2011 – My year of travels

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Erasmus has changed me a lot. I would have never imagined myself writing the present article before I discovered a new life in Estonia. I became more open, meet many people, developed good friendships across Europe and discovered that I really love traveling! I decided to entertained a blog for myself but also for people who could be interested in traveling with me and seen though my eyes some new place of Europe. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it!

This year I have been in 12 countries – obviously for the first time – and among them, are two countries that have had such an important impact on my life, on my relation with the world and with others. These little countries of the Baltic where I have been living have taken a big place in my heart and in my mind and I want to begin with them.

The others that I was lucky to see are listed randomly, excepted Ukraine, because a podium needs three challengers and also because I had amazing time in Kiev.

Estonia

In the beginning of this year I was for the first time of my life going outside of French border, to speaking English outside classroom for academic purpose and to enjoy having a social life with tons of people from all Europe. I spend literally the best 5 months of my life filled with amazing memories and spent with incredible people! ESN in Tallinn was the best choice I could have in many level. Even after during my semester in Vilnius I had to visit Tallinn once more to spend the New Year eve with my girlfriend. On the whole I have been surprised to discover a lovely little country. Estonia has a lot to offer: an animated capital, cute towns all over the country, wild nature and even a large island full of surprises! A long road trip all around with Alan and seven girls was the best I could have to conclude this page of my life.

Tallinn, Tartu, Narva, Pärnu, Rakvere, Viljandi, Haapsalu, Mustvee

Viru street

Viru street

Lithuania

When I saw Vilnius for the first time I immediately got touched by its warmness and prettiness. I was invited by the girl I started to date in Tallinn and it obviously helps to make me love the Lithuanian capital as well. I stay four days and after this short period I was decided to go again.
I found an offer for internship and jumped on it. Two month after Estonia I was living again in the Baltic States. Less parties but as much as good times. I visited the main tourists place along Vilnius. Trakai and its caslte lost in a middle of a lake, Klaipeda and Nida on the Courland spit and Kaunas the true Lithuanian city. Life there isn’t finished yet as my internship will finish only in March.

Vilnius, Trakai, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Nida, Palanga

Vilnius financial centre

Vilnius financial centre

Ukraine

I place Ukraine third in this list. I have been charmed by Kiev when I visited it in summer between Tallinn and France. Alan and me left Estonia but couldn’t go straight to France yet. We needed to do something! Nastya, Kievian girl who was close to us during Erasmus helped us to spend 5 days in Kiev. The city is lovely, cheap and huge! So many churches, huge avenues and a lot of adventures. I should go again some days and see more of the country!

Kiev

Slavic Goddess column in the Independance square

Slavic Goddess column in the Independance square

Czech Republic

Three nice day in August in Prague. I discover the country while driving to Vilnius from France with my own car. So far Prague was my best experience on this very long journey. I was hosted and guided by the perfect person, a tall Czech guy who I also met during Erasmus! He has shown me a lot of the city, restaurant, pub and all main sight-sees! The city is lovely, I must go again,  I am in love with Prague!

Prague

Prague caslte

Prague caslte

Poland

The first thing I saw in Poland was the downtown of Lodz, my last stop before Vilnius and I was exhausted from driving. Adam my former roomate offered me a room to sleep for a night. We did a little walk around his building and got some drinks I packed with me for Lithuania. For the All Saints I took a bus from Vilnius to Warsaw where I met Alan, coming from France , and Nastya. We had a real good time and I fell in love with Poland there. Krakow was also a very nice city to see. Despite is was very grey I became even more interested in it and it confirmed that Poland will be for me an important transit platform. I really appreciated Polish people, warm and welcoming, and not only in the Academic Hostel.

Warsaw, Krakow, Lodz

Krakow market square

Krakow market square

Latvia

In a year I have visiting Riga four times. The first trip was hard, long and cold during February. But then I had three more for with for each a Festivals held: Go blond! Festival in May, Staro Riga with my parents in November and a final Christmas Trees festival with my girlfriend and the first snow. I understood that Riga is a creative and animated city, and charmed I will have to spend even more days there as it is close to Vilnius.

Riga

Looking at Riga

Looking at Riga

Finland

With ESN I could see for my first time Finland and Lapland, the northernmost region in Scandinavia. I didn’t like Helsinki the first time, but much more the second time when visited with my friends for a day trip by ferry from Tallinn. Lapland itself seems to be a wonderfull region but it was so snowy that I couldnt see much of ghe landscape. Yet I have met Santa Claus, get my raindear driving licence and cross the Artic circle!

Helsinki, Lapland

Raindeer in Lapland

Raindeer in Lapland

Sweden

I have been to Sweden for the Sea Battle. It marks the first day of spring for this year as when I came back to Tallinn the weather was totally different. No snow and no rain anymore.
Stockohlm itself is lovely. Many island and narrow street. Being with close friends made my visit more special!

Stockohlm

Royal guards in Stockholm

Royal guards in Stockholm

Belgium

In August I went to visit Brussels witg Cedric. A long visit of the town by day and night. It was very good and make or Flandish trip started perfectly. We saw most of the old town and the down town.

Brussels

Cinquantenaire Triumph Arch

Cinquantenaire Triumph Arch

Netherlands

Following Belgium we drove up to Amsterdam. The Netherlands capital was awesome. Many thing to see beside the Red Light district. Rotterman is pretty also in a different style. We only planed to stay for two hours but it took twice more.

Amsterdam, Rotterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Germany

Germany is in its top but I couldn’t see a lot of it. I visited Stuttgart during my Europe road trip. One night in hotel and the evening with My German friend Kerstin, also met during my erasmus.

Stuttgart

King Wilhelm Column

King Wilhelm Column

Austria

Visiting Austria for the first time to make a big birthday surprise to an lovely Austrian girl. I organised with Adrian and Alan to drive for a weekend to Linz. We had help from another Austrian friend who garantied us to meet her and spend evening in restaurant and club. Next days we visited Linz city and Vienna. If I liked Linz it wasn’t really the same for the Austrian capital.

Vienna, Linz

Friends meeting in Linz

Friends meeting in Linz

Guillaume Speurt

Guillaume Speurt

French settled in Estonia, I have spent my last years in the Baltic States. I love photography and travelling in Eastern and Central Europe, I write this blog to relate my experiences.
Guillaume Speurt

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