Day 8 & 9 - Estonia

Trip Start Jul 27, 2008
Trip End Sep 11, 2008

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Viking Line

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

So here we are in Tallinn.  Yesterday we drove from Tampere to Helsinki and spent the afternoon walking around doing some sightseeing.  We caught a tram, just for the sake of catching a tram and sat on that until we found a park for the kids to play in.  By the way have I mentioned that it was cold in Helsinki, it is not raining but is cold.
We walked then from the city centre back to the ferry terminal via this beautiful area with a church at the top of these huge stairs.  I went into the church for a looking thinking that you know it would be the typical Catholic Church, but no here in Finland the actual majority religion is Lutheran.  Was a great thing to see this Lutheran church with a huge statue Martin Luther.  We sat around on the stairs for a little bit while the kids ran up and down.  Then back to the terminal.
From Helsinki we caught the ferry, Viking line (pronounced Vee King Line) at 9.30pm and got settled in our cabin.  Yes we were special and got a cabin for the evening.  We got some food, walked around the ferry for a little while then went back to the cabin to sleep.  The actual trip from Helsinki to Tallinn is only two and half hours, but without the cabin we would have disembarked in Tallinn at midnight without anywhere to sleep.  So we sleep, waking this morning at 6am, I am so not a morning person, and neither is Lotus, yeah she takes after Auntie Tracey in so many ways.  She does talk in her sleep though, which is something I don't do.
Here in Tallinn, it is pouring with rain and is about 11°.  Yes I am freezing, thank you so much Elissa for the wonderful North face jacket, without I would be frozen to death....  Anyway here we have no idea what to do so we got onto the Hop on Hop off City Sightseeing bus and off we went.  This tour on the red line, took about an hour and ended up being a wonderful way to see the city.  After we finished this first bus tour we jumped straight onto another bus - the green line, and saw different parts of the city.  So another hour is gone, it is so hard to try and take photos from a moving bus, with rain on the windows, so the pictures that I took are not as great as I would have liked, but at least I got some taken to show off and prove that we were here.
After the second bus tour, we decided to head to the hotel that we were going to go to for lunch.  So for an hour Lauree and I sat in the foyer of this hotel and the kids played in the kids room while we waited till 12pm for the restaurant to open.  We head up stairs at 11.55am and go into the restaurant which is a buffet, with not much to choose from, but for the 5 of us, 2 adults and Jasper the meal came to 486EEK (Estonian Krones) and converted to something like €40, which we were very impressed with.  Everything is so cheap over here.  Compared to the euro the bus tour cost Lauree and I 250EEK each, €16, hehehe.  After we finish lunch, it is still teeming with rain so we decide to go for a quick walk around Old Town, before getting on the 2pm blue line bus, the one we haven't done yet.  This is another wonderful tour, and again we see different parts of Estonia and hear more about the history.  After this bus, 3pm we only have 2 more hours to do something so yeah you got it, we got onto another bus...  This was the red line yet again, but this time even though it is still raining we get off at the Palace!!  Whish is not exactly a Palace, in fact it appears to be nothing but a park...  So we take some photos, use the awful WC (toilets) and then try to work out where we catch the bus to go back to the terminal to get the ferry home. 
It is amazing the heritage here in Estonia.  It is such as old town / city in Tallinn. Listening to the travel / tour guide speak of the German and Soviet rule over the country of Estonia and the separation from Russian rule makes me very glad to be an Australian and not have to have gone through alot of the stuff that these Baltic countries have been through historically.  The city of Tallinn has Old Town and New Town, which the tour guide spoke of, but truth be told I am not sure of the history behind it, I was quite tired and didn't really listen that well (I guess that is why I didn't do well in school hey!!)  I think the only thing I did pick up was about the Soviet rule, which Lauree thinks is quite funny, but it seemed to be the one thing that all 3 tour buses spoke about so of course it is the one thing I am going to remember, now I am trying google Estonia for all of you just to give you a little history lesson hahaha...  Nah I am only joking.
Anyway we are finally now back at the terminal waiting for boarding to start - wait a minute it started an hour ago, crap lets hurry to find somewhere to sit.  We finally get on board the ferry and actually to our surprise find a table in the dancing hall.  We plop ourselves down and wait for the ferry to start and get us home.  Finally at 6.30pm we are off, on our way home, away from this wet miserable but beautiful place.  Hang on it has stopped raining - typical.
The cruise back, two and half hour is so rough that people are getting seasick.  Me I am happy to be sitting, still wet, but sitting reading.  I am reading a book about a boat accident, go figure.  But it is a great book none-the-less.  Lauree tells me that people from Finland do this trip on the ferry just to bee able to buy the alcohol, and other things duty free.  The amount of people here that have trolleys full on cases of gin and beer is unbelievable.  I can actually understand what she means.  It would cost something like €28 to do the return trip and then to buy the alcohol cheaper would actually work out to be in the passengers advantage.  I thought about buying some Baileys Crème but decided against it.  If I want anything I will get it in Singapore on my way home.
We finally got home last night at 11.30pm and boy was it a welcome relief to be here.  Although I swear I was still rocking, Lauree was walking around pretending to be drunk, because seriously we couldn't stay still without swaying.  How on earth are we going to cope with the Greek Island cruise, will be interesting, lets hope we don't get seasick.
Ok so that is my last two days, today is a day at home reading, washing.  So not sure when my next instalment will be, I will try to get another one in before I leave here on Saturday but not too sure what we are going to do for the next 2 days.  Will keep you all informed.
Love to all
Oh yeah - I forgot to mention (or have I?)  I got Mormoned...  Apparently a couple of Mormon ladies came around a week or so before I got here and Lauree mentioned that her sister was coming to visit so they came back when they knew I would be here and dropped me off my own Mormon book (I can't bring myself to call it a bible.. it is not).  They were lovely ladies, one from Estonia and the other from America, who believe it is their mission to convert all here in Finland to Mormonism.  I got my Bible out (thanks Shaz) but didn't preach to them, not what I do...  But it was strange to see the detail they go into with the books they give out.  I am keeping it just to show people at home how much care they take in trying to convert.
On that note I am off shopping (grocery) going to do some major shopping here before I leave though, things are cheap.  
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