Eastern Europe and the Far East are my 2 favourite travel destinations.
I’d been running numbers on some trips and Tallinn looked a good fit.
The way I do it is:
Calculate the cost of the flight.
Calculate the cost of accommodation.
Calculate the cost to/from the airport at both ends (I call this the 3rd cost).
The 3rd cost is the one too watch. It constantly surprises me when people find a flight for £60 and then end up spending £40 to get from the airport at the other end because they’ve chosen “cheap” accommodation in the middle of nowhere.
Our accommodation was quite cheap (it used to be some sort of embassy I was told).
They also played a bit of a trick on us, that I’d not seen before. On hostelworld.com our 3 rooms were quoted as having “private” bathrooms.
This is normally the same thing as an en-suit bathroom, but in this case they’d been flexible in the use of language.
There were several central locked doors, with 4 rooms in each 1. Each of these main rooms had a bathroom, so it was private to the 4 people in these rooms.
Basic accommodation, but in every other way perfect for our needs.
We get checked in and head out for the afternoon.
Our first stop is the port. Since were so close to Helsinki, we’ve decided to spend the following day there. It will be an early start so we decide to buy the tickets the day before.
This area near the booking office, really captured the “communist concrete” theme of yesteryear.
The nice thing about Tallinn is it also has an amazing old town with some fantastic things to see as well.
We wander back through the town and the sun has come out.
The Margaret wall <details>
View from the top of the Margaret Wall.
It’s thirsty work wandering around in the sunshine, so we stop for a few drinks.
Everywhere we went (and I mean EVERYWHERE) had free wifi.
Tallinn is a very innovative and technology centric city after all. Skype was invented here.
The following day were off to Helsinki, but the day after were up early and back exploring Tallinn.
We kick off with a walk around Kadriorg park.
A few of the “must see” sights are calling us to photograph them.
St Nicholas Church.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
St Mary’s Cathedral.
We wander over to Tallin town hall.
Raekoja plats, is the square next to the town hall, and the main social centre of the town.
A lovely day and lots of people were was relaxing in the square.
We decided to join in and have a couple of drinks.
Each of the chairs came with a woolly fleece for people who were cold.
Time for a deeper dive into the country and its history. The museum of occupation.
I grew up during the cold war, so communism, the former soviet union and the Warsaw pact have always been interesting to me.
The building is very modern and contemporary and features a lecture theatre.
It explained a lot about the 2nd world war. I didn’t fully understand but something about before the war some of the young men had been sent off to support Hitler. Later, the Soviets invaded and many of the men from Tallinn went off to fight the Nazis.
Due to geopolitics, many Estonian’s fought each other during 2nd world war.
Some old soviet cars.
An example of where something that sounds quite romantic is, in reality nothing of the kind.
When Glenn and I visited Budapest, we spoke to the woman who ran our hostel. The conversation turned to a Trebant which she had.
I said it looked quite cool and retro. She said to drive it was awkward and difficult and she hated it.
Tallinn is on the coast, and there was a section about fishing.
When the communists took over, all fishing boats were “owned” by the state.
If you had a fishing boat, it would be locked up at night and the soldiers would unlock the boat house in the morning to allow you to go out for the days catch.
When you came back, all your fish would be confiscated and you would be paid a tiny wage by the government.
From what I read people were really unhappy, but what could they do.
Some artefacts from the communist era like clocks and radios.
Afterwards we head to a local bar for a few drinks (this is johnsunter.com after all, and I’m no David Attenburough ).
Perhaps because of its location so close to Skandenavia, Ice Hockey is a very popular sport there and everyone was watching it.