Day 1 - Sunday 10th February 2008 - Journey to Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Itâ€™s late at night on Saturday 9th February, and I donâ€™t remember feeling quite as excited since I was a 7 year old on Christmas Eve. I had been tracking the progress of the Baltic countries since I was a 10 year old (for 8 years), and always had been desperate to visit them. Although a trip to northern latitudes in February isnâ€™t most peopleâ€™s idea of a luxury holiday, it certainly was for me. I decided to go in this month to avoid the hoards of tourist who are discovering cities like
Its 2:15am on the morning of Sunday 10th February and my excitement seems to overshadow my tiredness by a considerable amount.
We arrive at the airport terminal around 4:30am, but despite the initial check-in time being 4:55am, we are able to check-in straightaway. We are travelling by Easyjet, for the first time.
Time passes quickly in the departures area, most of it spent in Wetherspoonâ€™s. As soon as we find out which gate the flight is departing from we catch the transit train immediately.
At the gate there is a huge huddle of people carrying Estonian passports, with few Brits around.
I wake up just as the pilot announces for seatbelts to be fastened for landing. The plane experiences a short period of turbulence as we begin to descend. Then my first signs of
We head for the bus to the city centre which is waiting just outside, however it is rammed full so we decided to wait 20 mins for the next one. In the passing time, I go to the local kiosk to purchase the bus tickets, with my best attempts in Estonian. â€śPalun kahks pilet autobussiâ€ť (Roughly translated as â€ś2 bus tickets pleaseâ€ť, not exactly correct but enough to make sense), I say to the lady, who understands and smiles. We board the bus and stamp our ticket, then are off on our way to the centre.
We get off the bus in the heart of modern
Most of our initial time is spent in the tourist hotspot of Raekoja Plats (
My first proper experience of a hostile Estonian Culture is in the supermarket called â€śKaubamajaâ€ť in the Viru Keskus shopping centre. I purchase a bottle of water and head for the checkout, little am I to know about the seemingly â€śstrictâ€ť rules for buying. I say â€śTereâ€ť (Hello in Estonian) to the checkout assistant, with no reply. She almost chucks my bottle of water down the aisle, and murmurs the price to me. I hand over a few Estonian Kroons to her, which she snatches. I go to the other end of the conveyor belt to pick up the water, expecting her to hand over the change by hand. Instead, she slams it down on a small tray in front of her, meaning I had to go back and collect it. Not that I was being lazy, I just didnâ€™t expect it to be put there. However, donâ€™t let this occasionally unapproachable behaviour from Estonians put you off from visiting the country; it can be very interesting to experience their culture like this. These small things are why I enjoy travelling so much, although I hardly expected this!
Itâ€™s almost 5pm and itâ€™s starting to get dark, so we quickly head back to the hotel to drop a few items off. By then itâ€™s around 6pm and we decide to start searching for somewhere to eat. Determined not to end up in some over-priced American restaurant in the
Itâ€™s starting to get late, and we spend about an hour or so walking around the
We head back to the hotel about 9:30pm for an early night to make up for a very long day. I turn the TV, and to my surprise, I catch some of the Tartu Ski Marathon highlights on the Eurosport Channel, one of the most popular events in