When we disembarked from our cruise ship into Tallinn’s port this summer, I knew that we were about to spend a day in a great country. During the cruise booking process, I was excited that we were going to be going to Estonia; the allure of a country not very well known was calling. In the end, it turned out to be an amazing experience!
Stepping off the ship, it was only a mere 15 walk from the port to the heart of town. This meant that you really got to see the town in a better light, due to being able to take a leisurely walk and soaking everything in. Walking up the cobbled streets was an experience in its own right: it felt homely and inviting. The small, one way traffic harkens back to a day where nobody was in a rush to get to places and where people enjoyed the small thing s in life-my kind of city. The moment that I really knew that I was in Tallinn was when I walked under Fat Margaret tower; seeing the tower that you probably have seen in most pictures of Tallinn up close and personal was surreal. Being on the cruise ship, you imagine what exotic sights you’ll be seeing when on land, and this far surpassed my expectations!
Once I was in the old town, I took an excellent free tour run by students, which helped acquaint me with the city. We went all over the old town, which was a magnificent way to spend the day; old town Tallinn is beautiful! We got to see the medieval Kiek in de Kök tower (which is high German for “peep in the kitchen”) with its now funny name, to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral that was built for the Russians in the country, to the old cobblestone streets, to the national monument, to the gorgeous Tallinn skyline. I’ve put up pictures of the skyline on this blog, but for those that haven’t seen it, I was able to look out and see the blend of old buildings combined with the newer, modern ones. The tour was great and
After the tour, I took shelter in an underground, side street restaurant from the now-pouring rain. I’m happy that I stumbled upon this place, as it offered cheap yet hearty meals; it cost me about $14 or so for a the meal and a beer. I’m pretty sure the employees weren’t expecting an American to stumble in to their establishment, but they were warm and friendly; my stab at saying a few words in the Estonian language probably didn’t hurt. Unfortunately after this, I didn’t have enough time to hang around and explore, much to my chagrin, as I had to make it back to the ship. My one regret while in Estonia was the fact that I didn’t have enough time to get to know the country and city better-I plan on coming back another time!
Overall, the people were great and the place was amazing. I felt bad about not speaking more in Estonian, but they’re warm people and responded back in English. Honestly, it has to be one of my favorite cities I’ve ever been to due it’s charm of an old city yet moving forward in a fast direction. If I had to recommend a country to travel to, Estonia is high up on that list; it’s hard to not to fall in love with it. I’m pretty sure I could spend significant time in the future there!