Båt på Tallinn.

10/09/2007 05:53:00 pm

Going to Estonia seemed to me like it was one of those cool things that I'd never to fit in around class and find money for and get around to doing. And then we found out that there was a deal on over the weekend where you could get return tickets for 129 crowns (22 AUD). So I got around to going.

When we got on the boat in Stockholm on Saturday afternoon, there was a slight problem with one Australian girl being 19 because these boats have an age limit of 21. Mainly because most of the people who catch them are old, but I guess there's a legal thing too (that's why we were surprised it was being enforced). The check-in lady said she couldn't come on the ferry without a guardian, and that guardian had to be over 30, which clearly none of us were. So she walked up to a random Swedish lady in the terminal, who also happened to be a police officer, and got her to agree to being her guardian. And they say people aren't kind to strangers in Sweden, ha.

Lauren and I stocked up in the duty free, then drank some bad wine. We should have expected it to bad since it was packaged in something fairly similar to a long-life juice box, and I must say I had my suspicions before we bought it, but there's nothing quite like confirmation. You know, the Swedes invented the tetrapac? Anyway.. Somehow we ended up in the ball pit in the children's playground for a while. Those things are just as much fun as I remember, although the balls didn't seem to be as deep. Next time I go to IKEA I will get in to the ball pit. I will.

At some point in the night I ended up in the karaoke bar, where Matt, Chelsey and I sang Bohemian Rhapsody. Badly I think. And I'd forgotten just how many instrumentals it has, and that's always awkward in karaoke. Especially when the audience isn't really with you. In retrospect, the reason the Estonians weren't really in on the song was probably not because it was bad (though like I say, I'm pretty sure it was), but because it was in english. Every other karaoke song that night came in the form of an Estonian pop song. I'd never really associated the slavic languages with pop. I still don't.

Tallinn is really very lovely. Kind of creepy in an ex-Soviet way. But still very lovely. Creepy as in, even in the touristy Old Town where we spent the day, when we ventured away from the main streets we found a hovel, complete with blankets and magazines, in a broken part of the town wall. And also because it was Sunday, the streets were kind of deserted, so wandering around some of the old buildings was just, well, creepy. Even though the majority of these old buildings were run down though, covered in grafiti, or with broken windows and rusting barbed wire around the doors, most of them had satellite dishes. I guess it's just a thing about how we perceive our surroundings.

The old and the new. The spire (I cut the top off) is part of the gothic Town Hall, actually the oldest town hall in Europe. I think it dates from the 1300s.
The old but beautiful.

The beautiful: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Built by 1900 and seen by many as a symbol (negative) of the Russian occupation, but restored and maintained anyway.
The old: the Town Walls. We paid 7 Estonian krooni, less than one dollar, to climb up inside the walls and towers. The first foundations were laid in the 1300s when the city was part of the Hanseatic leauge. Cindy got startled by a pigeon.

Speaking of perception, we stopped to get a snack at a convenience store, and there was a bread stand with little danishes in it. Thought I, ooooh, a Danish, I'll get this one that looks like the label says apricot. Mmmmn, I was thinking as I bit in to it, expecting apricot jam. How surprised was I when it had a sausage inside it! I couldn't eat it. I was prepared for jam, not sausage, and there was just no going back.

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