Soon Tallinn faded into the horizon and we were on our way. We were on the fast ferry, which was a good decision. We later learned that due to the ship passing through international waters between Estonia and Finland, some of the ferries are scheduled to take 2-3 times longer. On these cruises, the boat basically runs around in circles in the “duty free” zone while people drink their fill of cheap liquor. Interesting concept.
Obviously, the weather was gorgeous. Once we disembarked we got a taxi to our hotel. And here’s the irony. After all the warnings about gypsy taxis and illegal mafia taxis in Russia and Estonia, we were completely ripped off by our driver here. The gypsy taxi in Saint Petersburg was the cheapest ride we had our entire trip. The Helsinki taxi was a complete rip off with the driver charging us more than he originally quoted, purposely breaking at green lights and sitting there until it turned red. I was FURIOUS. And it was a moment in which I could sympathize with how my dad often felt when he brought our whole family over to Europe and was commonly ripped off. There was such a sense of helplessness because while the driver was able to speak English when he quoted us the price, he lost it when he decided to take us for all we were worth (literally, the final fare was every single euro that Scotty had because we hadn’t yet withdrawn euros for the trip – it was just what we had on hand from a past trip). It almost wrecked my day because I was so mad. Thankfully, Helsinki is really beautiful and the day was splendid so I soon got over it…sort of. We soon learned the public transport system and avoided all further interactions with taxis.
As it was later afternoon when we arrived, we just decided to get our bearings and check out some of the most famous buildings. The sun was setting and the light was amazing. There is something about northern light that is so spectacular.
The sky was always changing, causing the light to shift from gentle and luminous to dark and threatening.
We walked down to the harbor and just sat and watched the sky and light change.
Having got a taste of Helsinki we were excited to do more exploring tomorrow. But now it was off to bed.