Have you ever set foot in Estonia? Ever thought about it? Nah, I didn’t think so.
For most Danes, Estonia is not high on the list over places that they want to visit. Instead, people would choose to go to London, Paris or New York for a city holiday. But I think that it’s a real shame, because Estonia has played a huge role in the history of Denmark. It was here that the Danes, as the first country in the World, received their national flag, when Dannebrog fell down from the sky during the Battle of Lyndanisse in 1219, which led to the Danish King Valdemar II defeating the Estonians in a battle that the Danes had almost lost.
So because of the huge impact that Estonia has had on my countries history and the fact that the Estonians so greatly wish to become a part of the Nordic countries, I decided to fulfill their wish and make them a part of my Nordic journey.
Since I was already in Helsinki, which is only a 2,5 hours boat ride away from Tallin, the capital of Estonia, I decided to book a one-day cruise that would take me from one capital of one country to another capital of another country. I bought a ticket from Viking Line for just 20 Euro, which I thought was really cheap, but due to some poor customer service and a terrible leg-day, it ended up costing me 12 Euros more. But more about that later.
In the morning of May 6th, just an hour before I was leaving the hostel in Helsinki, Doris told me that she wanted to join me on my day cruise, which I thought was great. It would be lovely having some company while exploring Tallin! Luckily, she was able to buy a ticket at the check-in for 25 Euros and we boarded the ship together and spent the next 2,5 hours talking and playing cards. When we arrived in Estonia, a beautiful sight of Tallin met us; half old city and half new city, Tallin is really the capital of contrast. In the center of the city, all the old buildings and streets have been preserved and I felt like I was in the Middle Ages, when we were walking about the old streets. Outside the old center, tall, modern buildings dominate the skyline and it creates a great contrast to the old town.
Doris and I only had 3,5 hours to explore the city, which was nowhere near enough time, as Tallin is freaking amazing! We walked in through the town wall that surrounds the old city center and started our sightseeing tour at the St. Olaf’s Church, where we paid 2 Euros each to walk to the top of the stairs in the cathedral. There were 232 steps and it was really tough, but the view at the top was so worth it! Tallin is such a beautiful city and it should definitely be seen from above to really see and understand the contrasts of the city.
After getting down the stairs again, we walked around the old town, saw the Russian-styled Aleksander Nevski cathedral and many other beautiful churches. We came across a big, cozy square with a market place, and saw street-painters and people dressed in medieval clothing all over. It was truly a wonderful experience to see such a lively, yet old city and the beauty of Tallin puts many of the more famous European capitals to shame.
An hour before we had to be back on the ship, we decided to go to the modern part of town and have a drink at Cat Café Nurri, the only cat café in town, which was sooo cool! I love cat cafés! There were six beautiful cats to cuddle with and we had a nice chat with the owner and his cute daughter, who honestly has the most beautiful eyes, I’ve ever seen.
Unfortunately, we had to leave early for the ferry, so we said goodbye and started walking towards the harbour. We soon realized that we were running very late, so we decided to run, but after climbing up those 232 steps, my legs were completely dead, so only Doris made it to the ferry in time. I got there just two minutes after the gates had closed, and even though Doris told them to wait for me, and the ferry wasn’t leaving for another 20 minutes, they wouldn’t let me on – no matter what I did. It would’ve taken them two seconds, but instead they chose to ruin my day and make me pay for another company to take me back to Helsinki. I’m really not happy with the way Viking Line treats their customers and in my opinion, their customer service is practically non-existent.
So, I bought a ticket from Eckerö Line For 12 Euros, but it turned out to be okay, as there was a live band with dancing for elderly people, which was quite enjoyable to watch.
All in all, I had a lovely day with Doris in Estonia, but I could easily have spent so much more time walking about the streets of beautiful Tallin! And if you ever feel like going on a city holiday, forget about Paris and all the other overrated city destinations – do yourself a favor and head to Tallin, Estonia!