I need to preface this post with the fact that the dear old Estonian Kroon (EEK) that existed when I travelled is no more. As of January 2011 Estonia joined the majority of EU countries and adopted the Euro as the currency of choice. What does that mean? Well I can no longer guarantee pricing against what things cost when I visited last year.
Estonia was to be one of many countries that would help keep my budget down to a respectable number. In fact when I first started to map out the places I wanted to visit, I factored in how things would be expensive in one country and then cheaper in another for balance.
With its own currency in the Kroon I felt like everything was costing a fortune, but really that was far from the truth. Along with perfect beer drinking weather I also spied some of the most beautiful women in my life here and no folks that wasn’t just because of all the beer I was to consume. Estonia was to break the mold on what I though European cities were all about.
|Day||Transport||Hostel||Attractions||Breakfast||Lunch||Dinner||Misc||Total EEK||Total $AU|
I had no transport costs here, everything was within walking distance when you are living near the Old Town. The one time that I needed to catch local transport I managed to escape the cost as the hostel owner drove me and a friend there and gave us free trolleybus tickets to get home.
The hostel was cheap, really cheap (145 EEK or just under 10 Euro at the time) but not cheap as in bad. The place was clean, it had massive showers (locker room style), free computers to use the internet or free wifi for your own, a great big flat screen TV and not to forget a nice little kitchen with all the cooking utensils you’ll ever need.
It was by far the best hostel I had stayed at to date for facilities vs cost vs everything and by the time it came ready to leave I really didn’t want to go. The staff joined in on a vodka drinking session one night and even made me some good old ham and cheese toasted sandwiches. Pretty cool or what??
Just strolling around the Old Town was an attraction in itself. On my journey so far I’d not really come across anything like Tallinn before so taking the free walking tour (Tipped 100 EEK) was a great chance to see a lot of it and the tour guide I had loved their city.
As well as the tour I climbed St. Olaf’s Church (30 EEK) which had an amazing view and I also visited the Open Air Museum (95 EEK) on the other side of town which houses a variety of old buildings similar to Skansen in Stockholm.
With a kitchen better setup than in my last flat back home I headed to the supermarket for supplies. Living on a pasta concoction just about every night with toast and fruit for breakfast I had never been so proud of myself.
Lunch was the only meal I didn’t cook but even then I ate well as I stopped at a couple of different local restaurants with other backpackers.
Hmm lets see… out of four nights in Tallinn I was out drinking like a fish on three of them and as such my misc cost are 75% beer 25% food. From the bottle of Vodka we bought (Tip buy the bottles that you can’t read the labels of) to the beers consumed it’s surprising I wasn’t hungover everyday.
Total Cost for Tallinn
I only spent four days in Tallinn but could have easily spent two weeks or more. In four days I spent a total of 2155 Kroon or 199.55 AUD (at an exchange rate of 10.80 Kroon = 1 AUD). An average of almost $50 AUD a day which given my excess drinking is extremely cheap no matter how you look at it. I can see why it’s becoming such a hot tourist stop off and unfortunately a drop off point for many English stag weekends.
To compare the costs to today’s exchange rate, leaving Australia now (Feburary 2011) it would have cost you $187.39 AUD. Unfortunately as I mentioned at the beginning of this post Estonia now operates under the Euro and as such I cannot tell you how that has affected prices. To give you a possible idea and this is only a straight currency conversion it would have cost me 137.78 Euro (Exchange rate of 1 Euro = 15.64 EEK) when I visited in May last year.
Did I love Estonia? You bet I did. It was cheap, fun, impressively beautiful and that’s just from seeing Tallinn. I arrived knowing nothing but what Lonely Planet had told me as I’d never found a blogger who had been there before and written a great deal about it. I think that was part of the allure, set foot where no man had gone before kinda deal.
The East of Europe really is very different to the West and with this being my first real taste of it I’d have to say I was in love. Sure it was touristy but step outside the Old Town wall and you began to see more of what the towns past really evolved from. The public transport system, buildings and shops, everything was far from as polished as places you find to the West.
Overall that made it that much more interesting, a visit to the little supermarket down the road was an adventure as the shelves were filled with products I couldn’t make out. Beer in great big plastic bottles, meat that even I a butcher’s son wouldn’t eat and more.
Tallinn left me wanting to go back and I really hope I get the chance.