More Baltics

Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Estonia  ,
Monday, February 2, 2009

You know, these two day trips kill me. Up early, run around places for two days, late night flight back to London, four hours sleep, and then work. As much as I say I've got to stop it, I know I won't, but every now and then, I take an extra day, and trust me, it's relaxing, and it is high time I had another one
The Plan
Fly to Tallinn, spend three days, fourth day fly back, and that will be the Baltic set of capitals out of the way.
Day 1
Even though we were going for longer, we still had an early flight !!! Due to the time difference, we landed at 12:00ish, grabbed a bus and found the town. Our place was pretty much in the centre of town. Bags dumped, we hit it. From the start, there were walls. They were pretty impressive and everywhere. In the centre was a square, and all the buildings around were built in a Germanic way, which is understandable, as it was once part of the Hanseatic league. In the centre was the town hall, and you were meant to be able to climb it's tower, but it was shut !!! We moved around looking at various buildings, and we ended up at a Russian Church. Unlike the ones in Ukraine, there were no photos allowed to be taken.
As the day rolled into the night, dinner was taken, and as this place was multi-cultural, we had Georgian. It was nice, over priced, minimalistic, but the wine went down a treat !!!
Day 2
Thankfully, this place does not have a Starbucks, but the Baltic's have their own version. Double Coffee. So we had breakfast there, and then moved on. As we walked, my Jewdar went off. There was no Synagogue, but in the guild area, the buildings were pretty much all designed by Jewish architects. They were sort of art-deco style. Very impressive. At the house of the Blackheads, it stated that Tallinn, London, Brugges and Bergen were all members of the Hanseatic League. Not to self, go to Bergen to complete the set !!! Next up was the former headquarters of the KGB. Closed, and so was the church next door with the tower you could climb !!! Into the Russian markets we went, and unlike the one in Phnom Penh , everything was written in Cyrillic, Sala was being sold, and everyone looked dodgy !!! Babushkas everywhere, but no photos !!! Across was the wooden house district, much bigger than either Riga's or Vilnius. Apparently it is now trendy to live in one of these, so the prices have sky rocketed. Afterwards, we followed the walls some more until the day ended
We decided to go local. Estonian food was like the rest of the Baltic's, dumplings and other fatty things. Different but nice
Day 3
When we awoke, the temperature was minus nine. After our Double Coffee breakfast, the temperature was now minus ten, and then minus twelve. It was fucking freezing !!! We took a walk to the beach, and fuck it was weird. Instead of sand there was first snow, then sand and then frozen sea water where the waves rolled in. We were going that way as we wanted to see a Russian monument built to honour the dead from WW2. Once there, it was really weird looking. A concrete monolith. It had been built in 1975, bulldozing over the top of a German cemetery which was there for the fallen Germans from WW2. Once the Russians had gone, the locals went back to honouring the Germans. During WW2, Estonians had fought on both sides. Now there was a nice memorial dedicated to them.
Back in town, we visited a few more churches, but once again, we were not allowed to take photos !!! Instead, we headed over to the Museum of Occupations. It was kind of small, but it told the story from when the Russians invaded in 1940, it was interesting to see especially the video about the end of the Soviet occupation in 1994.
Dinner came along again, and this time we chose Russian. On the menu, it stated that you could have stroganoff of bear, it there had been a successful hunt !!! I asked for it, and a man came out, covered in scratches and with a couple of fingers missing, and said, I'm sorry sir, I failed, there is no bear on the menu tonight, he won. So I did the only thing that was possible, herring and vodka !!! Dinner was still good though.
Day 4
We our usual breakfast before we made our way out to the airport. Our flight was due to leave at 12:00 so we would be home fairly early. Once there, we checked the web and noticed that there had been a snowfall in London and all the airports were closed. We sat and waited, and waited. There was free internet, but trust me, surfing for free, does get boring !!! Eventually, we were told that the plane would arrive and leave at 20:30 !!! Fuck it was boring, I've never had such a delay.
Once landed, there was some snow, but realistically, this is typical of the UK and a couple of flakes !!
And Finally
Tallinn had been good. It wasn't a cheap place, and I do want to go back, and hopefully next time, that bear hunt will be successful. Mmmmmmmmmm bear stroganoff, you got to love it !!!

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