Thursday, August 4, 2011

Europe 2011: A day in Tallinn

While in Helsinki, I noticed quite a bit of ferry activity going on down at the harbour. I was aware that it was possible to travel to Sweden and Russia but I wasn’t aware that it was possible to get a ferry to Tallinn in Estonia. I was enjoying my time in Finland but the opportunity to visit a new country, to experience another new culture and to get another stamp in my passport was too good to pass up.

I arranged to get an early ferry and was sipping weak, long-life milk coffee and eating a warm sweet croissant at the terminal at 8:00am the next morning. There was some really cool drawings of ferry’s done by local kids, I particularly liked the “Spider Line” complete with angry/sad clouds.

On the ferry I got chatting to the fella sitting across from me. He kindly offered to show me the way to the old medieval part of Tallinn. I found my first half hour in Estonia fascinating, from my first steps along dilapidated soviet era industrial foreshore, over a large dual carriage way modern road and then into the medieval town, it was a feast for the senses. I held off taking photos for a bit and asked Mario as many questions as I could. We organised to meet up for a beer later in the afternoon and I was on my own.

Wandering around the old town I was initially interest in the near field. Strange sculptures looking down on the street, exotic writing, shop signs, street stalls and doors.

Wandering, I was drawn to the centre and highest point of the town. At the top, the view of the spires and turrets poking out of the crammed houses was spectacular.

The town was quickly filling up with hundreds of tourists who had disembarked from a large cruise ship. Walking back to the lower part of the town I ended up in a full on tourist bottle neck, it was hectic!

I made my way to the centre of the town where there are a number of stalls set up selling stuff. I picked up a nice woollen beanie and piece of linen (I know wtf right?! It is nice though).

It was nearing my time to meet up with Mario and I was hungry and ready to try the local brew. I met him at the restaurant and we sat and enjoyed a delicious roast pork with mushroom sauce lunch watching the all the tourists. The beer was great, crisp cold lager in an enormous glass.

After lunch we checked out a few more spots. Mario works for DC in Estonia and manages the junior skate team. He was waiting for his girlfriend to arrive after being on the med for a few weeks. Thanks for showing me around!

I walked back to the ferry terminal this time whipping the camera out and getting some shots of the dilapidated foreshore. It’s a beautiful coastline just needing some love.

Estonia was so awesome, great people, beautiful things to see and delicious food and beer. The country has only been independent of the Russians since 1991 and with continuing self determination I can imagine Estonia being a major, and interesting, tourist destination in the future.

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