When I mention Tallinn Estonia to people I often get blank looks as they desperately try to place Estonia somewhere on a mental map and figure out what little they know about Tallinn. I sometimes mention the Singing Revolution of the early 1990s whereby spontaneous mass night-singing demonstrations peacefully led to independence from the USSR. But that usually gets a blank stare. Surprisingly, what often is best known about Estonia is the creation of Skype. Not something you would expect in a Soviet satellite nation but that really is the point.
Nothing is expected in Estonia. Not a highly developed tech economy from just 1.3 million people. Not a perfectly preserved Old Town with tastefully restored buildings. Not an eclectic photography museum and gallery with fascinating exhibits. Not some of the best fine dining restaurants in all of Europe. And certainly not a bustling cruise ship destination.
Perhaps that’s why I liked it so much. Nothing in travel these days comes as quite a surprise as Tallinn did.