(Black and) Blue (and White) Monday

After the escapades of several youths in the street at  four o’clock in the morning ensured that we would have to have a lie-in to regain the several hours of sleep lost, we eventually got up at about 10am.

Breakfast consisted of a variety of croissants and pastries from the local supermarket’s bakery – two each for just over a pound. Bargain. Meaningful activity started shortly afterwards with the now age-old tradition of renting bikes, that we then rode into the old town centre up to the castle area of Toompea, annoying our fair share of footsloggers on the way.

Inside the old walls we found discovered the Alexandr Nevsky Cathedral – an ornately decorated orthodox building that greatly contrasted with the Lutheran Dome Church that was sparsely decorated with various crests across its walls, found on the far side of the Toompea district. Up at the castle there was also a grand variety of tourist-y things to do, including archery. I was tempted to go, but after missing most of the Robin Hood for Beginners module at Nottingham due to incarceration by the Sheriff I thought better of it.

After visiting these parts of the Old Town, we decided to get the most out of our two-wheeled steads and rode the two and a bit kilometers to the Kadriorg Palace. This however, was shut…but the surrounding parks weren’t and were a very pleasant cycle around the park and past a monument next to the coast road. This in turn lead us to our first cycle path, so we went cruising along the seafront until we stumbled upon the rocket-shaped spire of the Maarjamae War Memorial. This was a soviet memorial to the soldiers that had died in the area.

Soon though, our stomachs were trying to tell us something and we cycled back into the the park to find the cafe…which was shut. Towards the top of the park however was the Kumu museum of Estonian art (which was open) and we had a beer and lunch (a tuna salad for me and an omelette for my partner in crime – just in case you were wondering).

Stomachs filled, we journeyed back to the old town and got back to the bike hire shop in excellent time – we went so fast the FIA would’ve banned us. F1 in-jokes aside, me and Nick were curious as to the nightlife Tallinn had to offer, however after a trip to the travelers’ info tent we were told:

“You chose the wrong days to come to Tallinn, nothing happens on a Monday night!”
“What about Tuesday night?”
“No. It all really kicks off Wednesday to Sunday.”

Fantastic, Tallinn effectively runs a restricted timetable on a Monday.  The clues were, in retrospect, laid out by all the closed museums and exhibitions we’d passed…oh well, back to the hostel we went for a power-nap. This however was rudely interrupted by meeting two new occupants of our room. One was an Australian named Rob who’s been traveling all over for the last 7 weeks or so and the other is Rebecca from Costa Rica who had been visiting relatives in Moscow and couldn’t really stop herself travelling to Tallinn. With our new compadres we went to Kompressor, a cosy pub selling incredibly calorific and cheap savory pancakes that also tasted damn good (bacon and cheese, yum).  This was followed by an extended visit to a bar that sold 87 varieties of beer and cider from all corners of the globe that enabled us to sample some of the very best.

Unlike many of the cities we visit that come with the weight of expectations, we had no idea of what would be awaiting us in Tallinn, what we found was a city with plenty of history but that was obviously as up to date as forward thinking as any typical ‘western’ city. A city that had plenty of winding streets and back alleys but that always felt homely, comforting and always friendly.

No Responses

Note that comments are displayed in reverse chronological order with topmost comments being freshest. Subscribe | Comment

Leave a Reply