Paldiski could be classified as the worst city I have ever travelled to… purposely. Apparently, the guide books even say “Welcome to Hell” when talking about the small, former Soviet naval base, but still my current fascination with all things “Soviet style” helped Sam talk me into checking it out. Apparently there was even going to be the remains of a submarine training center as well. How could I possibly pass up a day trip like this?!
It took an hour by train of travelling through rural Estonia before arriving in the desolate factory town of Paldiski. In the small cafe in the train station, Sam and I acquired a third companion, an English lad whom I saw bumbling through a Lonely Planet guide. He, too, was in search of the submarine base. As three now, we made our way into town, wandering aimlessly towards the sea in hopes of discovering the base, one which apparently can be spotted from ANYWHERE in town.
We marvelled at the lifelessness of this tiny town – the torn up basketball court, the one pub, and the barb wire protected car factories. One can only imagine an Estonian winter in this part of the world!
We wandered a bit longer with no luck in finding the submarine base when yet another person with a backpack and guide book saw us on the street. Our group became four as we scoured the town for any signs. We eventually ended up on a long, long walk outside of town towards a lighthouse.
Unfortunately, we never found the base. We’re convinced that the guide books are out of date (haha, go figure) and it doesn’t exist anymore. Oh well. Sam and I had a great time and made some new friends in the process. Can’t go wrong with a day filled with good people and good conversation in a town that at least has a nice coastline.