We did something today that Australians just cannot do, visit another country for a day, and be back home for dinner. We caught the bus early from our apartment into the bus terminal at Kamppi. The Kamppi bus terminal is underground, very modern and organised. It was then a walk for about one kilometre to the Linda line ferry terminal. We joined the long line to board the ferry where they checked our passports and we boarded. The trip across to Tallinn in Estonia is about 80km over the gulf of Finland. The Linda line fast ferry took 1 hour forty minutes. (people only – no cars there are other car ferries).
We arrived in Tallinn to find no passport control, it was left to us to wander off into the city over a strange aging soviet-era plaza. We found Tallinn old town and eventually the tourist bureau to get a map. Tallinn old town has been left pretty intact with lots of old buildings dating back hundreds of years. However what surprised us was the number of tourists – it was packed. The last time we saw this many tourists was Bourbon Street in New Orleans on a Saturday night. Tallinn old town was packed to the point it was a struggle getting along some of the narrow lanes in the town. After wandering around in old town for a while we left the tourists and headed for Tallinn new town and a shopping centre for lunch. We found a eatery that was a jazzed up modern cafeteria and had a cheap meal for 3.20 euro (meals in tourist trap Tallinn old town where 11+ euros).
After lunch we braved the tourists again and climbed to the top of the hill in Tallin old town to enjoy the view.
We were suffering from the cold. The weather forecast for Helsinki had been 23C and partly cloudy, and our previous day in Helsinki had been warm. So we didn’t take our jackets with us (we were very under equipped for visiting another country) .
We headed back to another shopping mall to find afternoon tea/dinner and get warmed up. We then headed out towards the ferry terminal past several bottle shops selling cheap Estonian alcohol. We knew that Finns travel over to Estonia to get cheap booze, but we were somewhat surprised by how much people managed to take back. Finland has a state owned monopoly on selling alcohol (except beer in supermarkets) called “Alko”, and and a result alcohol is expensive, although not as expensive as Norway.
We got the Ferry back at 7pm and saw a sign on the wall showing the fast ferry had been built by Austal Ships in Western Australia in 1999