Early the next morning, the ferry docked in Tallinn and I took my first steps in Estonia. I disembarked and headed toward the Old Town and my hostel. It turned out to be farther than I expected, but I made it even while humping my two backpacks.
My hostel was located down a quiet, cobblestone lane. As I entered the main door and walked up three flights of stairs, I marveled at the well-worn steps of the stone building. How old was this place? It dawned on me that I could never find anything like this in Hawaii.
After getting settled into my room, I joined some people from my hostel on a walking tour of the city. This tour was led by a local student and she provided really good historical background on the city.
The tour guide took us around the Old Town for about two hours. It was a fun introduction to a city and country of which I had no previous knowledge. I think this is one of the best ways to learn about a new place – straight from the mouth of locals, especially when they’re young. Young people usually give you their honest opinion about their home.
I enjoyed my first visit to Tallinn even though it wasn’t originally on my list of must-see places. The Old Town is compact and easy-going on foot. The architecture is authentically medieval and interesting. It just feels historical, even though I’m sure it’s not one of the first places to come to mind when you think about visiting Europe. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so others must agree with me. I wish I had more time to explore the area, but I only stayed for a few nights.