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Old Favorites & New Places--part 1, Tallinn, Estonia

I returned a week ago from one of my most successful trips yet, 4 countries in 2 weeks, 4/30-5/13; all connections went off perfectly, I rode the bus between countries which was new for me, I discovered 2 beautiful new cities & revisited 2 beloved cities, and no physical ailments! Last year's 2 trips saw me suffer through 6 days of a spondylolisthesis flare in Munich and then knee bursitis in London. Weather was a bit chilly, but due to job changes I needed to go earlier in May than I prefer. Nevertheless, I had a spectacular time, starting with a re-visit to Tallinn.

For those who like to know about packing for a 13 night trip, here goes:
25" checked suitcase (27# going, 41# returning) and a foldable yet sturdy LeSportsac tote that brought home 15# of Hungarian pottery.
2 pairs skinny jeans--black Old Navy and dark wash Hudson
2 light but warm sweaters--black DKNY and grey stripe Calvin Klein
4 long sleeve tops, incl one black for layering, and one that was nice enough to wear to the Operett in Budapest
3 short sleeve Ts
1 sleeveless top that I never wore
2 scarves and fingerless gloves
3 pair undies and Smartwool socks-sink wash nightly
nightie and slippers
Hooded stretchy jacket, black
Light but warm black Calvin Klein jacket that has great pockets and can fit 3 layers if needed--and I needed!
LeSportsac Deluxe Everyday bag in a grey, taupe, cream circle pattern
I have now found The Best Boots EVER--Pikolinos Vicar in black; laced front with side zipper and they were so perfectly comfy I wore them every day of my trip--cushy soft inside, gel insole, great arch support and I never needed my black Ecco Soft 7 sneakers.

I arrived at 6 pm in Tallinn on a Tuesday and a taxi to the Von Stackelberg on Toompuiestee, the outer edge of old town, was 10 euro. The hotel was beautiful and I had an enormous room looking on the courtyard, excellent & helpful front desk staff. I immediately set off for old town for dinner, a 10 minute walk up Falgi tee and there was Nevsky Cathedral looking as beautiful as I remembered from my 2013 trip. I knew I needed a visit to Hell Hunt, cozy pub with great food and pear cider, but first I got reacquainted with Tallinn's delightfully twisty and enchanting little streets. Daylight was until 9:30 so that allowed for more explorations after dinner and solo time at the Toompea Hill viewing platform.

It was easiest to fly into Tallinn, and as I'd been there before for a solid week I had 2 full days here before continuing my tour of the Baltic states; another 2 this time would have been nice. First day, May 1st and they call it Spring Day, weather near 70 so I walked over to the Balti Jaama Turg, the marketplace behind the train station, 10 minutes from hotel. Excellent street food-type court and the shops ran the gamut between useful stuff to quality handcrafted items and the antique area, where I found a few goodies. I needed a book so to Solaris mall and the Apollo shop, then the streetcar out to Kadriorg where everyone was enjoying the warmth. Explored old town, some shops & museums were closed, and I chose to sit outdoors on the square at Kaerajaan, modern Estonian cuisine.

So much for T shirt weather--next day was 45 tops and a determined rain all day & snow that night. I visited the excellent Museum of Occupation & Freedom on Toompea, then the Tallinn Museum of Estonia in the old guild hall, then hit some shops I had on my list. Eesti Kasitoo (handcrafts) on Pikk has authentic Estonian knitted gloves and mittens and much more, also Madeli Kasitoo, A-Galerii for unique jewelry and overall I love Tallinn for their crafts traditions--pottery, leather and iron work and of course their knitting. Even in the rain I love wandering the old town, definitely a favorite city. Dinner was at the wonderful Farm on Murrivahe--look for the delightful taxidermy critters in the window having a dinner party--really fresh & unique menu, plenty of locals there.

Next day--bus to Riga.

Posted by
1109 posts

We would love to return to Tallin one day soon. I agree about the crafts, I remember a great shop in the museum, next to the pharmacy on the market square. I purchased some felt rose pins which I wear on my coat and remember our trip with a smile. I also purchased a wool cape for my daughter which was very inexpensive and beautifully made.
Thanks for the trip report, it brings back many memories.

Posted by
1015 posts

Hi, Christa. Your wardrobe sounds very European, filled with black and dark colors. I visited Tallinn last summer. It was great. I really enjoyed the town and all it had to offer. After one day of dealing with the cruise crowds, though, I tried to avoid Toompea Hill and the Old Town during the late morning and afternoon. I did not make it to the Museum of Occupation and Freedom -- definitely on the list of spots to visit for some future return visit. I had a wonderful meal at Farm (as mentioned in the Estonia Forum where we both commented on the same post); there were lots of locals there when I visited, too. As I recall, the restaurant sells itself as serving a modern interpretation of traditional Estonian cuisine. Enjoyed Part 1 of the report... now off to read the other parts!

Posted by
1903 posts

Dave—Another restaurant I hoped to return to but didn’t was MEKK—which is an acronym for modern Estonian cuisine—in the Savoy Hotel—it’s still well-reviewed and I ate there as I stayed at the hotel my first trip, which was in early September so the weather was much nicer.

Barbara—I really, really wanted to buy a wool capelet type thing but it was the start of my trip and I had a feeling there wouldn’t be enough room in my suitcase 😔

Posted by
420 posts

This city has been on my todo list for awhile. Sounds wonderful.