So Long Scandinavia, Hello Baltics

Yesterday morning we packed our bags and headed to Linda Lines ferry terminal to drop them off in the luggage lockers so we would be ready to go when it was time for our express ferry to Tallinn.

In the meantime, we walked over to the local ferry terminal so we could head 15 minutes south of the city to Suomenlinna: an 18th century fortress that is the centrepiece of Finland's military history.

Suomenlinna, Helsinki, Finland

During the summer, I imagine this place to be a perfect spot for relaxing with a picnic or good book. While the fall leaves make it absolutely beautiful, it was pretty cold so we made our way quickly through the main sights, including the Suomenlinna museum - which gave an overview of the history - and the Vesikko submarine. 

Vesikko Submarine, Suomenlinna

Launched on May 10, 1933 (61 years before I was born, to the day), Vesikko was used in the Winter War and WWII, but only had one victory against the Soviet's Vyborg. You get to go inside the submarine to see the engine room, the massive torpedos which were used, and the tiny sleeping quarters that make hostel dorms seem like a 5-star hotel.

Cold but satisfied, we made our way back to the mainland after about two hours at Suomenlinna. We still had a couple of hours until our next ferry, so Rupa went to check out a sauna (because the one she tried to go to yesterday was closed) that is right by the harbour - and she even went for a dip in the icy cold Baltic Sea - while Carol went for a walk, and I found some delicious soup to warm me up.

Before we knew it, we were boarding the 2.5 hour ferry to Tallinn. Carol fell asleep almost immediately, and Rupa and I occupied ourselves for a little while. But soon, Rupa seemed very bored, and I was in the same boat (pun intended).

There was a table behind us playing cards, and Rupa made a comment about how we need to get better at coming up with games to play with the deck of cards we accidentally stole from our hostel in Sweden (we really meant to return them, but drunken escapades had a different idea). We both attempted to suggest games, the other one shutting it down for whatever reason. Finally, we decided on Go Fish. Simple, right?

Well, when you haven't played Go Fish in years, and don't have data/wifi to look up the rules, you kind of make it up as you go along. And while it was completely wrong, it was a hilarious attempt by two twenty-somethings to play a child's card game so the laughter of our failure kept us entertained for a while. The second round we managed to remember the rules - as it turns out we were majorly overthinking it. 

Upon arrival in Tallinn, we walked 10 minutes from the ferry terminal to the address of our swanky apartment in the old city. Having not made the bookings myself, I thought it was a hotel/apartment type deal that would have a reception and a sign out front. But we get to the address and there's no signs. So, realising it was an AirBnB type apartment, I call the number listed on Google, and the person who answered kept telling me their apartment was booked for that night. I kept trying to tell them that was us, and I had the booking number (which they refused to listen to). This back and forth continued for a few minutes, until they said they would call me back. When they did, they insisted that their booking was not ours. A slight panic began to settle in my stomach as I wondered if there was a mix up and we would have to find another place to sleep at almost 10:00 PM. 

Frustrated, I hang up and double check the number I got from Google with the number on the actual booking. This is a moment when the convenience of clicking the little phone symbol on a Google page isn't the best move because our booking had a different number. So I call that number and the person who answered immediately knew who we were. Phew. 

They said that they had emailed Calvin instructions, but I didn't receive them so I assumed either this person forgot to do that, or Calvin forgot to forward it to me (turns out to be the former). Regardless, they gave us instructions to pick up the key and get into the apartment and the rest of the night was smooth sailing.

The next morning we hopped on a free walking of Tallinn where we had easily one of my top three favourite walking tour guides of all times (Paris and Copenhagen being the other two). We learned about the history of Estonia and Tallinn, as well as the local life. The most interesting part in my mind as the tower that was once a prison for prostitutes. 

Prison for Prostitutes, Tallinn

We also saw the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Parliament building, and some gorgeous views of the city.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn, Estonia
View point in Tallinn, Estonia

After the tour, we all went back to the apartment. I was going to take advantage of the washing machine (which was free!) and the other two relaxed, wandered around a bit, and did some grocery shopping. I thought the laundry was going to take an hour or two at most, giving me time to explore the city a bit more. However, the dryer did not do as good of a job as I would have liked, so it was starting to get dark by the time my clothes finally dried.

And by this point, Rupa and I decided to head out for the night to enjoy hookah, a delicious Estonian restaurant, and a couple pints at a local pub which was underground. Overall, I loved Tallinn and it is definitely a city I would like to come back to.