Subject: Re-Introduction and travelogue
Hi Ziners!

Well, it's a long time I don't write anything on the list, so I thought to write a couple of lines as a re- introduction.

My name is Flavio and I am from Rome, Italy. Been in the Zine since its creation and former moderator, I now work a lot (I'm an electrical engineer) and don't have all free time I'd like to have, but still I try to travel as much as I can when on vacations.

My travelling experience is mainly within Europe, and absolutely on a low cost basis! So I might be the right one if you need info on low cost flights or cheap accommodation in Europe! I have also had one overseas trip to California in 1998 (still low cost: guess I'm the only one who did the whole state by public transportation!).

I am very interested in cultural exchanges and learning of other lifestyles, and I am always available for GTGs in Rome.. So if you're planning to come my way just give a shout and you'll be added in my long GTGs list :o)

Talking about travelling, I just got back from my Summer vacation. This time I spent about 2 weeks around the Baltic Sea with 4 other friends from Rome. Here is the itinerary:

- Flight Rome --> Stockholm (Sweden). Stockholm is a very beautiful city, and I always loved it (I've already been there 9 years ago). It's always nice to walk around the islands and the bridges, visit the Stadshuset (City Hall) and the museums Vasa and Skansen (the 1st is an old Viking boat, the 2nd is a biological museum of the old life). Stockholm has also a huge archipelago of almost 40,000 islands, and in the Summertime there are plenty of boats in the water sailing around these islands. We stayed at the Citybackpackers hostel, very central and with lot of young travellers.

- Ferry Stockholm --> Helsinki (Finland). Helsinki is much smaller then Stockholm, and also offers less to see and do, but still it's a nice city. A must are the Orthodox and the Christian Churches, and I highly recommend to have lunch at the Kauppatori (Market Square), where you can try the local fish: cheap and delicious. Also, don't miss the juicy Finnish berries! From the Kauppatori every 20 minutes departs a local ferry to Suomenlinna, an island hosting the old fortress and now beaches and terraces. We stayed at the Hostel Academica that, despite it's name, has nice and clean double rooms with private bathroom and kitchen for a very cheap price.

- Ferry Helsinki --> Tallinn (Estonia). Tallin's old town is a little jewel, no wonder why it is in the UNESCO list of protected areas. Narrow streets and little squares are filled with medieval buildings, and from the highest area (Toompea) there's an amazing view on the city. Also the near beach of Piirita is quiet and relaxing. Unfortunately after the shops close, there's not much going on, especially as the majority of the people around were Italian men who read articles of some stupid journalist saying that Estonia was the new sexual tourism frontier! (Of course it's not true, but these stupid people have been able to ruin this beautiful city :o( ). We stayed at the Hotel Skane, a very good deal just outside of the old city.

- Bus Tallinn --> Parnu (Estonia). Parnu is a small town in the South of the country, and it's known as the Summer capital of Estonia. The main attraction is the beautiful, long beach, ideal for a couple of relaxing days. Being a less touristy destination, the majority of people around are Estonians, and we even found ourselves in a karaoke night with only songs in Estonian! We stayed at the Parnu Yacht Club, very nice in nautical style and very cheap for the offer!

- Bus Parnu --> Riga (Latvia). Riga is the capital of Latvia, and its old town is also very nice. Compared to Tallinn, the city is bigger and way more alive, and a good starting point to explore Latvia (this will be a future trip!). Not to be missed the City Hall and the view from the bar at the 26th floor of a tall hotel (I can't remember the hotel's name, but it's the only one with a 26th floor!). We stayed at the Hotel Lenz, more on the apartment style: every apartment has a 4 rooms sharing bathroom and kitchen.

- Ferry Riga --> Stockholm. After this circular trip we got back to Sweden, and spent a couple of days in Stockholm. We stayed at Langholmen, a former isolation jail, now hotel and hostel.

- At this point my friends left and I stayed a few more days visiting friends in Uppsala (a beautiful college town 40 minutes north of Stockholm) and then back to Stockholm to the end.

That's all for now! Hope you can get some idea for a future trip, and if you need some advice or link to a good website don't hesitate asking me!

Seey'all around Flavio