Hello? Is anyone still here?
So I'm back at work tomorrow after having four (yes, four!) weeks off to travel and move flats. And in a shameless bid to avoid thinking about it, and cling on to the last few hours of holiday, I've come back to my poor, neglected blog to tell you about some of my favourite moments from my most recent trip.
I was in Tallinn, Estonia, a with a friendly population and a history that's been upset more times than the tea cups at the Mad Hatters tea party. I could hardly believe that, despite being inhabited for hundreds of years, as a country, Estonia is only 26 years old! I was in Tallinn with my friend E- for 4 nights and we managed to cover a LOT of ground - I kid you not, that girl made me cycle almost 40km! I was very sore the next day, I can tell you that much. Anyway, its easy to get lost in the what & where of travel but for now, here are the moments that stand out.
Sunset in ToompeaE- and I were lucky enough to find an AirBnB in Toompea - the older part of the old city. One evening, after the crowds had gone home, I stepped out for a wander around the quiet cobblestone streets with nothing but my footsteps echoing and the faint sounds of an old couple painting the corner building before tourists arrived the next day. I found one of the lookouts and watched the deep blue sky blur with the tangerine and crimson horizon at sunset. It was a moment of peace in the hectic exploration of Tallinn that really let everything sink in for me, not least that I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel and see such a city.
Exploring KalamajaWhile I loved Tallinn's Old Town, it was great to explore the Kalamaja area. Part creative city, part old wooden fisherman houses, it paints a different picture of Tallinn. Throw in lunch at a disused train carriage (not quite basement galley but just as cool), a market and E- and I giggling as we staged typical instagram photos using some of the street art and old houses and you have the makings of a great afternoon.
Door spottingTallinn has this thing about doors. Really. E- was on a mission to 'collect them all' and so in exchange for my helping her spot them, she's kindly let me borrow her collage. Isn't it awesome? It was a little bit of the 'everyday' Tallinn that was fun to see.
Cycling to RohuneemeCall me crazy but the marathon cycle from Tallinn to Rohuneeme and back actually made it onto my list of favourite moments. Why? Because the route took us along the coast line, through residential streets and natural parks - places that most tourists wont see. It was calmer, simpler and it was a nice escape from the beaten track. I loved seeing the new residential developments, the 'grand design' type homes, the shared gardens, people stepping out their homes for a hike, hearing 'you're welcome' when saying thank you to a pedestrian who gave way to us and a multitude of other little things. It helped that the cycleways were separated from the road and drivers stopped for you at crossings.
Finding the secret drawerA drawer full of notes from travellers over the past few years covering everything from what to order, to what to see in Tallinn, to advice on life and a few drawings. It was under our noses at a little restaurant we went to and E- and I spent a good hour or so going through every last note, and of course, adding our own.
Waking up to bells and tour groups.Some sleep lovers will hate this but in Toompea I woke up to bells ringing almost every morning. There was something so 'old world charm' about this that I loved - despite the sleep deprivation. I'd wake up and have a coffee while watching the cruise ship tourists walk down our street from our window, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in one direction and St Mary's Cathedral in the other, and to me, all of that combined to make one unique and memorable picture.
I may be forgetting others but those are it for now. I'll be back with a 'things to do' in Tallinn blog post in case I've inspired you to add this place to your travel list, and if I have, do let me know!
Have a great week!