And so the actual travelling/exploring part of Samantha’s Humble Tour continues! One thing I (especially as an Australian) adore about Europebigland is the close proximity of the various countries by air, land, and sea. I’ve been sharing my adventures on the first two by the bucketload, but today, I took a ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn (£18 return), with the trip being 2.5 hours each way. [As a side note, my most spontaneous ferry trip in Europe was when I went from Helsingør (Denmark) to Helsingborg (Sweden) for dinner after a Shakespeare conference day. We academics have to find an outlet somewhere.]
Since I wanted to bake a brownie-cake for Maaria’s brother’s birthday in the morning, I opted for the later ship, which gave me 4 solid hours in Tallinn.
The ship ride was super exciting, especially since this was the first time I’ve been on a cruise ship! I spent quite some time at the stern, taking a bunch of photos and generally grinning like an idiot while surrounded by sun, sky, and sea.
Unfortunately, I left my most recent book on the ship (Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber), which was a shame because I was really enjoying the short stories. I felt super naked and empty without a book–how does one go anywhere (especially restaurants/cafes/pubs) without a book?!
From the outset, my agenda was essentially just to walk around the old town, soak in some sunshine, browse the amazing handmade shinies, eat, and, most importantly, get some yummy nuts as requested by Maaria.
Which meant, after accomplishing my primary task, I then spent almost two hours fooding and boozing in a medieval restaurant/tavern called Olde Hansa, because a) the dishes and drinks were just that good, b) I loved the atmosphere, and c) I probably couldn’t move immediately after my feast even if I wanted to.
My main was a bourgermeister special, which consisted of wild boar and venison hunted in the morning, along with berries foraged from the forest, wild mushroom sauce, sauerkraut, cheese, a pickle, and spelt (€32,60). The venison was simply superb, but all the flavours were just amazing. This was accompanied by a medieval light beer with cinnamon (€5,90), which I adored–and I’m not a beer drinker.
I couldn’t leave without dessert, so I got the medieval rose pudding (€5,90), which I will now try to recreate at home.
If I’m ever in Tallinn again, I’d definitely go back–and hopefully with some company, because I really want to try one of the feast options!
The rest of my afternoon was just plodding about at a veeeery leisurely pace, taking in the lovely streets of Tallinn’s old town. I had an incident with a group of rather obnoxious Canadian men, which made me feel sad because ugh why do people have to be so rude and icky? One of the downsides of travelling is encountering blah and often racist folks–that, and when you leave your book on a ship…
When I got onto the return ship, given I had no book and no working internet, I camped somewhere on the floor, plugged in an e-book (Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited), and listened for a bit before dozing off. Mmm, naps…
But even better than naps are awesome people, and I was fortunate enough to meet three super amazing ladies while waiting to disembark! Helmi, Eveliina, and Hannele were the three coolest Finns on that ship, not only because they were kind enough to give me a lift from the ferry terminal to the bus station (around 35 mins on foot, but I was kinda tired by 8:30pm), but also because they had travelled lots and learnt lots of languages and were excited about new experiences and thought I was 22 years old. I didn’t manage to get a photo with them, but hopefully our paths will cross again in the future (and maybe then I’ll be able to speak more FInnish than random terms I’d picked up from Game of Thrones subtitles)!
Back in Espoo, Maaria and I had some cake (okay, I had cake), tea, and some more lovely chats before bed. Mmm, bed is a lovely prospect indeedy, especially after such a blissful day!
Transport: €18 (plus the breakdown of £7,20/day for my 5-day pass)
Food & drink: €44,40
Walked: 23,038 steps; 16.02km