Estonia has a population of 1.2 million and 400,000 of them live in Tallinn, so the place is hardly crowded, particularly at this time of year when maybe there are not too many tourists.  This gives the city an uncrowded feel and therefore a relaxed atmosphere.  Nobody seems to be rushing around or too stressed, as in other cities …Just the place to chill out.
This morning we decided to take advantage of the comprehensive buffet breakfast in the hotel and had a try at everything.  Salted salmon, herring, gerkins and beetroot, are not my normal breakfast fare but I had a taste anyway…..not keen on the salted salmon , the herring was OK, but it is too early for beetroot and gherkins!
The other choices of meatballs, potatoes,crispy bacon and pancakes went down well with black bread, plus fruit, apple jam and  crispbreads.  The yoghurt “curd” was delicious  I also had a taste of the porridge…..understand I only had a SMALL taste of these dishes.  Still it set me up for the day.

We find that hop on hop off tourist buses are often a good way of orienting ourselves to a city and learning some of the social and political history.  We bought 48 hour tickets for the Tallinn city tours  for 16 euros, (good value at only three Euro more than the 24 hour ticket)  and today took the green and red tours.
We learned about the old, Soviet “brutal” and modern architecture and where the working and middle  classes live.  We saw lots of wooden houses set in spacious woodland and high rise apartment blocks.. We learned that the hill known as Tompea, that we climbed yesterday, in the centre of the old town was the original fortress.

amazing that this is in the middle of a city!

 desirable housing set in the middle of trees.

High rise housing where the majority of workers live.

We learned about the Russian, Swedish, Soviet and Nazi invasions and their influence. We learned about Estonian independance.  We were told that song festivals are a Estonian tradition.
The commentary didn’t exactly say they didn’t like the Soviets, but described the architecture as “pompous” LOL!

another desirable residence.  In the middle of a city!
We saw the former Olyimpic village and the port, where we stopped off to buy tickets for the ferry to Helsinki on Wednesday.

former olympic village.


 coastal road

sitting on the dock of the bay.

In between tours we strolled arm in arm in the sunshine,back to the old town, through  green parks filled with spring flowers, 27% of Tallinn is green space.
We visited a market and sat to relax within the city walls, chatting while we ate chocolate cake and drank tea.
We had more tea near the fragrant flower market watching beautiful young girls and elegant women.

Finally we went to the Opera house and bought tickets for Carmen on our last night for an amazing price of 22euro each. Front circle seats!

Then later in the evening we wandered out again through the awakening night life to eat a surprisingly good meal at Restaurant Kaljas, just outside the city walls.
I had the chefs choicea strange sounding combination of fillet of red gurnard, carrot, maple syrup, bernaise and blood orange, which was delicious.

Then we wandered back through the old town, lingering to listen to some karaoke in an Irish bar before bed.

love from Tallinn.


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