It was after midnight when we arrived at our hostel in Tallinn, next to a sex shop, in what was very clear a party area. Quite perfect for a party hostel location if you ask me.
We made our check-in at the reception, which by the way was a bar. Yes, a bar! On the way to our room a girl was drunk and lost on the hallway and looked out of a scary movie.
In our sketchy room, two very muscled guys were wandering in their underwear. Didn’t take us five minutes before having to do down back to the bar (ahemm reception) to check security videos as a phone had gone missing.
We checked for bedbugs in our sheets, just so you know how weird everything was, and we went to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night and I had one of the big naked guys staring drunk at me. I tried to convince myself I was having a nightmare, I covered my face down the sheets and closed my eyes praying to survive that place.
Woke up and took a deep breath of relief. We were alive!
We stormed out of the door to go on a walking tour, but by the time we got to the meeting point they were gone. We had no other choice but to get a little lost and discover the city by ourselves. No map, nothing! This was our only day in Tallinnand we had to make the most of it.
During my three months traveling, I had fallen in love with many cities, but Tallinn hit me hard. It was not just love at first sight, it was like I had been transported into a different century, it was a city that screamed magic everywhere and I started wishing I could stay there forever.
The Old Town of the city blew my mind away. With incredible view points overTallinn, all the free food samples offered in the streets, the lack of tourists everywhere, and the great food. If I tell you I got in a medieval restaurant with stone walls and I ate reign soup, would you believe me? If you don’t, just check the next photo!
No spoons in here. Just drink from the bowl at Il Draakon
Tallinn was a favorite from the start.
We took a walk away from the city center to check out Patarei sea Fortress Prisionand I felt happy just by being close to the ocean again after almost three months.
You see I’m from Lisbon, so seeing the river and ocean everyday feels like a must these days. I might have wanted to check the inside of the prison by trying to break into the place, but with all the high fences and scary vibes of the place, I eventually realized it was a bad idea and decided I should prevent getting arrested by breaking in an old prison.
If you enjoy creepy, scary places, you can actually go inside the prison the legal way. All you have to do is pay an entrance fee of 10€ and wish you have the stomach for what you’re about to see.
We also entered Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, a beautiful Orthodox church in the Old Town of Tallinn, and things got pretty weird since we were very naive and hadn’t made any research before getting inside. We entered like it was any open church.
We were checking out the inside when we noticed there were a lot of people inside so some event was happening that we didn’t know about. Then I noticed all women had their heads covered with scarfs, and honestly I looked and no one was telling me the reason, so by the time a guy came yelling at us (I really mean yelling) to cover our heads, I refused, and he was very upset about it.
All the men were walking the church with nothing on their heads, why did all the women had to cover themselves? I felt slightly offended and oppressed, like I had stepped back to a time when women had no rights. I know i’m probably being dramatic about this, but the men yelling at me to cover my head made me feel small and unwelcome, so I left the church with a bad impression.
By night, the girls wanted to join a pub crawl, since it was our last night in the Baltic Countries. Well, if you have been reading my blog for a while, you must know by nowthe effort I make to stay on budget, so 13€ for a night out always sounded a little too much for me. I was feeling like I had the girls down for not going to the pub crawl and simply stay at the hostel for our last night.
Call it fate or luck, but we eventually found out that the beginning of the pub crawl was actually at our hostel! By night, the bar got full of people playing drinking games and I made this enormous discovery that would get us our own pub crawl without spending a cent!
You see, everyone who was participating in the pub crawl had a bracelet that got them free access to the bar, which meant we only had to make some friends that would take five seconds to hit the bar for us and give us some free beers. All I know is that I had a blast! We must have gotten around ten beers and we didn’t spend any money. In your face expensive pub crawl!!
The perks of staying at a party hostel, ahm?
By the time we had to say goodbye to Tallinn I wasn’t ready. I wanted to stay longer. One week for the three Baltic countries was not enough. I wanted to stay forever, but money and time were running out and I had no other choice but to promise I would be back as soon as I had the chance. A year and a half later, I still haven’t managed to go back, and trust me when I tell you I think about the Baltic Countries every single day.
Why was Tallinn such a special place? It was my goal since the very first weeks of my three months in Europe. I had this crazy idea that my journey would only be complete once I had reached Tallinn.
I felt that if I didn’t make it there, I was not as brave as everyone kept telling me. I was just a little coward for letting fear stop me from going to where I dreamed of going.
Tallinn was special because it made me realize how far I had gone (it really was, and still is, the farthest I’ve ever been from home), how I turned into the naive dreamy girl who had barely left home, to be this girl who traveled across twelve countries all alone. When no one believed in her, she actually did it!
Because this story couldn’t end any differently than how it started, by the time I got back to Poland, I noticed a very scary thing: both my ID and credit card had been stolen during my last night in Tallinn (note to self: if you have a locker, put your bag inside!).
I was one week from going home, no credit card to book the buses to Gdansk and Berlin, and all the little money I had left was now in a single card. One card canceled and now a stolen ID and credit card. I knew my luck was running out and it was time to go home, which in the end made me cry like a baby and wish I had managed to save more money so I wouldn’t have to return.
How to get to Tallinn
The best way to reach this city is by catching a bus or a flight. You have buses connecting Tallinn from Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia. The companies that work to the country are Ecolines, Simple Express and Lux Express.
All this buses are incredibly comfortable, with wifi, wc and personal screens with movies, series and music. The fares are cheap, as you can get a bus between these countries for 5€ depending on the route. I paid 35€ from Tallinn back to Warsaw.
Another option, faster and with very appealing fares, is flying. With the cheapest flights to Tallinn being from Norway (from 10€), Germany (from 17€ ), Italy (from 20€ ) and UK (from 25€