Published: August 3rd 2006August 3rd 2006
This time I had a bed to sleep on. The last time I caught the cruise ship from Turku to Stockholm I had the floor as a bed but this time was different, I had a cabbin. We set sail from Stockholm bound for Tallinn. Everyone crowded on to the sun deck and gazed out over the waters as they sipped thier beers. Feet up, I joined in the relaxing activities while being serenaded by the small band piping out a few ancient sea chanties.
Later that night we were given a performance in the theater. It was a cross between The Grinch and Mirrormask and I had no idea what was going on, but it was pretty fun though.
Sharing my cabbin with 3 other men was not fun, especially when I came in at 1am. The first thing that hit me, like a punch in the face, was the pungent stench of mouldy rotten feet and the second thing that ripped through my ears was the most obnoxious snore that even hollywood couldn't make up. I plugged my ears, covered my eyes with a mask because he had the damn light on and put my nose in
One of the entrance's to the Old Town
my arm pit for it smelt a lot better than his feet. I actually managed to sleep rather well however.
Sailing into Tallinn was a great sight. The first thing that you notice is the Old Town. Church spires and very colourful buildings make it look like a theme park. I managed to secure a dorm with 14 other people (the most yet). However, the hostel is in the heart of the Old Town which is the most picturesque and well preserved of all I have seen. I was rather stuffed and very hungry as I had not eaten since breakfast the day before, so when I passed a glorious little place called the Olde Hansa I couldn't refuse. The whole of old town is medieval. Some parts have not changed for 500 - 600 years and this restaurant fit into the medieval theme like a perfect fitting glove. A little kitsch but thoroughly entertaining, this eatery serves me beer in a stone mug and a meal of which I mostly didn't recognise to be eaten with "weapons", served by a man who spoke in some ancient medieval tone of voice. Surreptitious speakers spouted a mens choir singing in
chants, it was all so well done and set the scence for surroundings that I would soon discover. It was rather expensive espeically for ye olde backpackere like me but was worth a good splurge.
While wandering around I ran into Jurgen and Christian, the Austrians I met in Stockholm. They were on a day trip from Helsinki so we strolled around the medieval surroundings. The Old Town comprises of two tiers, the upper and lower. The Upper, where I met the guys, is bursting at the seams with cathedrals, castles and the oldest church in Estonia dating back to an impressive 800 years (although the exterior dating back to an unimpressive 700 years). The lower part is much larger and is still surrounded by it's 2.5km defensive wall. The wall itself, which has inevitably crumbled over time, is a remarkable part of the town skyline.
The cafés and bars are an integral part of Tallinn and the town is rife with them. From little street side cafés to full blown night clubs, the nightlife in Tallinn is alive and well.
I also got out of the old town (which not many tourists seem to do) to
Olde Hansa Staff
One of the men who served me
see the modern parts of town. There is a fair bit of construction going on and it can be seen that it is a city on the rise. However after an hour or so, I felt the need to go back to the old town.
I left Tallinn and made my way to the train station. I couldn't work out the local busses so I had to take the train of which there were only two of them. After two hours and a bit, I arrive in Pärnu... or at least I think I did. There was one sign but other than that nothing. It didn't seem like the sort of place to be dropped off. It turned out that it was about 6km from the town itself so I had to work out the local bus system, payed my 10 Kroon and away I went.
Pärnu is a nice little town, quiet and pretty. It also is famous for the beach. Estonians and Fins alike all swarm here during the summer months to bask on the pretty decent beach. The only problem for me is that it is currently pouring with rain and so there aren't exactly
Olde Hansa beer mug
Full of Honey Beer. Mmmmm
swarms of people on the beach. I would like to stay here a bit longer but I have accommodation booked in Riga for tommorrow. People who know me know I don't book accommodation in advance but I did it because I was assured I would miss out if I didn't. Apparently Riga is very popular in the summer.
So that's it. I have one more gripe I think I might share with you. The phone system here in Estonia is crap. The only way that I have seen to make an international phone call is to buy a phone card and use the public phone box. The problem is that 100 Kroon, which is about £5, lasts about 3 to 4 minutes which totally sucks when your trying to wish your grandmother a happy birthday and you get cut off soon after. So sorry grandma, happy birthday!
Cheers all for the comments, I'm having a great time, next blog from Latvia
There are more photos below