Tallinn (3 Countries In One Day!)

Trip Start Oct 30, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, July 9, 2006

What we had first noticed in Helsinki as it got later, was that we were now in the Northern European summer - it just wasn't getting dark! We arrived in Tallin around 9.30pm, still light, and sought about looking for an ATM to get some Estonian currency. However, there was none at the ferry terminal, so we asked at the terminal and the closest one was at a petrol station nearby.

To get there, we had to walk over the building! Stairs led over the top of the terminal rising high for a fantastic view - behind, the view over the sea and port, and in front, a view over the old city, with its medieval walls and turrets leaving us in awe.

The area around the petrol station was dodgy to say the least, but we had to get money out and were keen to get out of there as quick as possible. With a few unsavoury characters lurking around us, we raced over to a taxi, and on showing him the address we wanted to go to, he proceeded to tell us that it was not far and a quick walk down the street would get us there! What a taxi that didn't want a fare?!!

Not ecstatic about walking, we proceeded anyway, and were glad that no-one followed. It was a hard slog with our packs, after already having walked a lot through Helsinki, but we did manage to find our accommodation, and it wasn't too far. We settled in and jumped into bed, ready for some sleep after a long day, but the sky was still quite light even at midnight! This made it a little difficult to sleep.

The next day, the sun rose early, and after trying to ignore it for a while, we decided to go out and explore the old city of Tallinn - a medieval city. It was beautiful, so full of life and very picturesque. There was a market in the main square, with people wearing full medieval dress and lots of medieval style happenings going on - including blacksmiths forging all sorts of items available to sell.

We wandered through the market for a while, Glenn finally finding a musical instrument that he had sought after since Asia.

Then we visited the "Holy Spirit Church", famous for its old clock on the exterior - one of the oldest remaining relics in the town, but it was the inside that really captivated us - it was a really beautiful church - very simple, but amazingly beautiful (unfortunately photography was not allowed inside!)

We then visited a photography museum, which had some interesting exhibits, but one thing that amazed us was seeing one of the spy cameras used during the war - these were tiny!

Although a touristy town, this was not detrimental to the charms of the old city. We spent a lot of the next day shopping - we were impressed with the quality and uniqueness of the things on offer.

In the evenings, we often wandered around the city, visiting different parts - all quite picturesque. We visited the huge Russian Orthodox Church and then followed the remains of the ancient city walls, with their round turrets.

On our last day in Tallin, we visited the Museum of Occupation and Fight for Freedom, which had displays of Estonia's history of occupation, mainly focusing on German and Soviet occupation. We had little idea of the history of this country, and were hoping that we would have all the gaps filled in. However, a lot of the content was via seven films of 30 min duration each explaining the history in various stages. We simply didn't have enough time to sit and watch, so we had to cut short our history lesson and prepare to catch an afternoon bus to Tartu. Of course the bus station was a long way from the old town, and somehow we managed to catch the right bus to the bus station and get tickets for a bus leaving straight away!
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