My flight to Tallinn from Budapest had a layover at Helsinki’s airport (which was slightly disappointing since the flight I had actually paid for was going to give me several hours to explore Vienna, Austria). Several stalls there, in addition to selling duty-free liquor and six euro cups of coffee, had reindeer pelts available. On my day trip back to the city, it was amusing once more to find reindeer meatballs as street food. I can’t say whether this is a gimmick for tourists or not but at least I can say that those meatballs had the consistency and taste of the turkey meatballs I make at home.
Herol recommended Helsinki as a side trip and even helped me snag an 18 euro round trip ferry (Viking Lines advertised a huge sale… but only on their Estonian language website). The two hour trip (on a boat that seemed more cruise ship than ferry) deposited me right in the middle of where all the sights were. While some sights, like the Lutheran and Upenski Cathedrals, were packed to the gills, others, like the Bank of Finland and parts of Suomenlinna Island, were practically empty. If you really want to avoid seeing people, there are plenty of light-free tunnels inside Suomenlinna Fortress to hide in. Otherwise, I suppose it’s just a given that such a nice place will draw huge crowds.