Separated by 50 miles of the Baltic Sea, Finland costs twice as much as Estonia and feels a world apart. Tallinn was yet another charming old world city. I am sure I have seen it in an old illustrated Grimm’s fairy-tale book. The city walls are intact and only one section has been removed to facilitate car traffic and commerce. Restaurants are more expensive than the other Baltics, but they still fit our backpacker budget.
We spent half a day following our feet around the crooked streets of old town and a day walking through snowy parks and along the coastline. Aaron thought he spotted a tiny iceberg until the swan pulled its neck up and looked him in the eye.
I have heard that Tallinn gets really crowded during summer and the cruise season, but late winter doesn’t bring many tourists. We bundled up and enjoyed all the extra personal space. One vista area had these creepy statues. On our night walk, they startled us terribly.
Our ferry to Helsinki was a smooth ride. It rained the whole time but it thankfully didn’t make the sea choppy. After checking into our hostel, we headed into town. Unlike the old towns and walled cities of the Baltics, Helsinki is a big, modern city, and our restaurant days are over for now.
I didn’t notice any skyscrapers, but six-story buildings in the Art-Deco style line the streets and regal Neo-Classical buildings house government offices.
Our first stop was the library. The building was somewhat interesting looking, but the library materials were modern and relevant. I love books and they had plenty of those, but they also had sewing machines, embroidery machines, 3D printers, screen printers, conference rooms and drop-in classes. We were there on a Wednesday evening and the building was full of people studying, holding meetings and attending an embroidery class.
The first day of Spring brought rain and snow in turns. Just a slight shift in temperature changes the feeling from 🌧️ How dreary, it’s raining again ☔ to ❄️ How magical, it’s snowing! 🌨️
We saw a bunch of churches and also learned about Finnish history at the National Museum.