This past weekend, our group went on our long-anticipated trip across Estonia to Tallinn, the nation’s capital. The three-hour bus ride was a perfectly reasonable price to pay for a nice change of scenery even if only for the weekend. The three hours were passed by a rousing chorus of Russian folk songs, and some much needed napping.
Upon arrival in Tallinn, we immediately set out on an excursion around the city, wherein we checked out various churches, fortifications, and other various other feats of ancient European architecture. The hustle and bustle of the big city was a pleasant change from that of the 7x smaller Narva to which we had become accustomed. At this point we were released into the city, where we definitely weren’t at all excited to find out that the majority of the young population spoke English.
On Saturday we began our day with another excursion to a few monuments and then finally to the local palaces. As luck would have it, we truly got more bang for our buck, as we anticipated a four hour excursion and wound up with over six hours of history-filled fun. \o/
On Sunday, we had the entire day to ourselves for exploring the city. One thing that struck me about the city was the people. Not only were there more of them, but they seemed more active too. In Narva the population when moving from place to place seems fairly sullen. In Tallinn people are joking, laughing, and seem to be having a genuinely good time. The other major difference is how well we were received by the locals. In Narva, going out without receiving dirty looks would be akin to winning the lottery; in Tallinn the locals were not only accommodating, they were downright friendly towards us. This attitude difference is probably closely related to the fact that less of the population speaks Russian, and therefore they identify less with the current anti-American Russian ideology.
The overall beauty of the city, friendliness of the locals, and plethora of things to do is why many of us are planning to return to Tallinn during one of our upcoming free weekends.