The night time journey from Latvia to Estonia didn't seem like such a great idea when we turned up in the next country with very tired eyes. Nevertheless, this quickly escaped me when I saw that Tallin Coach Station had bed like seats. 7am and we all practically landed on them and were in zzz land within minutes. Thank you Estonia. This little blast of sleep allowed us to play tourists in a less delirious state. We tried to find the apartment we rented and couldn't work out if we were at the right place of not. "This is definitely 21 ...." We didn't keno our exact apartment number but we got into the inside and Mimi and Dani decide to leave their heavy bags under the stairs until it was check in time. I kept mine as I had all the travel documents and figured it would be more akward to carry folders than my backpack.
First stop, thanks to our bellies calling, was the Reval Cafe which on troposo said it was a cafe with good breakfast enjoyed by the locals. Count me in, two of my favourite things; breakfast and local places. Nevertheless on this occasion we didn't have the option to opt for local food but my favourite breakfast of salmon poached eggs on toast yum and of course coffee (Italian haha). We did watch a local mum as she allowed her baby to wander the cafe out of her view only to stand behind the door and get smacked down by another breakfast hunter entering. Ouch.
This breakfast set us up quite nicely to enjoy the noon free walking tour. Lots of internationals joined together to listen to a young girl who although seemed quite nervous, had a great deal of knowledge. Estonia has only been an independent country for 21 years and basically the Germans and the Russians chopped and changed as owners.
The photos above are the Kiek in de Kek which means towers in German or according to our tourguide cook in the kitchen. There are two stories about how it got its name. The tourguide said that it was because the kitchen was the most prominent part of the tower and most central. The other reason was that you were able to see what's cooking in nearby houses.
This is the War of Independence Victory Column which was erected in the square as a marker of pride at the country finally getting independence. However, because 75% of Estonians are athiasts they really don't like how it looks as well as them feeling like it looks "Nazi" so therefore they don't feel it really represents the country.
The story about the picture above (Look closely for two different stone parts) was one of my favourites. The city used to be divided into two and you had to get back into your side if you were at the other by midnight. A young in love couple from different sides underestimated the time it would take to get home and as midnight was approaching they started to run back only to be turned to stone together as the clock struck 12. So now these are Tall Hermann and Fat Margaret - the towers is Toompea Castle.
We really enjoyed the tour and ended up in the main square where we ate at a medieval resturant. We enjoyed a bowl of Elk soup, different pastries and local beer for very cheap. The place was really cool - the woman spoke to us like we were in the medieval times, it was very dark and only lit by candles,and you didn't get a spoon to eat your soup with.
Following this we headed back towars the apartment to check in via a few shops to try on some cool hats. Winter days approaching, I wonder what people would think if had hat like this on my head?
I then got an email from the people who own the apartments to say they would meet us at the address "36 maakri" which definitely wasn't where they left their bags. Oops. So we went back to the apartments and Mimi buzzed in and thankfully the bags were there. We went along to the next address but because my phone had died I couldn't call them to tell them we were there. So thanks to the electricity of the Radison Hotel, I was able to charge phone and call him. Result. The apartment was really nice. A good size and would be perfect for any group travelling.
After naps and showers, we headed out for dinner and went to Tommi's Bar and Grill. Litre beers were the happy hour drink only costing less than 3 euros. We ordered lots of different foods for us to share. The thick Russian soup was so good as well as everything else. My favourite meal of the trip :)
Using our map we then scoped out a few more places. We went into Red Emperor Hostel Bar but it looked like a student hallway so we quickly left and went to Valli Bar to try their in house famous shot "millimallikas". In agreeance with the map blurb, this was a small stinky bar with elderly irregular regulars. I hate doing shots and usually sip them, however, their millimallikas made me hate them even more. This was the most disgusting thing ever. Alcohol topped with Tabasco sauce and my usually tactic of doing it in a couple of sips led me to being mocked by the locals and a very on fire throat.
Onto the Drink Bar and grill described as the beer Mecca of Tallin. We just shared a beer and relaxed a little in there before heading to the Hell Hunt which is the oldest new pub in Estonia (open since 1993) which has weird animal head dolls on the wall and doors on seeking. We also like the sign which was translated - 1 soup, 1 steak and 1 beer.
Overall an interesting night in Estonia.
Tracy Donachie, MSc in Performance Psychology.