Estonia

Day-Tripping to Tallinn, Estonia


The residual hangover from the night before

gives us a natural impulse to start our morning late today. We plan to take the hour and a half ferry ride to the medieval town of Tallinn in Estonia this afternoon but we don’t depart until 12:30. Neither one of us is in the best of moods today as we stayed out far too late last night and then had a big fight when we finally got home. Breakfast was silent.

The ferry ride to Tallinn is extremely uneventful. The Jet Cat is designed for complete non-interaction with your fellow traveler and ultimately for those day trippers looking to purchase as much cheap duty-free beer or alcohol as they are legally able to bring back with them or that they can carry or have their friends carry for them. We arrive in Estonia and seek out a square for a late lunch and some humble pie. Ahhh the life of 24-7, 365 togetherness, traveling around the world.

A Forgotten Outpost

Tallinn was a virtually forgotten outpost of the Russian empire until the 1980 Olympics when the sailing venues were located near the city. Moscow decided that they would send a little paint and restoration to the city and discovered a medieval jewel on the Baltic. It is now a medieval city that draws tens of thousands to its gates every year. Unfortunately, it has a bit of a Disney feel to it. The main town square has been transformed into a medieval fair complete with period-costumed locals selling their “merry wares” and medieval pipe and tambour being played for good measure.

John: This is a surprise (and a bit of a disappointment) to me – I was here 4 years ago with my mother, and the Disneyfication had not begun – the city was a wonderful discovery back then, without any Boss or Puma stores, and no locals dressed in 13th century costumes. Mom and I loved Tallinn then, and would have stayed longer. Today, I am happy with doing it as a day trip.

We walk and talk, taking in the sites and views. We soak up the early evening sun back on the square over a beer before we head back to the port and the ride home. Many of the returning faces are familiar to us. Day trippers to Tallinn are very big business for both the ferries and the city. We wander back through the main esplanade in Helsinki, stop off at our internet café to try to check in on email, and miss two trolleys home before we are in our beds in the broad daylight of summer in the north, ready for sleep.

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