The Washington Post

What a Trip: A solo trip through northern Europe

Steve Brown of Springfield is shown with the Neva River and the Hermitage behind him in St. Petersburg. (Steve Brown)

Our readers share tales of their rambles around the world.

Who: Steve Brown of Springfield

Where, when, why: Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Finland, Estonia and Norway from June 28, 2012, to July 5, 2012. It was part of my plan to visit all the countries of Europe. My plane landed in Copenhagen, and from there, I drove to Stockholm. From Stockholm, I flew to St. Petersburg. From St. Petersburg, I took a train to Helsinki. From Helsinki, I traveled by ferry to Tallinn (Estonia). From Tallinn, I ferried back to Helsinki, and from there, I flew back to Stockholm. From Stockholm, I drove to Olso and then back to Copenhagen for my flight back to the United States.

Highlights and high points: The scale of the buildings in St. Petersburg was staggering.

Cultural connection or disconnect: A disappointment was my visit to the Rock Church in Helsinki, which was closed for the day when I tried to visit. In St. Petersburg, a Korean couple asked me for directions to the Finlyandsky Rail Station. I said that I was going to the same place, so I made a connection. I later found out that the man was robbed of his cash and credit cards on the train.

Biggest laugh or cry: The biggest laugh must have been my hotel in St. Petersburg. I was expecting a building with the name of the hotel in big letters. When my taxi dropped me off, it turned out that the address was a courtyard, and inside the courtyard were multiple dwellings, one of which had been converted into a six-room hotel. If my taxi driver hadn’t been familiar with the area, I would have found the street address but probably not the hotel itself.

How unexpected: I was really surprised at how few tourists from English-speaking countries I encountered — a grand total of six, two Americans and four Canadians.

Memento or memory: Since I’m a picky eater, I was very happy that in each of the six countries I visited, I was able to find good-quality vegetable fried rice.

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