Sat in Tallinn airport waiting to return to London when, after a quick turnaround, we’ll head off tomorrow morning in the wee small hours to Istanbul and a month exploring Turkey.
Tallinn was a beautiful place, especially the historic old town which had a lot of interesting architecture and some great hostelries serving good solid (meat based) fare and nice ales.
Would definitely recommend a short stay, especially the spa hotel we were at. Had a couple of highly relaxing sessions in the pool, Jacuzzi and sauna, but didn’t partake of the well equipped gym due to laziness!
Agree with Pat that Tallinn is great and def worth a visit though I think a couple of days is enough. Town Hall Square was used (I think) to film the Child Catcher scene in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the whole old town looks like a Disney set. It’s fabulous.
This part of the trip has been especially nice as we’ve been with my brother Sandy and my Mum Bridget. Last year we went to Norway. It just seemed a great way to spend some time with my mum before her head off for a year.
What struck us most about here though was Estonia’s history of occupation. Basically, Sweden, Germany and the Soviets have all had a go. In the 19th century and most recently in 1990 Estonians fought for independence by, amongst other things singing. How fab is that? But it’s interesting what always being occupied does to a national psyche. We got a sense that they are not fearful and very accepting of how things are now. My mum (who we were with here) told me that my father’s family, who were various nationalities living in Aachen, thought of themselves as border people (Aachen is on the Dutch German border). He used to say border people are often crafts people as you can do that in any country. Certainly there were loads of brilliant crafts here – particularly iron work. Off the main square we found an antiques shop which had a genuine CCCP cosmonaut helmet next to an SS cap; busts of Hitler and Stalin next to pictures of Jesus!
After independence from the Soviet Union, it seems that this small northern country with its own language wanted to find a way to carve its future so they decided to look out to the rest of the world and embraced the t’interweb big time. They invented Skype and as a result I think Tallinn is the most Internet connected capital in the world. Even the municipal car parks don’t have a meter, just instructions how to pay online. And of course, they have possibly the world’s only Depeche Mode bar. What more can you ask for!
However, they haven’t really got vegetarianism yet. But there’s plenty of elk, bear, herring and wild boar. And loads of amazing cakes and marzipan. It’s certainly doing well for Estonians who all look pretty amazing and healthy, even if they are wrapped up warmly as its pretty cold.
Next stop Istanbul. 24 degrees. Bring it on!!!