Our second to last day saw the group split in two, half of us visiting Skype, whilst the other half enjoyed an extra three hours (and by this stage, much needed) respite, with the two groups switching for our final day. Thankfully, the stars aligned and I was one of the sleepers and so had the distinct pleasure of watching our exhausted, bleary-eyed new friends wander through the doors of Transferwise at 1pm. We were seated and given the company spiel; Transferwise is an Estonian start up launched in 2011 that enables users to bypass the fees imposed by banks on international money transfers. It’s the brainchild of two ex-Skype employees, and today is responsible for £800 million pounds being exchanged per month. More importantly though, at least for most of us present, it just seemed a really engaging and vibrant atmosphere to be a part of, and led to a number of us considering applying for internships. I’d like to say the desire to apply wasn’t based, in part, on the fact they had a ball pit in their office, but I’d be lying.
After Transferwise we stopped off for a quick lunch before travelling to visit the Bastion tunnels under “Kiek in de Kok,” (15th century) which translates to “Peeking into the kitchen” as the lofty heights afforded by this tower lead to soldiers peering into neighbours kitchens. Below, a labyrinth of tunnels constructed along with the Bastions in the late 17th century allowed soldiers to reposition against enemy attacks, spy on the enemy and fire on their flanks. From 1936, the tunnels were used as air raid shelters, whilst during the Soviet occupation, the hill above the tunnels was used by youths selling Beatles albums, who then ran into the now dilapidated tunnels to take refuge from Soviet police. Nowadays, most of the tunnels are too run down/infested with spiders for tourist visitation, however, there is a small segment available, which our group explored. There were a series of videos designed to help us appreciate firstly, the difficulty of building the tunnels and secondly, the fear of people hiding inside them during WWII.
Following this, we had some free time to wander the city. With the project coming to a close, for many of us it was our last chance to soak in the sights of Tallinn’s gorgeous Old Town or get our tourist on and purchase some typical Estonian souvenirs, like bongos.
We finished the night sprawled across cushions watching 1944, an Estonian film about soldiers having to choose between the Red and German armies during the war, resulting in Estonians fighting against each other. Then it was off for yet another sauna and bed before our final day of tearful farewells and distinctly un-Estonian public displays of group affection.