The overnight train from Moscow to Tallinn leaves Moscow in the early evening and arrives in Tallinn the next morning at around 8am. Paying for ‘Coupe’ compartment is what you want to do especially if you are travelling in pairs. It is two to a cabin and pretty comphy compared to the ‘plax card’ which is six people to a sort of a nook in a carrige with seven other nooks in it. In summer these nooks can be a bit overwhelming! I managed to share my cabin with a nice guy going for a day trip for business, I was going just to get a stamp in my passport as a requirement for not breaking my visa restrictions.
Arriving at 8am in Tallinn is fantastic if you manage to snag a balmy warm July day as I did. I wouldn’t much like it in winter I don’t suppose. I spent the first couple of hours with my cabin mate from the train showing me around the old city and pointing out where to have lunch and the main attractions. This was a valuable insight but the old city not being huge and having 10 hours before the return train I think I would have found everthing just fine. It was a very nice welcome anyway.
The day was spent mostly strolling around wherever the paths took me in the old city. I ventured out to one side for a little way but the city became remarkably like any other Eastern Block city, not very exciting if you happen to live in Moscow. The old city is the best place if you like the architecture of the era(s) when the city was built. I took plenty of photos some of which you can find here. I didn’t put them all there as I got a bit carried away, there is enough there to give you a taste and perhaps even the urge to go.
Lunch was great. Chicken breast, salad, some yummy fries and a litre and a half of the finest local beer. This took me a good few hours to digest and I could hardly stand up to get moving on to find parts of the city that I missed before lunch.
The afternoon was spent much the same as the morning just wandering around taking photos. This of course got a bit tedious so I lashed out and shopped for a few souvenirs. Vana a famous liqeuer from Tallinn was high on the list. Half a dozen bottle of this in varying strenghts oughta do it for the guys back in the office, ohh and don’t forget the red wine for the train trip home. Now I was in need of coffee, plenty of choice here. The main square is the place to do coffee though marveling at the cobbled square wondering about the poor souls who were chained to the walls for punishment so many years ago – or so the stories go anyway.
Whoops time to go. Its 5pm and I need to find cold beer and something to eat for dinner on the train. It is a BYO everthing affair and for 16 hours beer, wine, chips, bread, salami and something for breakfast is needed. Finding the beer and chips was no problem of course but it was musli bars pre packed in Moscow for breakfast. I made it back to the train in plenty of time to chat with my new cabin mate, a government employee going to Moscow to work in the Embassy.
Funny thing happened on the train. As I said I especially went on the trip to get the stamp and on crossing back into Russia (at some crazy time of the morning after 3 beers and 3/4 of a bottle of wine) the border guard found that my passport hadn’t been stamped on the way out. OMG now I thought I was going to get kicked off the train! It turned out afte I described the border guard that checked us on the way out that she was a dizzy blonde and that she regularly forgets to stamp documents. So as it goes they gave me an entry and exit stamp and let me back to sleep.
A lazy rocking trip for the remaining 5 hours drenched in the morning sun (which rose at just after 3am) back to Moscow was soothing. I arrived in the big smoke feeling fresh and ready for work which is where I ended up directly from the train.
If you get the chance go on this trip!