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20 July 2011

More Estonia

Days 48-50: Thursday, 7 July 2011 to Saturday, 9 July 2011


My second day in Tallinn was spent shopping, lazing around, and then exploring on foot. I slept in a bit, so Erko had gone to work and Davide had gone to the festival. It was midday and I wanted to get some food. Since I had not found anywhere to eat, I walked to the shopping centre just across the train tracks. It was a big suburban-style mall with lots of modern conveniences. Inside was also the big supermarket, where I bought some groceries (cereal, milk, pasta, and sandwich supplies), shampoo, and a new pair of sunglasses since I left my other pair in Nottingham.

I made some sandwiches for lunch and then walked out into the city. After spending some time wasting online, I walked through the upper part of the old town, seeing plenty of fantastic views from the ramparts of the old city walls. There's the iconic Russian Orthodox church, and plenty of fantastic postcard images of the very well-preserved old town. Two girls were walking around dressed up like Russian nesting dolls. I encountered a loud group of maybe 50 American girls on some sort of school or sorority trip. Then I walked around the eastern periphery of the old town, passing through some nice parks before returning to the shopping mall. There I searched for some cheap food, walking up all 5 floors before settling on a pre-made sandwich bought in the supermarket downstairs.

I walked all the way back to the apartment and shared some dinner with the housemates. Herring and potatoes. That's Estonian food. Everyone was just eating outside.

Friday, 8 July 2011

I made breakfast: eggs and bacon. It was a nice and sunny day, so I went to the beach. Erko also decided to go, so I joined him, Marta, and Ibsen. They had an extra bike for me to use at the house!

So we all biked through the city to the prison complex near the port where we settled in by the water. There was a sandy beach perched above the actual rocky shoreline, and the water was murky and cool, but fresh. Waves came only when one of the big ferry or cruise ships pulled in to the nearby port.

We shared a couple ciders and the girls played around in the sand before we headed off. Erko had to leave early because he had to get to his friend's place in the countryside.

The girls and I checked out a nearby pub/café that was a London city bus originally. Then we saw a bit more of the TunedCity festival, which was going on at the Kulturiikatel nearby. It's an abandoned factory that they're trying to make into something artsy. A man was playing recordings of ambient noise and answering questions about it.

We then parted ways, and I decided to bike further to the bigger beaches east of the city center. I rode past the harbor and through a few uninspiring neighborhoods before arriving at the closes part of Pirita beach, a long strand of sand and grassy fields with plenty of people sunbathing and hanging out. There were some groves of forest nearby too. I biked a couple kilometers along the bike path, until the beach tapered off to rocks and the path nearly ended.

As I stopped to take some more pictures, I realized that my phone wasn't in my bag. I searched each pocket but couldn't find it. So I started biking back, retracing the exact route I took. I returned all the way to the Kulturiikatel, where a curator, Siri, was nice enough to help me look for my phone, but no luck. I then rode back to the café and asked the girl working there if she had seen anything. Nothing, but she gladly gave me her number. And then I rode back to the prison beach and asked the guy there if there was any sign of my phone, and nothing. We called the phone and it went straight to voicemail, likely indicating that someone had found my phone and ditched the SIM card. Oh well, at least I have my American phone still working.

I returned to the house and made some sandwiches for myself to eat. I soon saw that I had a message from a French guy, Charly, living in Tallinn. He invited me to join him and some others for a barbecue by the beach that evening. I quickly and enthusiastically replied yes. I got my stuff together and rode the bike across the town to Charly's place.

We got some supplies at the nearby supermarket, where I met Patrick and Aleksi. We then waited, as Aleksi's friend Viktor was able to give us a ride to the beach. We were there quickly, and we set up the barbecue near the beach volleyball area. Patrick's Czech friend Matous came and joined us. And Aleksi's friend Olena joined us as well.

The sun gradually set, and we grilled some sausages and sipped our beers. The clouds were brilliantly lit by the orange glow from the sky. Down the beach a man played with fire. Down the other direction, they were setting off lanterns into the sky. We just barely made the last bus into the city (Viktor had left earlier), where we hung out at Charly's flat for a bit. Since I had to bike back (and Charly had work) I said bye to the gang.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

I slept in, again. And the weather turned sour: It began to rain a bit during the day. I spent the day wasting time online (you sometimes need a break from all the non-stop excitment). And I really just wanted to laze around for a while instead of being so busy traveling and exploring. I finished all the sandwich ingredients that I had bought at the supermarket.

After thinking it over, I decided to get the ferry to Helsinki in the morning, so I asked Charly if I could stay at his place since he lives closer to the ferry terminal. He was cool with it, so I packed up my stuff and said bye to Anton and Davide.

We ended up going to a small get together hosted by a friend of Charly's, Janely. Charly and I had to run to the bus stop to make it in time, where we met his friend Katre. Patrick joined us at the apartment, where we waited outside for a few minutes before being let in. We just hung out in the apartment for the evening, it was cool.

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