to estonia

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We had a few days off of school so we made a trip up to explore Estonia.  We took a bus 7 hours to get to Parnu, a coastal city.  During the summer its supposed to be a beautiful place, but it turned out to be a bust for us.  The weather wasn't cooperating and it was pretty much deserted.  It rained while we were there so we were in our hostel most of the time, which was empty so we had the place to ourselves.  The hostel advertised having a sauna and since we were freezing from the rain we were pretty stoked for that. We asked the guy that we rented the room from for the keys to the sauna room so he gave them to us and left. The sauna room turned out to be a fireplace with stones on top of it and a wooden bucket with a wooden spoon filled with water.  Hmm.....a little bit outdated.  I got a fire going but all I had to work with was newspaper and a few shoe boxes.  Of course that wasn't keeping hot enough and with no wood we went for the next best thing.  I burned his phone book.  That's what you get  Mr. Hostel man for advertising a sauna and not mentioning I'd need 5 hours to get it warm.  Or that I'd need to bring my own wood. We poured water on the stones and were pretty excited to see a little bit of steam in the air.  But.....after maybe 30 minutes-1 hour of trying to make steam from our little fire, we weren't getting anywhere.  The next room over had a big shower so we all went in there, turned the shower on hot as it would go, closed the curtain and wooohooo....we had a steam room in about 30 seconds!  Love living in modern day.  So our make shift sauna/group bonding shower was probably the highlight of the trip.

Finding a 
Toblerone bar that was the size of my arm was the other highlight of the trip. 

The next morning the rain stopped long enough for us to go explore the beach a little bit.   It was full of tiny shells and windsurfers.  We had planned to spend the rest of the weekend out on an island, but since the weather was so bad we decided to drop that idea and head for Tallinn, the capitol of Estonia.
So, on a whim, we caught the next bus to Tallinn. We got there on a Saturday night, hadn't really done any research other than looking at a map to see the direction we needed to go to find some cheap backpackers hostels. What we thought would be about a 15 minute walk turned into an hour of wandering around the city.  I had a backpack but all the other girls had brought rolling suitcases so we were quite the scene rolling through downtown on the main streets on a Saturday night.  We were wanting to stay in Old Town which is where we'd be sight seeing.  But, its all cobblestone streets.  Have you ever rolled a suitcase through cobble stone streets? Everyone could hear those suitcases bouncing around for blocks.  We rolled/bounced/trampled past couples having their romantic outside dinners, just adding to the atmosphere.  So after asking 11 places if they had room for us, I found out that you cannot just show up to Tallinn and find somewhere to sleep.  You must book in advance.  Finally we found a nice hotel that had room for us and we said yes and tried to ignore how much we had to pay to stay there (5 times as much as a hostel). One of the rooms was a conference suite on the top floor of the 10 story hotel just because that was the last room they had available. But I had a warm bed, warm shower, complimentary breakfast and I was a happy backpacker.

Tallinn has an Old Town with a medieval theme.  Other than the McDonalds, it felt like really walking around during those times. Such a cool city. It was love at first sight.

For the second night in Tallinn we were finally able to get a cheaper hostel here.  It was a 3 story apartment that we got all to ourselves.  And it was cooler than any apartment I've ever lived in. And it had a legit sauna this time.  

We went to a torture museum.  Pretty interesting. Made my stomach churn.  I'll just tell you about a couple of the more PG ones.  This ones the Interrogation Seat.  The accused would have to sit there naked.  Yikes. 

For those that committed lesser crimes (where they get to live you know) they'd have to wear these masks around in public so that everyone knew they were found guilty of something.  Public humiliation. 

This one is so crazy.  This theory is that physically you should weigh more than Satan's apprentice.  What?  I know...that's what I said.  Suppose someone was accused of witchcraft, they would be stripped naked to make sure they weren't wearing any weights and then were weighed against another object.  If they weighed less, torturing would commence. Funny thing is that the object they were weighed against never was very fair.  If they wanted the person to be guilty, they would just place something that clearly would be heavier.  They used Bibles as the object to be weighed against the person at times when they wanted the person to be innocent.  You just better hope no one accuses you of being a witch because your chances of proving yourself innocent with this method aren't so good.

We went bike riding to the Baltic Sea again.  This is starting to be a tradition for us and I kinda love it.  I want a bike when I get home.  

Tallinn......I approve.  

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