Saturday 1st July
This morning we waved goodbye to Scandinavia as we boarded the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia. As many people have asked if we planned to travel through Russia on our way South, you can check yesterday’s article on “How NOT to travel in Russia” to find out why we avoided it on this trip!
We rode with Viking Line ferries, which were much more dog-friendly than the ship we took from Denmark to Norway. Lex was allowed on board the normal passenger areas of the ship, instead of being segregated into a sad dystopian kennel, as was the case on our last international ferry. Lex was very happy about this.
We checked into an Airbnb in Tallinn – The first time we’d slept in a real house since we stayed with Marius in Sandefjord, 3 weeks ago! I was VERY excited for this taste of luxury, whereas Morgan was sad about leaving the wilderness behind and worried that it would make us soft. We had booked the apartment fairly last minute, due to our habit of never planning anything in advance, which meant our options were fairly limited. We have quite a few Airbnb requirements too. Apartments need to:
BUT not have other pets that Lex will not tolerate (a surprisingly rare combo already)
Have wifi (due to our ongoing saga of trying to find wifi in places where dogs are allowed)
Ideally have parking (because Esmerelda needs somewhere to sleep too!)
We ruled out anywhere super expensive too. This left us with just two options in all of Tallinn, and we’d gone with the cheaper one, outside of the city centre. Tallinn boasts some very classic Soviet suburbs, in the same fetching shade of grey that decorates Moscow’s endless miles of tower blocks. Some of the buildings had faded stripes down the side, in shades of off-salmon or barely-blue. We wondered if these attempts at colour were designed by the original Soviet architects, or added post-independence to try to spruce the place up with capitalist glamour.
The dystopian children’s playground outside our window also made it clear we weren’t in Scandinavia no more.
All the reviews for our chosen Airbnb had mentioned the area, some to point out that it felt “kinda sketchy” and others to say they liked its authentic,non-touristy feeling. We felt it was actually quite refreshing to be somewhere with a bit of grit after so long in utopian Nordic lands.
We embraced Estonian culture that evening by going for a pizza, breathing a collective sigh of relief at just how much cheaper everything is now we’ve left Scandinavia. Dogs were of course not allowed in the pizza place, and it was slightly too far from our apartment for us to walk back with a still warm pizza. We asked if we could sit at a seat outdoors.
“Sure…” mused the pizza place staff. “But you will be cold! We have tables in here you can -”
“We have a dog” we informed them.
“Ah. Outdoor table it is then” said the lovely staff, rather apologetically.
Still, we had layers of coats and jackets to keep us warm, plus a few Estonian craft beers, which went straight to our heads after weeks of our incidental Scandinavian booze abstinence.
As our pizzas arrived, Lex got to work practicing his best puppy-dog-eyes.
After we’d finished eating, he became quite indignant about needing to sit on the cold decking, and managed to turn my backpack into a ghetto dog-bed instead. This very thin bag contained a number of angular objects:
One Empty dog food Tupperware
Certainly nothing soft at all
Despite the incredible lumpiness of the cushion, Lex settled on it and gave us a look as if to say “at least it’s not the floor, harsh human overlords.”
Later on, while we were preparing to do our laundry, Lex continued this tradition by turning our pile of dirty clothes into a nest, then complaining loudly when we tried to pull them out from under him so that we could actually put them in the washing machine.
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