Goodbye Russia, Hello The Baltics!

While we were probably ready to leave Russia we definitely weren’t ready to leave St Petersburg there was still so much more to see. Unfortunately most of the negative press we had heard was to do with entering and exiting Russia so the last thing we wanted to do was to go through the hassle of changing departure dates.
So early rise and onto our last train across Russia to Tallinn. As the crow flies it’s been 5000km and 9 train trips and I dont know how many flasks of tea! The most trouble we had at the border was the fact that I had had about two litres of tea and they shut the toilets!! Otherwise plain sailing and straight through but the area around the border was pretty bleak but is was quite a cool feeling to have entered Europe!! Next up a whole variety of countries, languages and cultures all in a small area. First stop the Baltic States.
It was the usual blog writing, reading and relaxing for the last train trip, Sarah even managed a little snooze. It was quite sad to finish the last train trip as it really has been a fantastic way to travel making the journey into a pleasant experience rather than a chore. Certainly not the fastest way to get somewhere but definitely one of the most comfortable and I can say I have really enjoyed it.
All thoughts of sadness about leaving Russia and the train trip were behind us the moment we walked out of Tallinn station and started walking towards our hotel. Within minutes we were walking next to the outer wall of the old town which looked like it could have been in a fairytale. Once we walked inside the walls things just got better as we saw all the old buildings and a couple of churches with impressively pointy spires. This was all before we had even managed to get to our hotel and check in.
Once we checked in we quickly dumped the bags and set off out again keen to explore. Luckily we were staying right in old town and literally from the moment we stepped out of the front door we were gazing at the amazing old buildings and snapping photos. It’s amazing how the old town has been able to remain so after all these years and you really felt like you had travelled back in time as we walked down the cobbled streets.
We just planned to get our bearings and sort out what we wanted to do and so were first heading towards the main square and the tourist information. It was so nice and easy to be able to sort all of our ferry and bus tickets out speaking English and we had the next couple of legs booked in no time at all.
On the way around we had been checking menu prices in restaurants and were getting a bit of a shock. It wasn’t drastically expensive it’s just that we had gotten so used to eating so cheaply in China, Mongolia and Russia. We managed to find a cheaper canteen (Russian style) in a local shopping centre and then stopped in at a shop for some elk saucisson and beautiful Brie for dinner. Economising and dining well as usual.
The sun set at 4:30 and it was pitch black pretty soon after that so we braved the cold (grabbed our hip flask) and set off to explore Tallinn by night. During the day we had passed quite a few tour groups and other tourists but when we set out after dark there was no one around. In fact we wondered if there was a curfew enforced or the final of X factor Estonia on TV!
To be fair the reason was probably that it was bitterly cold, still we persisted and were rewarded with a truly beautiful walk through the old town. The buildings and churches when they were lit up looked fantastic and it felt like we were wandering around a theme park of some sort. The pictures will speak for themselves but to have had the streets filled with these buildings one after another was what was truly amazing.
What a start to Europe and the Baltics!! T

The walls of the Old Town, complete with towers!

The main square in Tallinn, Raekoja Plats.  With the Gothic town hall dominating the place.

Wonderful coloured doors all around town.

Views of the streets of Old Town with the cobbled streets and the pastel coloured buildings.

Nighttime and the buildings and churches look all the more mysterious.

Not exactly packed.

Kiek in de Kök. (Obviously only one pronunciation) this was the largest tower on the wall.


So good we had to post it twice.

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