Why Tallinn, you may wonder?! British Airways had recently started to fly to Tallinn from London Heathrow. Why not give Tallinn a chance to showcase its beauty? Also, I can tick off the checklist of having visited yet another UNESCO World Heritage Centre. How does it feel to visit Tallinn over the Easter vacations? Brr…bitterly cold would be the short answer! Tallinn was still hibernating, barely awaken from the arms of winter. Don’t say I didn’t warn you?! The ice-cold Estonian winds are definitely not for the faint-hearted! I can feel the cold in my bones and my fingers froze as I tried to capture moments for the gram! Each photo is definitely made with love just for you. We learnt it the hard way as I was hankering for a bit of seaside adventure. You had better arm yourself with scarfs, gloves and woolen hats. We didn’t! It was super silly to come unprepared for the harsh weather elements…
What was my first impression of Tallinn? Firstly, as I flew over the magical Estonian landscape, I was lulled by the sweet songs of the magical deep woodlands and farmlands. Nature always seem to find its way to relax the wearied fibres of my soul. Nature can untie a thousand knots in our hearts, do you agree? It does really feel as if Tallinn has only just started to open up its doors to the world. A trendsetter’s life it is?! As I wade through the throngs of the fellow plane passengers to collect our luggages, I said to myself, “Tallinn airport is rather tiny for a European city airport”. Yea.. the flight was pretty full! Luckily, the baggage handling were efficient. The short 4-km taxi ride to the city was reasonably priced. The taxi driver was friendly and helpful without being intrusive. I suspected that English may not be his forte but as long as he can understand where we were hoping to get to and drive safely, that is all that matters. I’ve only been truly tempted to take over the wheels of the taxi twice in my life, once in Hong Kong and another time in Shanghai. I’ll spare you the details until another time.
The taxi took us to the Hotel Telegraaf. The taxi driver’s goodbye felt rather abrupt and it felt as cold as the chilly Estonian breeze. Check-in was painless and we were soon in our Executive Double room. The Small Luxury Hotels website was favourably priced as compared to Hotels.com website. It certainly pays to compare prices when booking hotels?! When in Tallinn, I’d recommend that you stick to the old town of Tallinn. Tallinn is an incredibly walkable city. We walked everywhere from catching the romantic charms of old Tallinn, to catching a glimpse of the Baltic Sea and the industrial feel of the Telliskivi Loomelinnak creative city. The lunch on the plane had sustained us for our afternoon walk. Let’s crack on and explore Tallinn, shall we?
Having the old town just on the doorstep, had certainly made a difference. You can feel the vintage old town vibes in the air that you breathe in. The first point of interest was only 3 min walk down the road from the Hotel Telegraaf. The main town square was adorned with shops of rainbow colour facades and the Gothic architectural styled Tallinn Town Hall. The main features of the Tallinn Town Hall that had really caught my eyes were the gargoyles and the old Thomas weather vane, the guardian of the city of Tallinn.
The story of old Thomas is an interesting one. Once upon a time, there lived a peasant boy who excelled at a sports game of crossbow firing of wooden parrot on top of a pole, a spring time competition held in the olden days. Due to his low-born status, he could not receive a prize but he was awarded the position of a town guardian for life. Would you have liked to be a town guardian? That sounds like an awesomely cool job! The old Thomas weather vane was inspired by this legend. If you have kids, you may wish to take them on the toy train ride. You will find the boarding point next to the town square. We also met an interesting fellow all dressed up and who insisted that he is photographed. Do try to find him in the slide show below. Don’t miss out on walking through the St. Catherine’s Passage, it’s only a short stone throw’s away from the town square. I love the mood of the St. Catherine’s Passage. I can feel the Gothic breath in the air.
After that, we strolled past a beautiful gelato parlour by the name of Cortile and then walked up an interesting narrow and steep street called Lühike jalg. This path leads us to beautiful views of the St. Nicholas Church and museum, the Tallitorn and the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It is indeed possible to spend only half a day to visit the main sights in the old town. But, that wouldn’t have pleased the adventurous spirit in us global nomads, would it? It is good to poke our noses in every nook and cranny of the city just to catch a glimpse of life as if you were a local. Do you agree?
In the evening, we ate at the Pegasus restaurant. We were given a table on the second floor overlooking the St. Nicholas church. We had some aperitifs to begin the meal. The highlights of the meal is definitely the lieb (Estonian black rye bread) and the pate. Note to self : I must learn how to make lieb. As a non-bread lover, lieb is definitely an eye-opener into the world of rye breads. The beef main course was beautifully prepared. The duck was a bit dry though.
After breakfast, having familiarised ourselves with our surroundings the day before, we retraced the steps of yesterday’s main sights for further photo shoots. There were only a handful of tourists during the Easter weekend. We literally had the whole city to ourselves. Our next mission was to locate the Patkuli Vaateplats viewing platform to capture a bird’s eye view of the city and we weren’t disappointed. The fairy tales views of the rooftops, the towers and walls of the old town Tallinn were excellent ingredients of a beautiful composition. You can also catch ferries shuttling back and forth between Helsinki and Tallinn. What do you think?
At lunchtime, we walked over to the Telliskivi Loomelinnak Creative City. We had our first taste of vana tallinn, latte and cakes at the F-Hoone restaurant. F-Hoone has this sweet industrial vibe, you can feel the relaxation as soon as you fall into its arms. I can spot many locals dining in F-Hoone, so this is definitely the restaurant to go for. If you are the hippy, artsy and creative type, you will definitely love F-Hoone. One of the cakes were made of lieb slices sandwiched with fresh cream and decorated with sprinkles of dried blue cornflower petals, how interesting!
If you love street arts, you’ve come to the right place. Telliskivi lives and breathes in street arts. A very creative soul, is the beautiful soul of Telliskivi. Do experience it and let me know your thoughts, I know you will love it too.
I will try to cover our next Tallinn adventures in Part 2. Until then, thank you (in Estonian: aitäh) and keep well. Greetings from Tallinn with love! Head aega!