We were fast approaching our second week in Estonia, having to wait for our visa for Belarus to process we had some time to kill. Our week on the farm was fun, but it was time to go back to civilisation, collect our visa and head to Latvia. It had taken two attempts to get our visa processing, the information on their website for Australians entering Belarus was apparently incorrect, and we had to find someone to ‘invite’ us into the country. We found an extremely helpful lady from the centre of Minsk, who would pretend to be our friend and vouch that we were entering to visit her. On our second attempt, they accepted our application and we had a week to wait before we could collect it.
We were extremely pleased to receive our passport back with an impressive stamp taking up a whole page of our passports (both of us are quickly loosing pages with these unnecessarily large visas) because it was such a strange and foreign country to us. It also meant we could leave Estonia, head to Latvia and finally leave the Schengen visa zone.
We decided to set ourselves a challenge, we would attempt to hitch hike our way from Tallinn, Estonia down to Istanbul, Turkey. Just because.
Our expectations on hitch hiking in Estonia were high, as we had hitched our way down to the farm, roughly 160 km, with ease. So we found ourselves back on the highway, and didn’t have to wait long until an older man pulled over for us.
This was a new experience for the two of us, as we learnt to shut our mouths and listen to racist remarks about foreigners in Estonia, as we didn’t want to be thrown out his car. After the relief of being freed from his lectures, we found ourselves in the car of a young man who was excited to meet two Australians. We were beginning to find the further out of central Europe we were getting, people were more and more excited to meet us, reminding us of the remote towns of Asia.
Two more rides later, one with a month old puppy riding shotgun, we finally arrived in Latvia. The capital of Latvia, Riga, is much like Tallinn. The Old Town is smaller, but historical and romantic. We regrettably didn’t spent much time wondering the streets, Tyral had already spent some time in Riga the year before and we were both keen to get out of the Schengen zone. A nights stay with a friendly couch surfing host and her adorable beagle puppy and we were back on the road to make it to the small bordering town of Kraslava were I had been in contact with a host who was nice enough to offer to drive us across the boarder into Belarus. Little did we know this would be the hardest hitchhike either of us had ever experienced.