Wait, why does the ferry have mini-garbage bags on the tables?

With our time in Helsinki at an end it was time to head over to our next destination: Tallinn, Estonia.

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How does one get from Helsinki to Tallinn. There are a few options, but we opted for the fastest, most direct – a high speed ferry across the Gulf of Finland.

If you’ve been following us on this journey you might recall my saying that I always enjoy a boat ride, well, there are some exceptions to that. Our ferry ride to Tallinn from Helsinki might just qualify.

As we arrived at the ferry terminal, it was a cool and dreary day. Not yet raining but definitely a little windy. It didn’t occur to us at the time, but this is not ideal weather for crossing a large body of water. Our first real tip should have been when we got to our seats on the ferry to find that each table had a few mini garbage bags. Sure enough, it didn’t take too long for us to get out of the harbour and find that the swells were a fair bit larger out at sea.

Katy was busy trying to keep Ella interested in looking out the windows, in part so she could do the same. At first Ella enjoyed watching the spray hit the widows as we crashed between waves. Soon though, that got old and she got quiet. Not a good sign.

Eventually we settled in for a silent hour. Ella sat cuddled in my lap while I held a little bag at the ready, Katy staring intently out the window at the horizon. Already dealing with a head cold, Katy who’s normally good on boats was a little closer to the edge than normal. For my part, I amused myself by watching the unfortunate folks who were not fairing so well and obviously not that practiced at avoiding/dealing with sea sickness.

A few tips in case you fall into that category:

  1. Do not stare at your feet or put your head on the table. The problem is the disconnect between your eyes and inner ear, these actions will not help.
  2. Do not stand in a dark windowless hallway to be close to the bathroom. While the proximity is good, you’re also pretty much guaranteeing the need to use it.
  3. Dido on hiding your head under your jacket. (Who wants to deal with puke in their jacket anyway?)
  4. Do try and head up to the upper deck with more windows (fresh air is good too)
  5. Do keep those bags handy. Nobody wants to use them but they’re better than the alternative.

I’ll also add that I think it’s pretty bold of the ferry line to have carpeted floors, especially when they serve food and booze on the boat… at 9am.

In the end, it wasn’t as bad as whale watching in Boston. Katy managed to make it through unscathed and Ella only needed some minor use of the bags. Fortunately, I was ready and no clothes were hit. As soon as the water calmed when we approached Tallinn, Ella’s appetite was back and cheerios replaced anything lost enroute.

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Aw shucks

One of the things that makes Ella a great travelling toddler is that when she’s good, she’s really good, especially in restaurants. Sure she’s still a 2 year old and sometimes meals out are… less than relaxing, but for the most part we’re pretty lucky.

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After getting settled in our apartment at the top of Toompea (a limestone hill in the centre of Tallinn), we headed down to get some lunch. Prior to heading out on our trip we had been given some recommendations from a friend of a friend who had been on a similar itinerary a few months earlier. One of those recommendations was to eat at Rataskaevu 16 and that we should make a reservation in advance. We actually had done that for the following day, but we were keen for some good food and were able to walk-in for lunch.

The food was great and the service excellent. They seemed quite taken with Ella and it wasn’t just in our heads. I mean, our waitress could have meant that Katy is adorable, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean me, though I do love a good cat picture.

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After lunch (and some sleep) we had time to go for a little walk around town to check out the view from the top of Toompea.

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Wander through the oldest door in Estonia.

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Check out the town square.

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We even found a little train that does a 20 minute tour around the old town.

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Ella and George approved, as evidenced by their thumbs up and grin respectively.

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I should warn anyone thinking about taking the trolly ride. Those cobble stones make for a very bumpy ride. You might want to make sure that you fully recover from the ferry first.

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