18th century. Currently there are more than 800 laureates that have been awarded the Nobel Prize. In the museum it is divided into categories of award such as medicine, literature, economics, peace, chemistry among others. After we met up back in the hostel and we went out to eat dinner as we were tired of eating all types of sandwiches.
The next day we went to the airport which is an hour away from Stockholm were the budget airlines depart and arrive.
We arrive to Riga, the capital of Latvia. There we arrived to our hotel a couple of stops outside the city center.
For me it reminded me of a gothic small Paris, there is also the bridge with the love lockets and a freedom monument, which is a monument that honors soldiers who were killed during the Latvian War of Independence (1918-1920).
The city is absolutely amazing. It also had a lot of green surrounding it were we also explored the Vermanese Park where you could ride on boats and have a more romantic option of the city going under the love bridges.
The next day we toured around the old city and went and saw the cat house were mainly there were sculptures of cats even on the roof. As there is history in everything this building is thought to be built in 1909 according to the blue prints from the architect Friederich Scheffel, it is a medieval architecture style.
Riga for me was a lot of styles of buildings and we felt transported to the past due its architecture.
And the building has several legends but no one knows which is true or if any of them is the real version.
As we were staying a couple of tram stops away for the city center and the language was hard to understand, not surprisingly we got lost and we only had a map but no knowledge of the language and the people on the tram didn’t speak Spanish, German or English, so the conversation was all signs and body language and they were very nice to help us with direction so we could find our way back to the hotel…On that note we traveled to another undiscovered gem.
In Tallinn, Estonia,
Our upcoming stop was Tallinn, Estonia, we arrived there by bus as it was only a 3 hour ride, all I remember is that the bus was going too fast and we were on the last seats so I just decided to sleep so it went by like breeze. When we got to the bus stop we took another bus to city center were we had our hostel. As the city is quite small we only stayed there for one day to another.
In Tallinn it reminded me of a movie King Arthur. It was and felt like we transported to the medieval times.
The people from Tallinn have left the city center exactly like in the medieval days, the waiters and waitresses are dressed in clothes and cloaks from that time period as well as the cooking pans with oven and the pans.
As we had a short time we practically didn’t go into any museums we just did walking tourism of the old town.
We discovered the old town was the only place kept in the medieval ages, we realized this when we went to see the TV satellite antenna, where it’s out of the city center and you can see the contrast of the modern world with the old ages.
It is so hard to describe that I would say “pictures are seriously worth a thousand words”. In the center there was a part were we explored and there were swords, shields, it felt like an interactive museum.
The next day we returned to Riga as our flight back to Germany was from that airport and truth be told it was sad going back to reality. Although traveling is the best experiences anyone can have and I am very lucky that 5 people traveling, we all got a long great, there is nothing like travelling with amazing company.