Thursday, September 11, 2008

Angry Sea

Day 184
After a 20 minute walk I was ready to board the boat to Tallinn, Estonia. I had paid a few extra dollars to take the line that Rick Steves said that was the smoothest. The first 30 minutes or so were ok, but then it got bad. I was on a 45 minute roller coaster. It was not fun at all. I really dont know how I managed to not throw up. Luckily the last 30 minutes or so were much better.

It didn't take me long to find my hostel, the Monks Bunk. I could tell right away that I was going to like it. Even before lunch there were people hanging out. No time to sit around though, I needed to get money, food and a map. In the order. I had thought that the boat would take most of the day, so I was happy that I would have extra time here. Tallinn was beautiful.

After eating my first stop was the Alexander Nesky cathedral. It was pretty interesting. There were people filling plastic bottles with holy water.

After some more wandering I found the Tallinn History Museum. It was ok, basically people have been living in the area since 9000 BC. During the bronze age a semi permanent settlement was established. The vikings often raided. During the iron age peasant culture began. In 1207 the area was conquered by Germanic tribes and was Christianized. During the 14th century there was a lot of rebelling against the ruling German aristocracy. In the 16th century Russia invaded. This brought a couple of centuries of famine and violence. This is where the museum ends. Apparently nothing happened after 1700 here.

I wandered the medieval streets for some time before heading back to the hostel for dinner. Its so funny how the backpacking scene differs in Western and Eastern Europe. I definitely prefer the atmosphere in Eastern Europe. Most of the people traveling in Western Europe are younger than me, traveling in groups and on their first trip. I often found it hard to meet people. In Eastern Europe most people are a little older, better traveled and alone. This makes it really easy to meet people.

Everyone was sitting around and drinking and I wanted to join them. I went to the grocery store to pick up a couple of beers. While I was in line the cashier was giving me really strange looks. I really couldn't figure out what her problem was. When I went to pay she asked me something in Estonian. I told her that I didn't understand, she asked me, then, in English, if I was over 18. I cant believe it, I got carded and the drinking age is 18. Estonia is the best country ever!

Back at the hostel I drank my beers and chatted with everyone around me. Eventually we all headed out for some karaoke. One of the girls from Finland who was a bit drunk and when an oddly dressed guy got up to sing she very loudly said "what the &%$§ is that." As there was no music on everyone heard. I felt bad for the guy. After listening to the Estonians attempt to sing in English I decided that I could go ahead a sing. I wont tell you what though!

I was tired from my early day and didn't want to be too crazy so I headed home before the second bar.

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