Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Helsinki to Tallinn, August 23

We had an early morning with a rushed-but-tasty hotel breakfast in order to catch the short ferry from Finland to Estonia.  The ferry didn't have "seats" as such, but we sort of squatted at an out-of-the-way bar table and dozed through most of the trip.  We happened to be perched midway between a large bar where a horn-heavy band was playing dance music, and a smaller bar where a soulful guitar-wielding Finn was singing songs like "Hotel California" ... phonetically.  Maybe the weirdest dreams of my life.

Then, Tallinn.  We were staying in the Old Town, which is one of the best-preserved old towns in Europe with some buildings and fortifications dating from the 13th century.  Everywhere we went in Tallinn, I felt like we'd stepped into a fantasy novel or a fairy tale.  Pictures are probably best:

We had lunch at Kompressor, a divey "pancake" place, but the pancakes were much more like hefty (delicious) crepes.  We enjoyed a walking tour with our guide Mari, had dinner at a local spot, and then some after-dinner drinks at a bar called Clazz.

By this point in the trip, speculation about the upcoming Big Reveal was starting to heat up.  I should explain: on this trip, for the first few days no one was allowed to reveal where they were from, where they'd gone to school, what they'd studied, and (if traveling in a couple) which member of the couple was the Northwestern student.  We'd all gotten to know each other by this point, and people were having a lot of fun guessing each others' life stories.

After dinner and drinks, we returned to our basic-but-serviceable hostel in the heart of Old Town for a good night's sleep.