I awoke early made breakfast, packed, and was looking forward to a relaxing ferry ride from Helsinki to Tallinn. The sweet girl at the reception of my hostel showed me where Ferry West Terminal Two was on my cell phone navigation app. I arrived at the destination only to find she had sent me across town to the wrong Terminal. To make matters worse, the ferry company had stipulated that no one would be allowed to board less than half an hour before sailing, and I had fifteen minutes to find a cab and get over there, check-in, and embark.
By some miracle, I managed to desperately flag down a cab, and give him the directions. After much goading, we managed to arrive two minutes late. After tossing him his fare and a decent tip for having to listen to a stream of invective directed at the person who had misled me, I managed to check-in, scan my ticket, ascend the escalator, and enter the gangway just as they closed the door behind me. Stressed out and damp from sweating, I entered the air-conditioned comfort lounge and immediately unclenched and started to relax.
THE COMFORT LOUNGE – MY LUXURY SANCTUARY ON THE SEA
A FINNISH COUPLE TAKES A BREAK FROM THE KID BACK AT HOME
GERLI – MY SAVIOR ON THE LEFT – A SUMPTUOUS BUFFET AWAITS
For starters, these aren’t just any old ferries. They are mini-cruiseliners replete with a supermarket, duty-free shopping, gambling, entertainment, and even a Burger King. My little slice of heaven in the comfort lounge featured a sizeable buffet of snacks, hor’s d’ oeuvres, sandwiches, soft drinks, and coffee, all included in the price of my inexpensive ticket. Compared to usual modes of transportation this was an enormous improvement landing me in the lap of luxury instead of a cramped aircraft or annoying bus ride. I blew off steam with a lovely Finnish couple who were on a three-day getaway enlisting the help of relatives to look after their six-year-old boy back in Helsinki. Yesterday was the 50th. anniversary of one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century which was the moon landing carried out by the three astronauts aboard Apollo 11.
Meanwhile back on Earth, I found the first-class treatment on the ferry so enjoyable that I didn’t want the cruise to end. Gerli, the amazing lounge stewardess, took such good care of us that whatever unpleasantness that had transpired earlier in the day had become a thing of the distant past, and my thoughts turned to more important issues. Those being getting settled into my new hostel and going back to Draakon III Medieval restaurant in the old Town Hall where you can get elk soup and ox sausage for five euros.
I was hoping for financial relief after dropping some serious coin in Copenhagen and Helsinki, but a trip to the grocery store should help to stave off fiscal disaster. With my replaced ring, hand-crafted silver bracelet, Bang & Olufsen noise-canceling earbuds, Mophie portable charger, and Finnish walking shoe purchases behind me, there is little chance for a further round of retail therapy. I really love my new stuff, and over half of it is essential travel gear.
So here I am ready for a second go at Tallinn and the other two Baltic countries only this time I’m going North to South. My first visit’s blog commentary was a little thin so I can rectify that and hopefully bring new insights to Estonia and the Baltics in general.
DRAAKON III – MEDIEVAL RESTAURANT
DRAAKON III – On this particular visit, I was unprepared for the new theatrics that went along with dining in my favorite little place. The women here play the roles of Medieval shrews who scold customers for not following appropriate etiquette. Initially, I thought they were being rude, and I was feeling a bit upset about the way they were treating me. Then one of the ladies unloaded on a table full of Asians who defied their request to abstain from drinking beverages brought into the restaurant from outside.
Eating here is an experience in and of itself. No visit to Tallinn is complete without a meal at this restaurant which is nestled in the corner of the Old Town Hall. The combination of elk soup and ox sausage is perfection, then go ahead and fish a pickle out of the barrel with the supplied wooden staff.
Aside from being completely delicious, it offset the incredible price increases in food since my last visit to Tallinn. Expecting prices to plummet after leaving Helsinki, I was shocked to find dining costs to be universally inflated throughout this city. Not so here at Draakon III. Just be prepared to be assailed by Medieval harpies, but enjoy the theater and savor the flavor all for the peasants price of six euros.
OX RIB – You could feed two people or beat someone to death with this monster.
OLD TOWN SQUARE
THIS SIGN INDICATES A BAKERY ON THE PREMISES – PASTRY TIME!
THIS IS NOT SOUTH KOREA, BUT MERELY FORMALLY-COSTUMED SELFIE SHOOTERS
MEMORIAL TO BORIS YELTSIN FOR HIS ROLE IN THE RESTORATION OF ESTONIA’S INDEPENDENCE IN 1990-1991
TURG FARMER’S MARKET AND SHOPPING CENTER
MORE INSANELY DELICIOUS BERRIES – BERRIES HERE ARE RIPE AND SWEET
STREET ART #1
STREET ART #2
TELLISKIVI LOOMELINNAK CREATIVE CITY
ANOTHER SHOPPING AREA
HERE YOU CAN FIND CLOTHING, FURNITURE, ART OBJECTS AND SUPPLIES.
ROBERT DOISNEAU PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION – HIS MOST FAMOUS IMAGE IS IN THE BACKGROUND
I SAW THESE INTERESTING ESTONIAN PIECES IN A LOCAL MALL
STREET ART #3
STREET ART #3 – FELINE DREAMS
STREET ART #4 – BAMBI ENGAGES IN A TECHNICOLOR YAWN
STREET ART #5
STREET ART #6 – AN INEBRIATED SQUIRREL IS RECTALLY REFUELED – SOMEONE PLEASE TAKE HIS KEYS AWAY
I NEVER COULD MANAGE TO SOLVE ONE OF THOSE DAMNED THINGS
STREET ART #7 ESTONIAN TARDIS
STREET ART #8 – PIGGY BACK
STREET ART #9 – P.S. I LOVE YOU
STREET ART #10 – BROTHERHOOD
STREET ART #10 – PSYCHADELIC BEETLE
OLDE HANSA RESTAURANT & GIFT SHOPPE
A YOUNG SQUIRE DEMONSTRATES THE CONSUMPTION OF SCHNAPPS
FERDINAND VEIKE – FOUNDER OF THE ESTONIAN STATE PUPPET THEATRE – 1952
PINOCCHIO – 1983
POLIITIK PUTTY – PUTTY THE POLITICIAN
TIIU – THE OLDEST PUPPET IN ESTONIA – 1938
THE GLASS BRIDGE
A VISITOR TRIES HER HAND AT PUPPETRY