Who am I kidding? 24 hours to fall in love in Tallinn? I give you an hour…less than that! And you will fall head over heels with the capital city of Estonia! It’s almost an impossibility to walk through the Old Town without being constantly mesmerised by the beauty on every corner!
I arrived in Tallinn late afternoon. Just over 2 hour ferry passage was swift, pleasant and uneventful- I feared that I might have a hidden aversion to water and choppy seas- I am glad to report that I might have been a pirate or at least a sailor in my previous life! Once on dry land, I walked towards the Old Town and my hotel, which (conveniently and on purpose) was located several metres from the heart of Tallinn. The hotel itself was pretty dreadful I have to admit. The room was tiny, dark, extremely hot (no air conditioning), the view from my window was a wall, the bathroom was smelly, breakfast in the morning very basic. Oh well…it was just for one night plus the views outside my hotel room absolutely compensated for my poor accommodation.
Armed with a camera, hungry eyes and just generally hungry, I directed my steps towards the colourful buildings, cobbled streets, hidden alleys, cheers, singing, the sun…I was extremely glad to discover that Estonian cuisine was very similar to the Polish one and I indulged in pickles and sauerkraut more that I probably should have- no regrets!
The rest of the afternoon was pure magic! Tallinn is a fairy tale! I did not see a street, a building, a cafe I did not like! Am I just too easily pleased? I wandered around, taking short cuts through a dark alley just to discover yet another tiny courtyard, a passage that led to a colourful building, windows thrown wide open, groups of tourists taking in the beauty of Tallinn. Tired, with a happy heart I fell asleep in my minute, stuffy room, planning an early morning so I could have (because I am selfish) Tallinn to myself!
Stepping outside my hotel on a summer, warm morning and diving into the floods of lights and history- a dream come true! It was Saturday and that meant a slow, lazy start to the day; that also meant that I could explore the city as a lost, wandering soul- not a single person in sight! What a treat! Later on I met a couple of keen photographers, first people rushing to work, somebody returning from a long night out. My first steps took me to Toompea, the caste hill, great observatory point and yes, nothing short of perfection! The views were absolutely wonderful! Red roofs, proud spires of churches, rays of sunshine covering the place in the magical glow!
I have to admit that it was my favourite spot in Tallinn- walking freely around the most stunning architecture, centuries of history, tradition and beauty! Getting lost, taking the wrong turn…and then another surprise on every single corner! It is difficult to miss Alexander Nevsky Cathedral– what a treat to your eyes! Unfortunately, it was still closed as I arrived quite early but it just gives me a reason to be back! Just image Tallinn covered in a thick blanket of snow, street lights glistening shyly in the afternoon, steaming mug of hot chocolate and hushed voices, whispers, warm gloves, snow crunching under your shoes…Tallinn in winter must be a place from a Christmas postcard. I know it. But I will return to witness it with my own eyes and heart.