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Tallinn is more than a winter wonderland
I arrived in Tallinn by ferry from Helsinki, which makes it a great side-trip from Finland, though the New York Daily News reports the time to the old city from the local airport is a mere 15 minutes – which is almost impossible to imagine for anyone who has sought Manhattan after landing in JFK.
When I climbed the walls of Tallinn a year and a half ago, I had no sense for the town as a winter wonderland, but looking back, I can see it as a Christmas village waiting to happen. The UNESCO world heritage site (since 1997) is among the best-preserved medieval villages in the world and takes advantage of its unusual look to host a Christmas market that began last year on November 29 and is set to close this week (on January 7).
If Santa isn't really your scene – or if you wait for warmer weather before visiting – make it a priority to visit the indoor shooting range. Ask for Instructor Tonu to show you the ropes with an AK-47, and have a blast sending rounds downrange. Top it off with a meal at Olde Hansa, and you're good to go.
[Photo by Tom Johansmeyer]