Friday, 9 March 2007

Tallinn Thoughts

Yet another quickie post with some random thoughts about Tallinn, Estonia. Hopefully useful for my colleagues coming over shortly and anyone else who might be visiting soon. I won't touch anything that should be easily accessible from a tourism website.

First, a couple of thoughts about traveling here - the no-liquids rule and small planes on the final hop here really make it much easier to check in luggage rather than relying on carry-on. Now that flying in EU has the same restrictions on carrying liquids as flying in the US, you pretty much cannot carry any creams, gels or even toothpaste. If you try to stick to carry-on luggage to avoid baggage claim the way I do, you will have to buy everything again when you hit Tallinn. Also, every time I have flown to Tallinn (three times on two different airlines) the final hop uses a very small turbo-propeller driven plane of Russian construction. The problem with these planes is that the overhead compartment is tiny and cannot hold much more than a backpack or a standard briefcase. None of those large carry-ons.

Flying FinAir from China stops in Helsinki but you can stay in the international section of the airport. No EU (Schengen) visa required. Flying Air China requires changing planes/airlines so you will need an EU visa. Much more convenient to fly FinAir even if the EU visa isn't a hassle.

Tallinn appears to be pretty safe. There are people walking alone late at night, so violent crime doesn't appear to be a problem for most folk. The city is small enough that you can walk to most places. Bring a comfortable pair of shoes. It also has a lot of beautiful old europe architecture so bring a camera if you are into snapping pictures.

Lots of decent western food places here, but other than Indian and Japanese, not a lot of Asian food. Prices are about double the price for western food in both Malaysia or Beijing and many times the price of a standard meal in either country. Still quite cheap for an european country though.

A very nice place overall. I could be convinced to come here a lot more often ...

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