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12 July 2011

Estonia! I'm Here!

Day 47: Wednesday, 6 July 2011

It's hard to believe that I'm here in Tallinn, Estonia. It's not (yet) one of the best known city for tourists, especially from America. But it's conveniently located as a starting point to travel around northern Europe. And the flight here was cheap.

So to Tallinn I flew, and couchsurfed in a neighborhood just southwest of the city center/old town. I stayed in a community house - a type of co-op for the neighborhood, with people continuously coming in and out. In the attic there are many mattresses, on which I am sleeping. My "official" (if you will) couchsurfing host, Erko, is one of the most enthusiastic people I've met, which contrasts sharply with the general aloofness (or so I've been told) of the Estonian people in public.

I arrived in Tallinn on Wednesday, taking a RyanAir flight from East Midlands Airport (England). The flight was not as bad as I thought it would be, and it was pretty quick to get through the airport, except for the public bus everyone took into the city, which was packed full of people. I walked for about 2 km from the bus stop, through a shopping mall and a city park, across the city center, to the house where I was staying. It was exhausting, especially carrying my two fully packed bags, so I stopped every couple minutes to catch my breath. I also learned how to say "Vabaduse Väljak."

I arrived at the house with an enthusiastic "JASON! Come in!", and before I knew it, I had a cider in my hand, was introduced to 5 people with nearly impossible-to-remember names, and learned all the procedures of the house.
There was another couchsurfer staying at the house, Davide from Italy. He was in Tallinn for the TunedCity art festival, showcasing artists who specialize in recorded sound.

A group of us went to Davide's presentation that evening at a small venue in Tallinn's old town. His project was called "A Balloon for…", in which he went around the city and popped balloons, recording the sound of the pop and the echo. It's a whimsical and interesting way of exploring a city - through ambient sound and echoes. I found it slightly interesting. We ended up drinking at the Hell Hund, one of the local's favorite pubs in Tallinn.

We then hopped to another local favorite pub. Accordion music and a drunk guy getting angry that a girl spilled beer on him.

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