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  • Jamie Shannon

Stockholm and across the Baltic to Tallinn, Estonia

I managed to find my hostel with relative ease once I was in the centre as I had taken precautions before I had arrived; I had images saved on my kindle from google maps. Sometimes it's best to help yourself out as I don't know how much more hair I can remove from my head in moments of stress.

Anyway, I had found my hostel and however hard it had been to actually get into the city, however wet I was and however much I and my bags were caked in mud, I had found my hostel and that’s the most important thing is it not?

Well it certainly seemed like a nice place especially considering that they had bumped me up to a six person dorm instead of the fourteen person dorm I had originally booked. Then again, I’m a sceptic. Perhaps they never even had a fourteen person dormitory……

Although I did get a smaller dorm, they asked me if I had brought my own sheets. I said, "but of course, I always brought a duvet with me whilst travelling". I did however have my silk sleeping liner which would work but of course this wasn’t good enough. I must say though I was very fortunate as they had behind the reception, a huge stack of bed sheets just waiting for me to rent. They only cost 5 euro’s too. I was ever so grateful.

Sarcasm aside though, it was a nice hostel and it was slap bang in the middle of the centre and for seventeen euros, sorry twenty two euros, you can’t argue with that.

I did all the things I usually did when I arrived in a city and I also made some food for the evening. Actually I made two portions as this would do me for the next day aboard the ship. I wasn't going to pay the twenty eight euros they were asking for dinner that’s for sure.

Well after my much needed shower I headed out for a few hours in order to see Stockholm. Stockholm baby. I was almost on cloud nine.

Stockholm is nice, just like much of Scandinavia. It’s all very nice. The streets are clean, everything is very ordered and the architecture is, well, nice. It didn’t stun me but it also didn’t make my eye’s bulge. I think I like a little grit and salt in my cities.

When I got back to the hostel I went into the kitchen and just when I was about to make some coffee, the guy I had been talking to offered me a can of Kopperburg and, well something else too. It turns out it’s also a hostel where a lot of people stayed long term and - if anyone has ever stayed in such places - they will know how friendly and inviting they are. It was a good night.

Catching a ferry across the Baltic Sea to Estonia

It was only a five km ride to the port which was easy enough. The problem was actually finding the right place to go. It was a large port and much bigger than anything I had previously been to and this made for a bit of a headache. This, coupled with the fact that there was a lot of building work and diversions everywhere made finding the right place to check in rather difficult. I thought I might have to do a self check in and so went inside the main terminal which was packed with people. Realising that everything was upstairs and with a bike that has some trouble finding its way up escalators, I thought this can’t be right and so I cycled back outside and asked a few people if they knew where I needed to go. Unfortunately, they were all foot passengers. I then preceded to cycle around to see if I could find a sign or something but even this wasn’t happening.

In the end I went back to the terminal and asked someone to look after my bike whilst I ran upstairs to get some information. The lady gave me a map, said I didn’t need to check in as I was with a ‘vehicle’ and indicated to me where I should go.

I found the entrance to the car terminal not long after and still had an hour and a half to spare. For once I had taken precautions. I could relax thank goodness.

I was quite surprised when I saw the ferry though. Turned out to be an actual cruise ship which was kind of cool; I hadn’t been on one of these before.

I cycled through customs, to the front of the queue, past all the cars and was even more surprised that I was allowed on first. Now this day’s getting better and better.

Well it was a long fifteen hour voyage to Tallinn. The weather was again pretty horrendous and I realised that, on a large cruise ship, there isn’t much to do apart from spending money and so I opted to walk around and chill out in my cabin. I did visit the duty free shop and was dumbfounded by how large it was. I was perplexed by the amounts of alcohol people were carting off in trolleys. I could tell they were mostly Estonian’s and remember thinking it was a little weird as I thought Estonia was a cheap country to live in. Oh how wrong I was proved to be.

I have to say it was bleeding cheap, probably too cheap to miss out on the chance of purchasing some fine products and so I dashed off back to my cabin to find my wallet. At these prices I just couldn’t say no.

The ship arrived in Tallinn at ten the next morning. I had been awake since seven though having woken up twice during the night. It's difficult to sleep inside having been sleeping outside for so many nights thus I just made my way around the ship admiring the sea and making use of the free coffee refills in the restaurant on board.

I was just a little anxious too as I was about to meet someone at the port and this someone was the reason I was travelling in the direction of Estonia in the first place. Perhaps this had something to do with my sleepless night too. Perhaps.

I'll let you know how it all went.

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