The morning I left Estonia was quiet and serene despite all the revelry (or possibly due to it) that I heard through the windows the previous night. My bags were packed so I didn’t have much else to do but leave my key at the front desk. No one was there to accept it at such an early hour.
I left the building and exited the walled city via Viru Gate as I walked to the bus station. My bus to Riga, Latvia wasn’t for a couple of hours, but I wanted to go early in case I got lost on the way to the station.
About 10 minutes into my journey, I came across an Estonia bloke walking in the other direction. I suppose I must’ve looked odd to him as I was humping my backpacks – one on the front and one on the back – at 7 a.m. on a Sunday. He stopped me and asked if I was ok, which I thought was nice of him. His English wasn’t great but definitely understandable. It might have been even better had he not still been drunk from the night before. Ah, but to each his own.
When I mentioned going to the bus station, he said he knew where it was and would walk me there. My solo traveler radar immediately perked up and started pinging. No one else was around at this hour. I had only seen a couple of cars pass by and no people other than this guy. But, he seemed harmless for the most part so I just continued walking.
He asked about my travels and I told him I was spending the summer in Europe. He asked how I liked Tallinn and said there were so many Russians living here now. Not one to get into anything political, I just nodded in understanding and continued toward the bus depot.
Once we arrived, I expected he’d be on his way but he came inside and waited with me for about 30 minutes. We chatted on and off, and then it happened. The inevitable bow chica wow wow solicitation for which my solo traveler’s radar had been on alert for the past hour.
If this had taken place en route to the bus station in the middle of nowhere, I would definitely feel uncomfortable. But at a relatively modern and bustling bus station, it just felt like any other drunk guy trying to pick up a girl. It wasn’t aggressive or offensive. It was what it was. And after my gentle rebuff, he bid me a good trip and weaved his way out of the depot.
These are interesting times, and I’m learning new things every day. My Estonian escort turned out to be somewhat of an escort himself. But, as I rode out of the city toward Riga, I just laughed to myself. Ah, the unpredictable joys of life on the road.