The best laid plans

On the Narva path to the river

I’m amazed how quickly you can get to know a city riding the bus. We’ve headed out in all four directions from our place on Suur Ameerika 37 and I enjoy seeing buses now with neighborhoods we’ve visited, either by choice or by accident. read more

What’s useful, what’s not and what we wish we had. (So far.)

What we use all the time

  • Reusable shopping bags. The Envirosax brand. I’m glad at the last minute we threw two in our bag. We use them ALL the time. I like these ones as they fit over my shoulder well, they’re sturdy, hold a lot, easy to wash (necessary with filled with spilled honey and strawberry juice) and the kids are happy to carry some shopping home in them.
  • Leatherman. We use this ALL THE TIME. From fixing scooters, tightening screws, cutting oranges,  opening toys, opening cans. The most useful tool we’ve brought with us.
  • Scissors. We have one pair that we use for everything (poor scissors). They’re used to: trim Nat’s beard, cut chewing gum out of hair (Alpha!), cut out paper resources for school, and open food packets. The Leatherman doesn’t have scissors, and not all the places we’ve stayed have scissors (or we can’t find them).
  • Pegs. You probably can buy them at the supermarket and don’t need to carry them with you, but the ‘clippy pegs’ are awesome. We’ve been stringing up our washing, and having the pegs means we can get clothes dry. They make awesome toys too, Lennox has made multiple robots and laser guns out of the pegs.
  • Amazon account. Alpha is reading up a storm on her Kindle (so am I) so having that helps a lot. I love having the Kindle, but we are likely blowing our budget on books. On the upside, Alpha is really into older stuff like Trixie Beldon, The Bobsie Twins, Blyton and other older books. Which usually means I can get the books nice and cheap. I think I got 15 books for 0.70c. We did finally get on the Harry Potter wagon and I’m finally reading that to the kids, which has been fun. I reckon we’ll get mileage out of the books (well I’ve only got the first one at the moment), and if we get the audio books too.
  • Paper. With kids and doing school you need lots of paper. We’ve been going through stacks of it lately. I’m glad our supermarket sells it.
  • Rope/bungy cords. They’re our washing lines, toys, handles and straps. It’s weird, but so awesome to have them.
  • Cables/charging stations. It’s a battle in a digital house. iPods and iPads (with the old cord), iPhones (with the new cords), Mac Book Pros with new cords (I LOVE our new computers by the way!), and then an old Mac Book (wth the old power cord), then there are Kindles, speakers, battery pack…. So many cords. But also not enough cords and charging stations, we’re using the computers to charge devices, while the wall charges our computers.
  • Audio books. I need to swap the stories for the kids, but for some reason what I had downloaded before travelling didn’t come with me on my computer, so I need to get more. Stink. These have been a big part of the kids’ lives for ages, so it’s great to have them with us.

Really glad we have but not vital:

  • Scooters. Wow, that’s changed the game for us. I’m so glad we bought them. The kids are happy, we’re happy and we get to see a lot more with them. They also carry groceries home for us now.
  • A way to create space for the kids. We strung up a table cloth using ropes in the middle of their room and that has helped with the fighting!
  • Dresses. Weird I know. But travelling with dresses is awesome and I want more. It can be a dress, or throw on a blazer and you have a two piece outfit. Yeah separates are great, but I’m partial to a dress. I need to swap mine out though.

I wish we had and we’re still looking for:

  • A universe sink plug. We can’t seem to find one at all. Sink strainers, but no plugs. Oh well.Right now we are washing our dishes with a bowl in a sink. We don’t have one in the bathroom either. I read about it once that it’s handy to have, but didn’t think anything of it. Yeah it’s handy to have.
  • Scooters for us too. We’re jealous of the kids, but transporting them from place to place, would be an issue.
  • The perfect coffee device. We have to have coffee, and boy have we got creative in how to make it. We’ve been boiling water in a pot, so we can use a plunger that we bought. In Riga we had the base of a plunger and then used a sieve to sieve out the coffee grounds. I’m seriously thinking of getting an Aeropress. I miss my Aeropress. Coffee is a food group. But then what would come out of the bag for the Aeropress to go in. Ah the dilemma.
  • The perfect wardrobe. Holy crap I’m sick of my clothes, and what I have doesn’t really work for me. I will slowly change out my clothes (actually my jandals and my ‘all purpose’ shoes are falling apart, so I need to replace them). But clothes in Estonia aren’t as cheap as I thought they’d be. I did notice the other day that 70% signs are going up so I think the summer sales are happening. However, Marks and Spencer is a lot more drab than I was expecting and H&M isn’t doing it for me. The stuff I do like is way over my self imposed ‘I’m cheap’ price. I do have to check out the ‘vintage’ shop down the road. But I’m a bit worried that I’ll like too much stuff.
  • The perfect bed and pillow situation. We’ve slept on couches and crap beds for so long now, that i dunno if I could sleep in a nice bed. You realise you’re getting old when you want a nice bed!

What we haven’t needed and wondering what to do with.

  • Keyboards. We have very awesome solar powered keyboards, which they are light and small, but we don’t use them.
  • Probably a couple of T-shirts.
  • We have a ton of medicines, which I’m really glad we have, but we haven’t used yet. I don’t want to get rid of them though because we’e still got a way to go before we’re done. It’s amazing how we haven’t had the usual allergy/asthma issues while we’ve been away, and we’re not constantly pulling out the plasters. We did when the kids first got their scooters (skinned knees), but that’s calming down now.
  • Nat and his button down shirts. He hasn’t worn them at all, but I’m sure when we hit Scotland he will.

I’m sure over time there will be more to add and subtract from this list.

Walking around Riga, the Riga Tour

Under the streets of Riga

On Wednesday We had a walking tour of Riga

We had been here for 4 days and we were so ready for a bit of Riga; our neighborhood Angenskalns is rustic, picturesque, and historic, but not heaps to see but houses. However, you take the 21 bus in to town and boom, plenty of history; from original walls from when Riga was a castle fortress, founded in 1201, to the moat and cobble stones. We learned a lot! read more