Estonia – Tallinn (13 Dec 2017)
It’s the 2nd straight night (12 Dec) that we were going to take a 4 hour bus ride. This time from Riga to Tallinn in Estonia. We took the Ecolines bus which was affordably priced at about 14 euros per person.
The seats were pretty comfy, and each seat also came with a screen (not that we used it – we made use of the time to catch up on some sleep).
After 4 hours, we finally reach Tallinn. The fact that we could get from 1 capital city to another within just 4 hours is pretty cool. Actually come to think of it, it’s pretty similar for Singapore to KL – 2 capital cities. It’s just that there was no need to do immigration checks between Latvia and Estonia since they were both in the EU, which sped up the travel quite a bit.
We took a 30 min walk through various residential estates from the bus station to our hotel – not the wisest choice given that parts of the floor was slippery (with ice). Though we opted for this as it gave us a night view of Tallinn.
Anyways, first impressions of Tallinn – very well maintained, prettified (just like Riga), perhaps a little too similar. I guess we’ll find out more about the city when we wake up the following day.
Viru Gate (Viru värav) was the our first glimpse of the old town.
One difference between Riga and Tallinn that I did notice, was that Tallinn seemed to have a lot more “medieval” elements to it – stone tunnels, stone walls etc. St Catherine’s Passage is one of the most beautiful accessible walkways that exemplified the medieval atmosphere.
Our accommodation of choice was a place called 16eur – Old Town Munkenhof: perhaps so named because some of its rooms cost 16 euros. Ours cost slightly more than that, I think – just a barebones room with a shared bathroom. WiFi was a bit spotty as well – but other than that, no complaints for the price as the place was clean and warm enough.
The next morning the full beauty of Tallinn was on display. It felt like I was in a medieval RPG (Role Playing Game) at times!
The medieval walls and watchtowers were really nice to look at, and gave Tallinn the edge over Riga in my opinion.
As usual, there was a Christmas market in town that day.
There was an old school pharmacy in the town centre:
There were all kinds of mysterious stuff on display. Pretty cool!
We were feeling a little hungry at this point (since we didn’t have breakfast), so we decided to get something from the Christmas market.
There was a store selling all sorts of “weird” stuff, ranging from beaver tails to, I don’t know, cured bear meat?
We then headed into a tavern where the staff were all dressed up in medieval garb. I really like the feel of this place! Even though it’s all super touristy 🙂
As with most European cities, there are a ton of churches, so we headed into one.
The weather was perfect today – sunny and with the right amount of sunlight for great photos.
We were kind of done with the rather compact and pretty Old Town by this point, and decided to venture out to the more modern parts of the city.
Not too sure how the prices compare, but generally Estonia isn’t really a cheap place. However, it’s probably still cheap for the Scandinavians – I did read that the Finnish like to come to Estonia because of the lower prices (Tallinn’s just a rather short ferry ride away from Helsinki).
Our destination was the Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour (or Maritime Museum), located pretty far out. We took a lovely stroll through the residential parts. Sometimes it’s nice just to walk through less touristy places to check out how the locals live, and who knows, maybe to explore future places to settle or migrate to?t
The main attraction in the museum is the 1936 submarine Lembit, which was ordered by Estonia from the United Kingdom.
The submarine interior was really tight as could be expected. Can’t imagine living in one of these for months on end (and certainly a person as tall as me wouldn’t be assigned to a submarine).
We spent some time having a little fun putting on different naval outfits and getting our photos taken at the free photo booth.
There was also a free 4D show (within a small submarine).
It was going to be a very, very long ride back to Vilnius, with a stopover at Riga. Total travel time was expected to be 8 hours, so we would probably reach Vilnius past midnight. It’s too bad we couldn’t fly from Tallinn directly to our next destination (Kiev in Ukraine), because going to Tallinn was a last minute decision made during the trip, and the flight ticket from Vilnius to Kiev had been booked long before.
The bus ride was pretty affordable and comfy though.
We had about 1.5 hours in Riga during the stopover, and decided to pop into a restaurant.
Dinner was a bit of a rushed affair – we only had an hour or so before our bus departure in the evening all the way back to Vilnius in Lithuania, and the slow service speed didn’t help.
I had fish – pretty good actually – about 16 euros.
And unfortunately, Xiuling’s cod stew took such a long time to come that we just decided to ask them for a takeaway order instead. They didn’t have disposable cutlery and so, just told us to take the clunky steel knife/fork.
This entry was posted in Estonia, Europe, Honeymoon
- beaver tail
- christmas market
- Ecolines bus
- Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour
- Old Town Munkenhof
- Viru Gate