Study Abroad Blog by Pavel Vassiljev

Monday, June 6, 2011

Traveling outside of UK part 1

Previously I wrote about my travel experience within UK and that there is a lot to see. However, I also loved living in England because of how cheap and easy it is to travel to other European countries. And if you have great friends that would let you stay on the floor of their apartments (At least :)) Then it pretty much does not cost you anything as you eat and drink like usual... (Great point, yeah!?) 

Amsterdam 2008
It was the first time we got out of England and it was not a trip to Tallinn. The city of Amsterdam is amazing, all right!? The city is full of bikes and I mean FULL of bikes. The bikes are actually very dangerous in Amsterdam as we almost got hit by the bikes thousands of times during our 3 day stay there. On our last day we met our friends from Rotterdam, who actually showed us whole Amsterdam, which we thought was ending around the Red Light District...

Unfortunately, we did not get to visit the Heineken factory, but went to the ice bar instead. Which was also a pretty cool experience, especially for the Greek guy... (You know, three of us were from Estonia, so we are used to ice, snow, cold and blablabla) Overall Amsterdam was a great experience and a getaway from academic life for the first time. In terms of costs it was pretty ok as well, return flights were around 30 GBP, hostel for two nights was 50 EUR and it was in the red light district. I mean how more Amsterdamish you can get? 
Dublin 2009
One day we were randomly checking Ryanair flights and stumbled upon a flight from Luton to Dublin. We just decided to go there for a Friday-Saturday. It was very spontaneous, which made the trip even more fun. We didn't even book a hostel. 

Once in Dublin, we met up with a guy we knew from Estonia (Well only one of us knew him) And walked around the center for a bit. When he asked: "So guys where are your staying for the night?"  With no hesitation we said: "Well we were thinking that we are staying at yours..." He smiled and said: "Ok!" Which we are still grateful for. After settling down with accommodation for the night and walking around the center it has been decided to get a bit closer to the culture and go for a pub crawl... The following night was full of adventures around Dublin and especially the Temple bar district. Which is just beyond cool. We had to walk back home in the rain for I don't know how long but I felt it was at least 1.5 hours. 

Next day we met up with other people from Tallinn. Of course we went into a pub and spent most of the day talking to each other and trying to understand the bartender's Irish accent. Overall, the trip was great and return tickets to Dublin cost us only 10 GBP (EPIC WINNING) 

Oslo 2009
I decided to visit my friend in Norway for the weekend. It cost me around 30 GBP return, which is again EPIC. It was funny and sad at the same time that bus tickets to Oslo central cost 2 times more than the plain tickets. I liked Oslo and had an amazing time there, however the prices and the cold (Yes, it was a bit too much even for me) were killing me. My jaw literally dropped when I had to pay 40 GBP for 5 shots of Jagermeister in a bar. But lets not talk about that :)

In Oslo I met a lot of cool people and even though it was only a three day trip it felt much longer as it was packed with action. On the last day we went snowboarding with Jamal and his friends, and that was cool. However, I'm not sure whether snowboarding was more extreme, than me driving an old Renault Laguna 150km away from Oslo. Plus the blizzard never stopped. So I probably lost half of my nerves on the way to the spot...

It was my first time snowboarding so Jamal's friend was kind enough to tell me how to stand up and start, but never told me how to steer and break... Thus, when I first stood up I started to slide down with absolute no idea of steering and just had to grab some random person to stop with an idiotic look on my face. The whole day was followed by ups and downs (literally) but the scenery was just gorgeous. You could see frozen lakes, forests, houses on hills and other mountains around. At the end of the day I still managed to drive the car back to Oslo and YES, it did hurt a lot... But Norwegian dinner and Texas Hold'em were relaxing and fun. 

Going to places and meeting your friends or course-mates is beyond great. You have the chance to experience the place from a resident perspective. You will get to know the best places to visit. And it is just nice to see a friend that you haven't seen for a while. Always use the opportunity to go traveling!

p.s. Stay tuned for the second part.


  1. Did you experience any kind of "pre-departure homesickness" right before you left Estonia? If so, how did you deal with it?
    I leave my house in 5 days and I'm experiencing it right now... :'(

  2. Hi!
    Actually I was very excited of leaving and most of the time was just craving for that new experience.

    But then again I was getting sad every time I was doing something and realizing that I will probably not have the chance to do it again for a while. (e.g. sit in my favorite bar and walk near the beach and etc...)

    But try to meet up with your favorite people as much as you can before going away, just to have nice memories!

  3. Lovely trip! Thanks for sharing your memories here!

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