In 1712, Peter the Great established the city of St. Petersburg and declared it “the window to the Europe” or so I have been told many times by my lovely students.
St. Petersburg has the best transport connections from Russia to Estonia and Finland so I continued my journey into Europe on a very comfortable Ecolines coach for 22EUR.
The journey was six hours including the border, but we had free wifi, plug sockets, tea and coffee and a tv screen with films which you can watch if you remember to leave your earphones in your handbag.
When Peter the Great inherited Russia it was severely behind the more prosperous countries in Europe as it was avoiding modernisation and westernisation by keeping isolated [source]. In many ways I still feel a huge difference between Russia and Europe, even though they’re on the same continent. Maybe it was the modern passport control, or the wind turbines and green fields but although it was my first time in Estonia, I immediately felt at home when we crossed the border.
The border crossing was fast and smooth. We all got off the bus and got pink passport stamps for leaving Russia, and got back on the bus to continue our journey towards Tallinn.
We arrived into Tallinn at 23:35, so I took a taxi to Marta Guesthouse. I was arriving a little later than the usual check-in, so they had given me the door code and I found the room with my name on it up the creaky stairs.
I loved this little place, it was very vintage looking in a beautiful house. My room was on the top floor with a tiny attic window looking out onto the other houses in the street.
The Guesthouse was just outside the city centre, so the next morning I used Google maps to help me find the tram route as it looked a bit of a walk. The tram was really easy to use, paying your 2EUR into a little box so the driver can give you a ticket.
As soon as I saw we were close to the old city, I got off the tram and just wandered.
Everywhere was beautiful.
It started pouring with rain so I ran into a gap in the wall and climbed to the top to this very expensive cafe. I was going to wait for the rain to stop but 5EUR for a cappuccino seemed a little too much.
I kept walking until I found the little streets where I went into all of the souvenir shops and finally some lovely, cheaper cafes. I stopped in Il Cortile for coffee and cookies, a little chilly for ice cream!
The rain was no problem for these tourists. Luckily I had my umbrella so I didn’t have to use my orange poncho…
I had been optimistic, and finally the sun came out and Tallinn turned even more beautiful.
Lots of cobbled streets and archways, and windows. Sometimes when I take a picture of a window, tourists walking past do a double take, wondering if they’ve missed some very important site that they need to photograph.
Nope, just a pretty window.
And the only thing better than a window is a view.
Surprisingly tourist free, I only saw about six people, but the city wall can be walked along for 3EUR.
Where are the people?! This place had the most amazing view of the city which didn’t even look real.
So, so nice. And I was so happy that I got a blue sky.
To end my day in Tallinn, I decided to go “Vegan Restoran V” (Rataskaevu, 12) which I had found on Happy Cow using the app. I sat outside and spent ages trying to decide what to eat – the only problem with vegan restaurants is that you have so many options.
I definitely made the right choice, although the snack platter at the next table did look amazing. This was “spicy peanut butter tofu with vegetable quinoa and tomato coconut sauce” and the nicest thing I’ve ever eaten.
I got the tram back to my room and got ready for my journey to Riga.