One is on a ferry heading to Helsinki from Tallinn, Estonia. I believe the journey to be two hours. However, one shall be laconic.
Tallinn is a nice enough city; small and compact to see most of the places of interest in a few days. Though far from sleepy, its lack of hustle and bustle serves to make a visit most pleasurable. Truth be told though, it is rather indistinguishable from many other cities on mainland Europe. Once one has been to a handful of them, their characteristics tend to meld into a mish-mash of sameness lodging in the recesses of the memory – an Old Town with cobbled streets, outdoor bars and coffee shops, trams, a history of occupation and the associated monuments to its subsequent liberation – Tallinn has it all. For what it is worth though, Tallinn is deserving of a visit. The current clemency of the weather makes it a good place to chill and relax (one loathes that portmanteau ‘chillax’ – ghastly word). Of the places of interest, one particularly enjoyed the Seaplane Museum, which charts Estonia’s air and maritime history, via magnificent displays of boats, submarines and planes. The building which houses the artefacts, a former aeroplane hangar, is also an architectural wonder.
Though an ex-Soviet republic, Tallinn generally does not have that ex-Commie/Eastern European look about it – until one ventures to the outskirts, where it has more than its fair share of brutalist carbuncles. Tallinn tends to have more of a modern Western look, though the Old Town retains a certain delightful twee character.
One did manage to venture outside Tallinn. The city of Tartu, about 200 km away, is a small university city. It’s nice but unremarkable, apart from the fact that it was near enough deserted as most of the students were on leave. There are some nice beaches within easy reach of Tallinn, many of them serene and tranquil. Haabneeme beach is most recommended.
One was struck by how forested Estonia is. As one ventures outside Tallinn, verdant forest abounds for miles on end. It appears that the country is one big “green belt”.
Estonians, as a people, are generally reserved; polite, but reserved nonetheless; similar to Scandinavians. The order and safety of the place is indicative of a cultured, civilised and educated people.
It is noticed how many visitors to Estonia have remarked, with evident salivation, on the beauty of Estonian women. While no doubt examples of said beauty are present, one finds the legend is somewhat exaggerated. Anyhow, these matters are rather subjective.
One has to depart. As one said, he shall be laconic. Estonia is a small country. For it lends itself to such brevity.