The cost in USD was 497, plus $38.10 for the bus ticket. The frustration is that the amount changes. Also, my paperwork had been submitted within the week after I arrived here and it took more than 2 months to process (we are allowed to be in the country 90 days before we have to have the living permit). We were told at the Embassy that the pouch had gone out the day before and wouldn't go out again until the next Monday (Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning are the only times they are open for us to come), hence the extra money to expedite mine. Elder Hansen arrived here on December 8 so he has a little more time. Tuesday morning was the earliest we could have gone to Tallinn.
Picture above left is a typical baby carriage, or buggy as they were called when I was growing up. Parents don't carry their babies. The buggies are very well made to keep the baby warm and protected from the elements. It's not uncommon at all to see the father pushing the carriage, or walking with small children. In this case, the mother had run ahead to go into the store. This was in Paarnu, Estonia.
Above: I tried to capture the density of the forests. From Riga to Tallinn, there is either forest land or farmland (at least that's all we saw from the highway, which was a 2-3 lane 2-way road all the way. The forests are mostly very tall, thin trunks, with the branches very, very high. At least during the winter, you could not hide in the forest.
Taking pictures out a bus window is a challenge and this sign of Tallinn and Paarnu did have how many kilometers, but I didn't capture that part.
I tried to take a picture of a stop sign in Tallinn. One way you know you are in Estonia is that they use a lot of double vowels and consonants. Stop signs read "stopp."
I can see I have much to learn about adding pictures to my blog. It looks like you will have be "traveling" backwards--from Tallinn to Riga. The picture above on the left is a windmill, like we have in America, but there were only two (and I couldn't get them in the same picture), as opposed to a row of them in America. Middle is a picture of a typical Church in the area; in the foreground, the road signs all look similar to this. The picture on the right is about the highest elevation in the countries. They do ski here, but not downhill.
After the Embassy, we saw a Taxi across the street, walked over to it and he said he wasn't available. We walked to another one, parked half a block further, and he said he was busy. So we headed down the street, not knowing where anything is, looking for another taxi. After walking about 4 blocks (and it was cold!), we saw street signs (they are on buildings, rather small, and not on every corner building at that) so Elder Hansen, again using his Russian, called for a Taxi. We rode back to the bus depot and then walked across the street to a New York Pizza place. It cost 98 kroon for a large pizza, which was made fresh and which we shared. It was very good pizza. The restaurant had a restroom, for "clients" only so the clerk had to push a button to let me in, but it was clean and it was free!
The picture on the right is the "toilette" in the bus depot in downtown Riga. In most public places, you pay to use the restroom--20 santies (40 cents US). You pay the money and then go around the corner where you are given a ration of TP. I didn't need to use the facility, thankfully. To the left, I'm pointing to the time we are going to leave for Tallinn on the bus schedule. The bus was a Greyhound-type, comfortable, with large windows.