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August Trip SFO-CDG-TLS-HEL, TAL,RIG, STK-SFO

July 2008. Nicole and I are preparing to leave on Monday for:
. San Francisco Airport SFO to Paris, Charles de Gaulle, spending a day in Paris, then
. flying to Toulouse to stay 10 days with my parents, then
. flying to Helsinki, Finland, 6 days (in a 4 stars hotel)
. ferry to Tallinn, Estonia, 3 days
. bus to Riga, Latvia (Lettonie in French), 3 days
. ferry to Stockholm, Sweden, 6 days in a crapy hotel but who cares
then flying back to SFO.
Of course we're excited.
I wonder: if we'll be able to discern: the real, unique, original, non-polluted, ancient elements of those countries versus the global, touristic, worldwide transformations that have occured pretty much everywhere, and discern sovietic or inter-cultural parts. For instance, there must be some clear remainings of the USSR domination in Riga and Tallinn, but I read there can be a large swedish influence in Finland. Will Stockholm feel more european than Riga or Tallinn? Will it feel like there's a cultural continuum from a place to another place, will I see the slight variations and dependencies in music, architecture, food,..? What do the words 'sovietic, baltic, nordic, scandinavian, slavic' (what else?) mean exactly, and when can they be mean the same thing?
By the way, a fantastic site to find out about any place in the world and prepare trips: http://wikitravel.org/en/Helsinki .

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August 2008

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