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The Highway to Riga

overcast 9 °C

Tallin was still overcast when we took our last look across the old city's skyline to the docks and ferries this morning before heading to the coach station for our trip to Latvia...
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We had booked tickets in advance but could not reserve seats, so we went early to beat the crowds and sit together. But where were the crowds? When our 50 seat luxury coach arrived, (offering WiFi, audio and video entertainment, refreshments and a toilet), we were the only ones waiting. But we guessed the hordes were coming when the conductor carefully labelled our bags and gave us receipts before loading them...
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We were still awaiting the rest of the passengers when the doors closed and we took off – just us, the driver and conductor. “We will probably stop to pick up at the airport,” we said to each other, but we didn't. We are very close to Russia here and with all the sabre rattling going on over Syria we figured we had been kidnapped by a remnant of the KGB. Either that or we had booked the world's longest stretch limo...
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Travelling off season has its benefits. We usually pay much less than peak-time tourists and never have to queue. However, it can be a little unnerving to be the only guests in an enormous hotel or to dine alone in a two hundred seat restaurant – or to be the only passengers in a 50 seat coach (especially as we only paid twenty dollars each). We have at times been the entire audience for a theatrical performance and sole watchers of a movie; and we often stroll through deserted tourist attractions without being accosted by guides or touts. We have even been the solitary passengers on ferries and boats, and on one occasion James flew solo on a transatlantic jet. So we just sat back and hoped that we weren't on a one way ticket to a Gulag. (Not that we minded – we really enjoyed Siberia).

However, the Soviets left the Baltics 25 years ago and, apparently, all we had to fear was the driving. Why else would there be a green plastic vomit bag conspicuously hanging from every seat pocket...
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Our worries over kidnapping and crazy driving came to nought and we smoothly
sailed the 300 kilometres of perfectly flat, and largely straight, road to Riga, the capital of Latvia, through a never ending avenue of boreal forest that stretches all the way to Easten Siberia...
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Five hours later we arrived in Riga – still the sole passengers – and the conductor carefully checked our baggage tags before handing over our luggage. The Ruskies may have gone but Soviet bureaucracy lingers on!

Posted by Hawkson 10:59 Archived in Estonia

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Comments

Curious, I would be a bit on edge being the only passengers. Glad a ride was just a ride.

by Susan Fitzwilson

Just think how brave you were going all that way! Bus I hope you didnt have to look like the above picture all the way...Tell us more Love

by Jean McLaren

Discovered your posts were being diverted to my junk mail!
The barf bag would be quite practical if I were a passenger on that bus. I can imagine how it sways.

by R and B

Bags more for rubbish than sick !
C x

by Christine Lloyd

sounds like the scenery was heavenly and the empty bus was eerie. I might have been questioning if I had left the earth and moved into "the light".

by Janet

Moving you two exclusively around the planet must be a significant contributor to climate change. On the other hand you are job creators. I just hope the bus driver wasn't as nervous about being alone on the bus with you as others think you should have been alone with him.

by Tom Whalley

Tom - LOL

by Janet

Tom - I'm with you on that one - seems Janet is too

by Amanda

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