Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The unveiling of Tallinn

We arrived in Tallinn around midday after a short two-hour ferry ride across the Baltic. Gorgeous weather awaited us, which was a blessing after some storm clouds appeared over Helsinki as we were leaving.

On the ferry ride over I took the chance to read the guide book my parents had left us from their trip. To give you a brief summary, Tallinn has had a very strange and decidedly un-Estonian history. Only being the capital of an independent Estonia from 1918 to 1940 and then again from 1991 to today, it’s mostly been controlled by foreign powers, namely the Danish and Russians. Despite foreign rule, however, Estonia has kept its identity, including its own separate language (whose most closely related cousin is oddly Finnish, much to most people’s dismay), and eventually won its independence by asking nicely (literally no bloodshed – apparently right time and right place). Anyway, Tallinn has been a fortified trading post and then a resort town for the rich and noble, so it was well-preserved during wartime, having been on no one’s hit list in particular.

Walking around the city you can see how well the city is taken care of. It’s clean and pleasant and all of the buildings are in spectacular condition, considering how old they are. It’s also an adorable city, reminding me a lot of my time in Bratislava (Slovakia), and in some of the smaller areas of Italy:

These are just a taste of what walking around Tallinn is like.

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