A few last minute preparations (like a shower! oh man, Taipei is getting hot and humid!) and I was off to Taoyuan International Airport, with three flights ahead of me before arriving at the first summer destination: Estonia! which my big brother's been calling his home for the last two years.
My flights looked like this:
1) Taipei-Beijing with Air China, 3h 30min - surprisingly good veggie meal, a bit of time to relax and wrap my head around one end and another beginning. Then a half hour before landing my neighbor started a conversation over the Chinese story I pulled out to read. It turned out he was a Taiwanese who's working in Beijing and we had a nice chat entirely in Mandarin about why we both happened to be on that flight. I guess I've learned something and earned my degree after all!
The Beijing airport was kinda shutting down for the night, as it was already 10pm. I had to go through security again and basically just walked through, but noticed that just about every man was getting scanned with the beepy thing. I guess us girls are just innocence incarnate. :P
2) Beijing-Frankfurt with Air China, 10h 20min - went by surprisingly fast, all things considered. I had a window seat and an empty one between me and the man in the aisle seat, who just kept to himself. We flew over a good chunk of Mother Russia which would have been very cool to see from above, but it was night time and we were probably above the clouds anyway. I gave a half-hearted attempt to find something in the on-demand video selection, but then gave in to what I really wanted to watch - Hobbit 2: Desolation of Smaug. Hehehe... Of course I'd seen it already, but ah, Peter Jackson's magic, even on a wee tiny screen with washed out colors... so good! I think we're only half a year away from Hobbit 3... but who's counting... ;)
The Frankfurt airport is a behemoth... Luckily I didn't have to transfer terminals either there or in Beijing, so it was just another waiting game until my last flight. I treated myself to a seat at a nice airy cafe and a European breakfast - coffee and a croissant. Just trying to fit in, hahaha... Actually, it was the waitress' suggestion after I'd asked for a muffin, which they didn't have. ;)
|Yep, this is in Germany|
|This is the way the Frankfurt Airport staff get around!|
The airport in Tallinn is a cute little newly fixed up building that looks like a whole bunch of living rooms put together.
My brother and his wife came to pick me up - finally got to meet this lovely lady! We had a couple of hours drive to their home in Tartu, Estonia's second biggest city, a university town of a 100,000. Architecture here definitely oozes Europe, from every brick and door.
Nik and Mari's (and Olivia and Des') home is a lovely sunny apartment, with lots of color and space - another inspiration to cut down on the clutter when I get home. My niece is a super happy active little 1.5 year old who has a language all her own and always has something to say. Here's the whole fam, hanging out in their pad.
I slept for an epic 11 hours my first night here! Awesome. Then we got out for a grocery shop and even a walk later on.
All in all, a pretty full Saturday! Especially including all the good eating we've done. I'm being spoilt by home cooking already.
|Mushroom quiche and raspberry cheesecake. Whohohoa!|