Pulling into the harbor in Tallinn
An early morning rise this morning as we were setting off to Tallinn, Estonia in the former Soviet Union. This was the part of the trip I was most looking forward to. Growing up during the Cold War and hearing so much about the Soviet Union, it was amazing that I was going to be stepping foot here, albeit for just a day. The ferry crossing into Estonia took a little over an hour and as we pulled into the Tallinn, remnants of the Soviet era quickly caught my eye. In fact, the harbor that we pulled into, Linnahall, looks like a military fortification but is actually a former Soviet era concert hall and ice hockey rink. From the top of this complex, we could easily see Tallinn's Old Town, one the best preserved medieval cities in Europe.
Fat Margaret Cannon Tower
Walking towards the walled Old Town, we entered through the Fat Margaret Tower and made our way through the cobblestoned streets. It's hard to imagine that just 25 years prior, this was part of the Soviet Union. Today, the Old Town is a thriving tourist area bustling with commercialism. Admiring the buildings of the Old Town, we eventually made it to Raekoja Plats, the Old Town's main square. It was still a bit too early for lunch but we found a small outdoor restaurant in the main square where we had some Estonian Beer, pizza, and just people watched in the warm Estonian sun. After lunch, we continued our exploration of the Old Town by making our way over to Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. A unique looking cathedral with it's onion domes, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a beautiful Eastern Orthodox cathedral that we were unfortunately unable to enter as a service seemed to be taking place.
Fat Margaret Cannon Tower
Nearby is St. Mary's Cathedral. This cathedral doesn't appear too remarkable but they did allow you to climb to the top of one of the spires. We paid our small admission fee, climbed to the top, and had wonderful views of the surrounding spires of the Old Town, the onion domes of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, as well as the modern buildings out in the distance. From St. Mary's we wandered over to the nearby Patkuli Viewpoint, a popular viewing terrace which had great views over the Old Town towards the sea. By now, we still had a few hours to kill before our scheduled return ferry. After walking around the Old Town, we weren't quite sure of what else we should do. I knew that I wanted to visit the popular Depeche Moe Bar in Tallinn but I had hoped to visit a little later in the day.
Exploring Tallinn's Old Town
However with not much else to do, we might as well visit now. This bar was 100% devoted to the popular British band from the 80s and 90s with a hardcore following including myself. It has become so well known amongst their fans that the band has even visited on many occasions. With Depeche Mode songs playing in the background, we explored the bar looking at all the posters and memorabilia before ordering some drinks named after Depeche Mode songs. After the bar, I received a text notification that our return ferry would be delayed by 2 hours. We killed time during the next few hours just wandering the side streets, souvenir shopping in the quaint shops, and having snacks and drinks at small cafes. Eventually our time in Estonia had come to an end and we spent the entire hour of the return trip to Helsinki napping after a rather long day. Back in Helsinki, I decided to end our trip by treating everyone to an expensive dinner at a place called Strindberg on the Esplanade. After dinner, we wandered the surprisingly quiet and empty streets soaking in the late evening sun one last time before heading back to the hotel to pack for our return trip home tomorrow.