Tallinn, before I moved to Finland I had never heard of the likes of you and could not place your small country on a map. But I am sure glad we’ve been introduced now. What Joensuu is lacking in old world charm, you sure make up for it. With your pastel-colored medieval buildings and cozy cafés, you have won my heart. Your hidden nooks, used as viewing platforms, as the sky is painted pink in the evenings, well that’s just the cherry on top.
After almost missing our train to Helsinki and then a quick ferry over the Baltic Sea, we’ve spent the past four days exploring the city of Tallinn. I highly recommend it. Old Town is pretty wonderful. Although it can be pretty touristy in some parts, I just couldn’t get enough of all the colorful buildings and cobblestone roads (though we’ve decided that’s why we are having feet/knee pains now). I don’t think that I’ve ever, purposefully, sat outside to eat a meal when it’s below 45 degrees, but that’s just what this town does to you. The outdoors call your name, the atmosphere is just too good to pass up. Amongst the beautiful churches and history of secret KGB headquarters, I think my favorite part of the trip was the visit to a certain giant slab of concrete. The concrete rooftop was built by the Soviets for the Olympic regatta of 1980. The rooftop in itself was not all that spectacular, but the view from the top was unbeatable. There was a little of Old Town to your left, the sea in front, and downtown Tallinn to your right. Sitting up top, watching the ferries come and go while the sun sets, is my idea of a good time.
But our trip was not without mishaps. For starters, we almost missed our train. I know I mentioned that earlier and you were picturing us running through the train station, hair blowing in the wind, jumping on the train just in time and then giggling at the close call. I wish. There we were waiting in line to print out our tickets, just 10 minutes before departure. Of course it was a long line and the machine was slow, that makes it all the more exciting. So our turn, with about 5 minutes left, and we can not figure out how to print the tickets. We ask the Finnish person behind us, no help. Our only other option is to go to the help desk, where the line is even longer. We both stand there in line, looking at the clock, then each other, panicking (well I’m panicking). Here are our options: wait in line and by the time we get to talk to someone it would be too late OR go get on the train and cross our fingers they won’t kick us off. It was a no brainer, we would take our chances with the train bouncers. I don’t think either of us took a breath as the ticket man was walking down our aisle. In my head I’m trying to formulate a backup plan if our email confirmation doesn’t work. Can I beg? Start crying? Offer him some of our trail mix we packed for a snack? Luckily I didn’t have to do any of those. The tickets worked. And for the other bloopers, well Scott almost ate it face first into the cobblestone walking down some stairs (I actually consider this a high point, since there is nothing funnier than falling…but I’m considering the general population’s views here). We also walked around in a circle at one point looking for a hotel, only to find out that we had literally been standing right in front of it to start with. These are the real life stories.
P.S. We had our first Tex-Mex meal in over a month right here in Tallinn. Who knew they’d have their very own “Honky Tonk Texas Cantina”! Now I’m craving it again more than ever.