Donnerstag, 13. August 2009

Medieval Times

Lots of Finns regularly go to Tallinn (Estonia) because the boat cruises are fairly cheap. However, Finnish people don't to go there for sightseeing, but for alcohol shopping. But I heard that the old town of Tallinn is very pretty and that's why I wanted to visit it (and my friend Päivi gladly came with me).
The day started out with rain (as so often in Finland). During the 3-hour ship voyage, it continued to rain and even got worse. The entertainment on board wasn't much better than the weather: the dance bar turned out to be a place for people aged 50 and above who like dancing waltz and the singer with this giutar sang mostly boring songs. So we continously were fighting not to fall asleep.

When we arrived in Tallinn, it was raining cats and dogs and it was super windy at the harbour. My host parents' storm-proof umbrella got partly damaged and our moods were a bit cloudy because it looked like it would never stop. However, we fought our way through the rain to the information to get a proper map and when we stepped outside, the rain had stopped and the clouds began to move away. And without an umbrella one could see so much more of the beautiful town.
Since I have never really heard anything about Tallinn or Estonia, I didn't know what to expect. But I had never imagined such a beautiful, medieval town!!! Most of the buildings from the eleven and twelve hundreds are still there and were kept in a good shape, you can hear medieval music at lots of places, and you can see lots of small alleys. So, in the 6 hours we had in Tallinn we saw: the 600-year old town hall, the Viru Gates, St. Nicholas' Church, the Olde Hansa: a medieval restaurant (Unfortunately, Päivi didn't want to eat there.), St. Olaf's Church, parts of the town wall, the Dome Church, the Stout Margaret Tower, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, and the Toompea Castle (a modern one though) with its tower.

Supposedly, you can have very good meals for small money in Tallinn. Well, not in the tourist-filled old town though! It took us quite a while to find a restaurant with half-way reasonable prices. (And since we only had 6 hours, we didn't want to walt to the new part town and back just for some food.)
The time went by way too soon and back on the ship, the music was just as bad as on the way to Estonia. However, it did get exciting again. The ship needed 3 hours to Tallinn, but 3,5 hours back to Helsinki. And that only left me half an hour to get from the harbour to the bus station. However, the buses don't leave from the harbour every 5 minutes, but have quite big gaps in between. So, when we got off the boat, we ran to the bus. But after we got on, another 50 people wanted to take this bus as well and it was getting later and later. The bus left 10 minutes late and my time to reach the bus station had shrunken to 20 minutes. The bus was supposed to take about 10 minutes to reach the train station and from there it's another 10 to get to the bus station. But luckily the bus took a different route which was much closer to the bus station and after squeezing out of the bus and a fast walk down to the buses, I had just made it in time!

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