The Best way to Explore Tallinn Old Town is on foot!
Its difficult to express the Tallinn Old Town in words. One has to visit the place for the best experience.
After exploring the port side, historic buildings and Town Hall Square on the first day in Tallinn, the urge to further explore the Tallinn Old Town became more intense.
I am an early riser so my day-two began much earlier than others and I went out of the hostel to see the how the Tallinn old Town looks in the early morning. I was pleasantly surprised to find the roads being watered and cleaned before the people start to move around. It was nice to see the government taking care of basic hygiene and cleanliness of the city.
Morning Walk in Tallinn Old Town
As I came back to the room, others had woken up too. The weather was nice, so we decided to go for an early morning walk which soon converted into yoga session. Well the weather and location were quite inspiring too.
Later on the way back, we walked around, saw buses, tram, tram station, and went near port area too. We never took the same road twice, so as to explore the city as much as possible.
We also picked up some milk and sandwiches on the way back. This time we were extra careful to get the right milk, even if we had to ask everyone at the store. Finally, one man came to our rescue. He asked us our usage and then gave us a carton of milk accordingly. God bless that man!
We all got ready and set out to have breakfast and explore the city again.
India Pood – the Indian Shop in Tallinn
We decided to walk towards the opposite side of the hostel. A little away from our hostel, we saw India Pood, meaning India Shop. There was a guy from Punjab, Damandeep, managing it. He had come to Tallinn 6 months back but had only recently gotten used to the place. Coming from India, he wasn’t used to the quietness and fewer people around. He was the first Indian we saw in Tallinn and too working there and not a tourist!
Enjoying the Sunday in Tallinn Old Town
As we walked further, we were pleasantly surprised to see many people out and enjoying the sunny Sunday in the Tallinn Old Town. People from neighbouring cities too come for day-spend.
As we walked along, we found a Subway outlet and decided to eat veggie delite Subs. Early in the morning, we didn’t want to haggle at restaurants about vegetarian food – no meat, no fish, no egg and no dairy for the vegan friend. As we were having our breakfast, we saw many people on the opposite side of road. Some event was going on. later we found there were performances from English Theatre Opera group.
As we walked along, we saw a flea market too with stalls selling fruits, veggies, other condiments, second-hand clothes, shoes etc. It was quite crowded. People were walking around in costumes and masks –they seemed to be part of the event going on.
Booking bus Tickets to Riga… What a Nightmare
After watching the performances and taking around at Flea Market, we tried to reach inter-country bus terminus to book tickets to Riga, our next stop, but couldn’t – again no internet as well as language issue. The people kept sending us to local bus stop and not inter-country bus station. Even the bus drivers at local bus-stop won’t help. In the end, we went back to hotel and booked the tickets online only. Though the a little disappointing, but nonetheless it was an adventure of a different kind.
Back to Exploring Tallinn Old Town
Bookings done, we were back to exploring the beautiful Tallinn Old Town. It is full of souvenir shops and restorans, as restaurants are called locally, and all with similar outdoor seating with umbrellas – but we hardly saw people sitting/ eating anywhere though. Wonder how they make money!
After booking tickets, we headed towards the port side again to explore it further. It was a good walk along the beautiful sea and the weather was nice and sunny.
Among all this action too, our speed of taking selfies hadn’t gone down yet but we switched to fun photos as we got bored with smiling selfies.
Exploring the Port Area over Lunch
While walking around the port area and exploring some new aspects to it, we reached Kohvik Nord or Nord café with outdoor seating, right at the sea.
So, we decided to have lunch there. Our server there Berta was quite helpful and listened to us patiently and suggested non-veg, veg and vegan food options. We ordered the local beer, potato pancake with Zucchini, cheese slice which was 4 types of cheese and fish. Twisties snack was complementary with Beer. Free, Free, Free!
The food was nice and very similar to Indian tastes. The only thing that reminded us that we are not eating in India was the unsalted butter. But what made the entire experience worthwhile was the breeze and sun.
It was so windy that at one point everything started flying away… our jackets, tissues, umbrellas etc and it was a task to hold on to things. the noise was only so loud that we had to talk at the top of our voices to be heard. In retrospect, though, that was the fun part of the lunch.
On the way back from Nord Café, we walked up to a place that seemed like an amphitheatre and then it became plain on the top – it was nice spot to take the top view of the city.
Best Photo Spot of Tallinn Old Town
We took a pit stop at hostel and then set out again towards the Town Hall square side to look for the famous church of Alexander Nevsky, though we did not know its name then. It was just some interesting building whose glimpse we had seen on the way to hostel from the airport, the day before. We stopped at various souvenir shops in between to check out the things and buy the best buy fridge magnets representing the city
On the way, there was a shop called Oma-asi… they had lovely leather products but a bit expensive I felt. I wanted to buy almost every thing but controlled myself. It was still just day two of the month-long trip. At another shop, I also wanted to pick up an infinity scarf for 35 euro but didn’t buy because I wasn’t sure of the cloth material. Also, I realised if I spend at this rate, the money won’t last till the end of the trip. I am a compulsive shopper and always end up liking the more expensive things… so had to really control myself.
Finally, we found the spot and found out its name too. It was Eastern orthodox church of Alexander Nevsky in Toompea area of Tallinn.
A little away from the church, we found another beautiful spot from where the entire old town was visible, and it was very picturesque. Also the sunset added dimension to photos. Everywhere we looked we found symmetry in the city – towers with green tops and orange roofs, which we later realised was common throughout Schengen Europe.
There was one green tower near our hostel, so we always looked for it when we got lost… it was visible from everywhere.
Early to Bed… Early to Rise
On the way back from Toompea, we went to Rimi once again and bought stuff for dinner and local liqueur – Vana Tallinn that comes in various flavours. My dinner that day was desserts – French crème Brule, chocolate croissant, caramelised apple and finished it post-dinner local liqueur. We all packed and slept early that night to catch an early morning bus to Riga the next day.
While packing and using stuff in the last two days, my learnings were to carry a smaller bag, preferably a carry-on size, less clothes, minimalist makeup and no need for an iron. One should keep the clothes on the side of suitcase that is lesser used as clothes are needed once a day, whereas smaller things are needed more often.
Another learning was that it’s not difficult to be vegetarian in Tallinn. Though the options are less but they are good enough for survival. And potato rocks everywhere in Europe, which we found out during the trip later.
Walking around the Tallinn Old Town turned out be more fun than we were expecting. The weather was on our side. It was perfect for walking in foot and exploring the picture perfect beauty of Tallinn Old Town.
The story is not yet over… it continues in the next blog because… Europe fun has just begun.