After a long day of walking, we drove into central Tallinn for a meander around the old town. We were incredibly lucky with the weather – cold but not too cold for a wander. Even the bursts of rain timed themselves perfectly, appearing only as we went inside.
Its exceptionally pretty and really lovely to walk around – there’s something new round every corner; beautiful cathedrals, churches, squares… Plus some gorgeous little cafes and bars, including one called ‘Kerhwieder Kohvicum‘ that we loved. We had a local cider (Called Mull) and planned our spa treatments for the next day (when we would be staying at a spa hotel). It was utterly delightful.
You could definitely spend a lot longer in the old town, going into churches and looking in all the shops but we didn’t quite have enough time and our stomachs were rumbling. Once we were cider’ed out, we went to a pancake place called Kompressor. Its a proper local restaurant which makes for a nice atmosphere. Its quite basic but the price really reflects this. What isn’t reflected in the price is the pancakes themselves because they’re damn good. They also have a good selection of alcohol, including some Newcastle Ale which seemed super out of place.
We had had an early start that day (waking up in Tartu) and with big plans for the next, didn’t stay up too late; once we’d had dinner we retired to our apartment and slept like babies (babies that had over indulged in beer and pancakes). In the morning, we went to see the Viru Gates which are very nice. I don’t have a more descriptive word for them I’m afraid because in all honestly it was raining and grey and cold, and the charm of them was a little lost on me. Also, while I’m being honest, it wasn’t great weather and we had places to be, so there’s potential we grabbed a Mcdonalds breakfast right next to the gates. Not quite as traditional experience as we originally intended. We also went to the nearby supermarket which is always a fun experience in a foreign country. My obsession on this trip (maybe every trip?) was cinnamon buns, so we got some of them- they’re about 30p each there, which didn’t do much to curb my appetite for them.
After McDonalds and cinnamon buns, we managed something a little more hi brow… KUMU. Kumu is an amazing art gallery just outside the centre of Tallinn (we drove there), within the most incredible building. Its only 10 euros for a ticket and well worth it (they do also do one euro days and free days but I didn’t attend one of them – the list of those days is here). We went first thing in the morning and it was practically empty, which, for such a large building was a bit eerie at times. There were another two people walking around at about the same time of us but the only interaction we had was one of them nearly fall onto us out of some lift doors, which didn’t give us much hope. Thankfully though in this one, as opposed to the art museums we went to in Riga, none of the staff stood over us while we looked at exhibits, which was nice.
There’s a mixture of classic and modern art spread around the building, including our favourite special exhibition of Leonhard Lapin’s work. Now, we had no clue who he was before seeing this but we were enamoured. We still are, in fact. Its only open for another few days so if you happen to be in the area GO SEE IT. Otherwise, I’m not sure… Google?
KARIORG ART MUSEUM
Amazingly it didn’t take us too long to work our way round the enormous building and we still had appetite for more museums, so headed down the road to the Kadriorg art museum which is also a palace. I will point out we also walked past another building that we initially thought was the palace – the house of the President of Estonia. There are two guards on the door here who stand so extraordinarily still, we thought they were statues. Hamilton tried to convince me that they were plugged in robots and for a little while, I believed him. That was until I got close enough to realise they definitely were real and we had been staring uncomfortably hard at them for far too long. We slowly walked backwards and away from the house at this point and found the actual place.
You can go and stare for yourself if you like, and if you have time visit some of the other museums in the area before staring at them again. We didn’t do that but the option is there.
It was a nice little palace with classic artwork and decoration inside that is worth a visit but a lot different in contrast to KUMU. I would recommend going here first and then to KUMU because of the sheer scale of the places. If you’re choosing between the two, this one is 6.50 euros and I would say you would end up spending a lot less time there for your money than the larger place. Not to point out the obvious!
… And that was our time in Tallinn – we had to rush off to our very important appointments in Parnu (spa appointments) which I will discuss in more detail in the next post.