In May, I went to the
beautiful city of Tallinn in Estonia
for the weekend. For those of you who are going "Estonia what?",
Estonia is a former soviet republic that broke
away from the old USSR in 1991 along with the the other Baltic republics
of Latvia and Lithuania.
Tallinn is the capital.
So what is Tallinn? Well,
besides being a great place to spend a long weekend, Tallinn is one of the
few places in Europe where the aura of the 14th and 15th centuries survive
intact. Tallinn's old town is a jumble of medieval walls and turrets,
needling spires and winding, cobbled streets. It's also meant to have a thumping night life
like Riga although I didn't see much sign of it, the
weekend I was there. Even the locals said it was a bit
I wasn't completely on my
lonesome however. My gorgeous and way too energetic friend Julia came all
the way from Riga (next door to Estonia in Latvia) to keep me company. All
in all, a pretty good weekend.
Toompea is the hill on which
Tallinn is centred and overlooks the main town.
Cool towers just on the
hill. Also contained a restaurant where Julia and I had lunch.
Toompea Castle, the meeting
place of Estonia's parliament, the Riigikogu. Doesn't really look
like a castle although it is surrounded by towers. Nice
colour. Looks like the guys from Dulux have gone mad about the
Pikk Herman, the main tower
of the Castle.
Garden to one side of the
One of the remaining towers
of Toompea Castle not quite towering above offices attached to the
The 19th century Russian
Orthodox Alexandr Nevsky Cathedral opposite Toompea Castle. Pretty
cool, especially since it's the 1st real Russian Orthodox Cathedral that
I've even seen.
Side street in Toompea.
Another side street in
Toompea. Julia looking cute on the left.
Cool old building to one
side of the Estonia Art Museum.
House on Toompea.
Toomkirik, a Lutheran
The tower of the Toomkirik.
Pikk Jalg (long leg) gate
tower, until the 17th century, the only entrance up to Toompea.
Cool old building flying the
Estonia national flag on the Patkuli Trapp pathway down to the old town.
Same building a little bit
further down the hill. No clue what it is, but if it had a pool out
the front Hollywood style, it'd be perfect.
Julia pretending to be a
statue in an alcove on the pathway down from Toompea.
Standing over the old town,
Toompea is a great place to get some cool pictures.
Love this one! A view of the old town from
a lookout point on Toompea. Check out the little castle turrets near
the centre and the colourful buildings below.
Slightly more modern view of
the city to the left. Two big buildings in the centre are the Raddison SAS
and the Hotel Viru. Definitely more luxurious than the slightly quirky
Hotel Susi that Julia and I stayed in just on the edge of
Speaking of which, while I
was in the cab from the airport to the Hotel Susi, the radio was playing
"What should we do with a drunken sailor?" in Estonian.
Niguliste Church. Not
used as a church anymore. There is a debate over which religion can
use it but in the meantime, it's used as an art museum and for concerts.
Puavaimu (Holy Spirit)
To the left, the western
edge of old town.
An unbelievably good looking
wind swept guy. Man, I'm really starting to gain face (i.e. go
bald). Edge of old town in the background.
Julia smiling for the
Me, Julia.....and the the
Walls Of The Old Town
The old town is surrounded
by a heap of Disney-ish towers. The dark photos (unfortunately)
don't really do them justice.
Tower on the outer wall.
Series of tower on the
western side of the old town.
Old tower up close.
Tower leading up to Toompea.
Vase on the stairs in the
park beneath Toompea.
Inside The Old
Viru gate on the eastern
side of the old town. Looks a bit like Disneyland.
Markets inside the city wall
selling lots of different handicrafts.
Basically the town hall square. According to my trusty lonely planet
guide, the town hall is the only surviving gothic town hall in Northern
Europe. Don't know how many there were to start with but there you
go. Had some really cool dragon/snake shaped rainwater pipes.
You can just make them out beneath the roof line.
Raekoja Plats again.
This time with Julia posing in front of the building. Tres bon!
More Raekoja Plats off to
Street off the left hand
side of Raekoja Plats.
Cool restaurant sign.
A street in the lower town.
Another street. Love
the bright colours of the buildings.
building. No idea what it represents.
Another street. As
well as the bright colours, I also like the look of decay of the
As personified by this decaying
old mansion. Renovator's dream! Make us an offer!
Decaying mansion in close
Sign over a pub. Note the
The streets of
Tallinn. I think I took it in the upper town near Pikk Jalg.
Green mansion. Really
stands out among all the green buildings. Saw it in the lower town
while I was wondering back from checking out Fat Margaret. Tried out some great pastries
in a coffee shop pretty close to where this photo was taken.
Niguliste Church again from
the other side. The signs commemorate the bombing of Tallinn
during World War 2 by the Soviet Air Force during 1944. Guess the
locals were not too happy with it. Hence the reminder.
Close up of the sign.
Signs again. I kind of
like this photo. Especially the green, the side of the church, the
rusted fence posts and the signs.
Inside the old town was the
remains of a Dominican Monastery. Wasn't that exciting but I went in
anyway. Old lady feeding pigeons outside the entrance to the
Apparently, if you stand in
the centre of the basement room underneath the carved ceilings, something
spiritual will happen. Stood there, closed eyes and swayed from side
to side. Could have been spiritual but most probably I was just having
problems staying upright due to tiredness and boredom.
Speaking of tiredness, the
two hotels Julia and I stayed in had painfully thin curtains. Given
that the sun was coming up at three in the morning, it made it difficult
to sleep properly. I really need a gloomy cave like setting to sleep. Having Julia with me didn't help the quest for sleep much,
but some things, you don't mind.
Hole in the wall or ceiling
taken in a really arty style (bored).
Next to the Great Coast Gate
joining the port to the town is Fat Margaret, a 16th century
bastion/fort/fat building full of guns, which protected the entrance to
the old town. According to the guide, the walls are 4 metres
thick. It's a bit different to all the other parts of the town but
impressive none the less.
Fat Margaret. The
white cross on the left hand side stands in memory of the Estonia
ferry disaster which claimed 852 lives when in sank on September 1994
whilst en route between Stockholm and Tallinn.
Close up of Fat Margaret
showing the Great Coast Gate on the right hand side.