Day 1 – Finland
My flight was at 11am, so I didn’t have to be up too early to make to it on time. I decided to Dublin Bike it down to the quays and grab the bus from there. Somehow I managed to pull my achilles while on the bike and had to limp my way through the airport like an oul lad. Getting on!
I made it on time and boarded the tiny SAS plane for a smooth flight into Helsinki. I arrived at around 2pm and grabbed a train into the city centre which took around 35 minutes or so, through some scenic countryside. It was a lovely day out so I decided to jump right into it and do some sight seeing stopping off at the famous Helsinki Cathedral before grabbing a buffet nearby.
My friend Sofia, who was from Helsinki but away that weekend, offered me her apartment for my time there so I met with her aunty just after 4pm who dropped me over to Sornainen and let me in. Sound out! The area was super cool with a sauna with a bunch of lads in the nip right around the corner. I headed to the local Spar for some scoops and noticed it also had a gambling section so there were a load of local lads gambling away. Class!
I headed into the main city centre to meet with a friend from Erasmus and onto a Spanish bar for some food and scoops. Not one Spanish person in sight! After that I dropped into Molly Malones Irish bar for the customary pint, which was pretty awful. After a while there we decided to call it a night and I strolled to the centre and managed to get the local Nitelink home after much confusion!
I made it up for 10am the next day which was pretty impressive and whipped up some scrambled eggs and headed out down to the main market square. I bought a ticket to Suomenlinna, which is a collection of small islands that are a UNESCO world heritage site. There weren’t a whole lot of tourist except for many Asians with selfie sticks so I had the islands more or less to myself. I wandered around for about an hour or so before the rain started so jumped on the next boat back to the mainland.
Once back at the port, I made my way over to the _____ church and walked across town to see the Parliament which was closed, so was a bit miffed about that. I was starvin marvin so grabbed some lunch and a few cans and made my way back to the ranch for a chill. That evening I met with some of my mates and headed to an Aussie bar to watch some football and then the Eurovision which was wild! We ended up in a local club where I made mates with a lad from Gambia who just came to the club alone to chat up women. Hero! After a few Bieber dance moves I decided to head home to get some much needed rest
Day 3 - Estonia
When the alarm went off at 8am I was not a happy camper, but managed to get showered and across town to the port in time for my ferry to Tallinn on time. The boat itself was overbooked so I was moved up to Business class which meant I got a free glass of wine. I almost puked when she asked me did I want it at 10am.
I arrived in Tallinn at 12.30pm which meant I had a full day more or less to explore the city. The entrance to the port is one of the most impressive/ugly things I’ve ever seen it in life. It was like a huge pyramid that had originally been built for the Rowing World Cup during the Soviet era. Something else! After getting my bearings I headed into the Old town , passing a Statoil (not chicken fillet rolls), which was extremely beautiful and came across even more Asians with selfie sticks. Amazing scenes.
I had a quick bite to eat and a pint at the local Irish bar, as you do, watched a huge musical procession that was taking part in the main square. After 30 minutes or so I decided to see some more the city and headed to Freedom square, where there was another concert and took a stroll among some of the ancient ruins of the city’s walls, before finishing up at a beautiful orthodox church. Afterwards I checked out the parliament and climbed to the top of the main ____ church in the Old Town which offers amazing views of the city. A must see, but maybe not if you suffer from an sort of vertigo as the safety barriers aren’t the best.
Once down I headed to meet a friend for some dinner and then headed onto watch some football in a local bar testing out some of the local beers in the process. By the time I made it back to the boat it was raining pretty bad and I was freezing my nips off. When I got back to the apartment in Helsinki, I was wrecked, so I did a quick pack, clean and I was up at 3am for flight back to Emerald Isle.
Although a very quick trip to both countries, both Helsinki and Tallinn have a a lot to offer for a long weekend. Both are steep in history and fully accessible by foot. I'd recommend flying to Estonia first and then boating across to Finland, opposite to what I did to get the best bang for your buck!