Waking up few hours before dawn to hit the shower and prepare to go out, to explore a new place at the dead of winter sounds like a crazy idea, doesn’t it? Perhaps, only those who have strong will and extreme wanderlust would entertain such thought and pursue the plan of discovering an unfamiliar place in the darkest hours, despite the days are short, and the temperature continues to drop. It’s far from being unusual to those seasoned travelers who would rise from their beds at wee hours of the morning, to trek and summit the mountains, or take a long road trip to the beach, or head to the airport to catch an early morning flight, and yes, same is true for those sun worshippers who would do anything to chase sunrise at a special place or a great vantage point. Why do we do it? It’s a personal thing. Probably, next to being sacred for some. It may not sound logical to others particularly to those with different passion and interest, however, it gives atypical fulfilment, satisfaction and bliss!
- HOW I ARRIVE FROM HELSINKI, FINLAND TO TALLINN, ESTONIA
On my first Nordic-Baltic winter trip last December 2016, I ditched the idea of taking a short haul flight, and instead I took the 2-hour-ferry-ride from port of Helsinki, Finland (after spending 3 nights in Rovaniemi, Lapland and 2 nights in Helsinki) to Tallinn, Estonia. Armed with a pre-purchased one-way-ferry-ticket from Tallink & Silja website, the departure from Helsinki harbour was easy. For a couple of hours at sea, I stayed at the 9th floor of that massive ferry (inside a spacious branch of Burger King). Prior to the trip, I was thinking of going to the upper deck to view the ferry’s path outside, but I opted to just sit and munch on my steak burger meal with upsize Coke, because I chose not to leave my luggage and backpack anymore at the left-luggage counter (which gave me the advantage of disembarking ahead of the other passengers). I had a chance to enjoy the view of the Baltic Sea from the windows and it was sort of relaxing as it didn’t make me sea-sick.
With no immigration proceedings (as Finland and Estonia are both within the Schengen territory and my Schengen visa and passport had been checked and stamped upon my entry in Helsinki), I immediately took a taxi cab to my hostel that’s located right at the entrance to Old Town Tallinn. I arrived and checked in at past 4 in the afternoon when it’s already dark and cold. I quickly did my laundry, ate my dinner and had restful sleep on my bunk bed. What happened the next day was truly memorable!
- WINTER MORNING IN OLD TOWN TALLINN, ESTONIA
What’s so special about waking up early in Old Town Tallinn on a cold winter morning? Let my photographs below explain the reasons.
Behold. The Old Town Tallinn before the crack of dawn was all to myself last winter!
Silence was deafening, the cold was challenging.
Have you explored a city this early? Raise your hands if you have.
Even the Christmas Market at the heart of Old Town Tallinn was still sleeping.
But there’s beauty in silence, solitude and tranquility, isn’t it?
Thankful I saw the Christmas Market at dawn & soon as it opened early in the morning.
Blurred photograph, vivid memories. Excitement took me early to the vantage point.
Old Town Tallinn is one of the most picturesque medieval cities I’ve seen!
Look how those candy-colored rooftops adorned the Old Town Tallinn skyline.
Random buildings seemed winking at me. Beautiful town, isn’t it?
I couldn’t deny that I was freezing cold up there but the view was mesmerising!
Entertainment was served by a few graffiti.
Several snaps more and the sun was up.
A freezing wanderlust was behind those toothless smile.
Even my travel buddy, @gelothebar (follow him on Ig) was feeling cold in Tallinn!
At 7AM, I opted to leave the vantage point to walk back to the Christmas Market.
Street remained quiet, sans flock of tourists to my advantage.
The colors of Old Town became more visible as sun goes up.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral crowns & adorns the hill of Toompea in Old Town Tallinn.
Less people, more time to appreciate architecture, surrounding & just be in the moment.
A few more steps & I saw the town waking up to a fresh winter morning!
Et voila! Old Town Tallinn Christmas Market was opened when I came back!
I’d free sample of those sweet almonds! Really crunchy & sweet! Hooray for freebies! 😛
Too bad, I wasn’t able to wait for this stall to open for me to taste their duck confit!
But I scored a few Christmas decors from Tallinn, made in my country, the Philippines!
Before 9AM, I walked back to my hostel to check out, then I checked in to my hotel.
Old Town Tallinn is a must-visit when you’re in Estonia!
It’s terribly pretty regardless of time and season. Have you been? How’s your visit?