Holidays in general breed unrealistic expectations. The minute you start wondering, ‘is it going to be wonderful enough?,’ it never will be.
– Pepper Schwartz
I travelled to Tallinn in Estonia 9 years ago; my cousin and I caught a coach from St. Petersburg and arrived in this capital city without really knowing much about it. I fell in love. And I’ve talked about Tallinn with affection ever since. Consequently, knowing that Sam and I would be travelling through Estonia on our road trip, I was excited. And also a little apprehensive. What if I had painted a picture of Tallinn that it couldn’t live up to in reality? What if it was all rose-tinted glasses? What if I just thought it was special because it was one of the first places I travelled to?
I needn’t have worried: it is still beautiful, magical and ultimately stunning. The old town has a beautiful medieval charm – somewhat akin to Bruges or Mont Saint Michel. The people are kind and welcoming, and even those that are clearly bored of their jobs (the ‘nut roasting’ girls for example) greet you with a smile.
The old town is definitely the best part of Tallinn, with its imposing walls and towers, higgledy-piggeldy cobbled streets, churches and stunning vista points. In my opinion, I cannot oversell this city. The main square is surrounded by restaurants, all with outdoor dining areas, but my favourite is a little way off the square – a restaurant called Kompressor. Kompressor serves pancakes. And it serves them very well. I first came here 9 years ago, and I’m pretty certain that the menu hasn’t changed in that time – but thats not an issue because all the options are delicious (and refreshingly inexpensive)
Another place that is recommended in every guide book is a pub named ‘Hell Hunt’. This establishment boasts that it is the first Estonian pub. Which is a pretty awesome accolade to have. The food here is great, the staff all speak English, but it isn’t simply a tourist location, many of the patrons are local people too. Plus, naked girl riding a wolf as as logo – who doesn’t love that?
Tallinn Old Town is now, and probably will always be, a place to wander, explore and find your own way.
From Tallinn, we travelled to Parnu, which was sweet enough, but most definitely geared towards warmer weather. Since we visited on a rather miserable day, we decided to forego the beach and head off out of town into the unknown of Latvia.
Where is your favourite place in Estonia? Where is the best secret spot in this wonderful country?