When I arrived inTallinn, Estonia by bus from Riga, Latvia the other night, the sky was bright blue and the autumn air was crispy and cold.
I followed the direction of the church steeples looming over the skyline in the distance into the Old Town. As the sun started to go down, the old medieval buildings began to glow in the golden sun. Even though I was hungry, I realized that I might not have an opportunity to capture photos of the city as beautiful as they would be at that moment. I ran around, all over the Old Town, chasing the sun and climbing hills to find the best views.
I was right. I got lots of beautiful photos of the lighting caused by sunset and the days that followed were more overcast and gray. I am glad I took that opportunity and it was a good way to get acquainted with the city!
Once I was satisfied with my photos, I started to look for food. In the Old Town of Tallinn, there really isn’t much in the way of good restaurants that aren’t overpriced and touristy. I was called over by a woman dressed in a medieval gown to try The Olde Hansa. It is a Medieval restaurant that really runs with the theme. The staff were all dressed up and in character, there were three women playing medieval instruments, the dark wooden tavern was candle-lit, the menu was in an odd script. Even the bathrooms looked like they would have back in 1500 or whenever.
I decided to stay because I was starving, and it is fun to pretend you are in another time. The food wasn’t that great and made me feel a bit sick after -they really are thorough with the theme!
It was Friday and I wanted to go out, but I was also really hoping to get a good night’s sleep so my cold would go away. Unfortunately, the hostel I was staying at is next to a few bars and my room was vibrating with loud music and bass until 8 am. Yes, 8 am. Estonians never stop! It made me want to join in on the fun even more…but I definitely didn’t sleep well.
I spent the next day walking around and exploring some neighborhoods near the old town. It was really hard to find food of any kind. There were no grocery stores or cafés! So weird. But it may have been because I was looking. In traveling, I have learned that everything is everywhere -until you are looking for it. This principle was especially true when it came to boulangeries in France. They disappeared whenever I wanted a baguette!
After exploring a bit, I took some TheraFlu and tried to sleep. At 11pm, a girl from the hostel and I decided to go out and explore the nightlife.
While we were walking around old town, a German student found us and invited us to join him and his friends. The group of us went to a cool bar called Labor that served drinks in flasks and test tubes. There was a room for dancing. It was fun for a while but eventually our group dissipated and I went off on my own to walk around.
I stumbled into a karaoke bar filled with Estonians and Finnish people. I thought it would be fun to put my name down and and wait to sing meanwhile listening to the drunkenly sung Estonian songs. While I was listening, I chatted with some of the Estonians there. One of them bought me a drink which was milk with liquor. It seems that Estonians mix milk and alcohol quite often.
Then I sang my go-to karaoke song -Black Velvet. Ah it was fun. Afterwards some of the Estonian guys brought me to their favorite “local” bar. It had a great atmosphere and the dj was spot on. Everyone was just standing in the colorful lights chilling out and dancing. I’m glad they brought me there.
The next day was cold and rainy but I wanted to see an old Soviet market called Balti Jaama Turg near the train station so I waded through the rain and wind to check it out. It wasn’t very special. Just another market with the same things at each stall ….probably all from China like every other market I have been to.
Then I went to the Occupation Museum which has displays about Estonia during WWII and during the Soviet era.