This Saturday we decided to take an extended walk through my favorite places of Tallinn. Having spent approximately two months in this beautiful city, I felt the urge to share my knowledge I’ve been happy to gain. First and foremost, I must say – there is more to Tallinn than its famous (and beautiful) old town. Yes, its medieval character is unique and the oldest in the whole of Europe – but I have fallen in love with other areas of Tallinn – the rather edgy quarters. And these particular parts are the ones I explored this sunny Saturday!
We started our walk on the famous Russian Market of Tallinn. Right behind the train station, or rather known as Baltijaam, you can/ may find the ‘little Russia’ of Tallinn. Hardly anyone speaks a word of Estonian here (not that I can, but still worthy to mention) and mostly Russian products are offered. Important to say is, anything you have ever craved or needed in your household, can most probably be found here! The variety of products is just insane and has never disappointed me. The freshest vegetables, fruits and meat are sold and touted by sympathetic marketers and these for incredibly cheap prices.
It is quite possible that my view on this particular Saturday was a bit biased as 1) the sun was shining and people tend to be happier, 2) I am used to rather severe and cold Estonians and 3) I was able to apply my newly learned Russian and my falsely pronounced words had to make people laugh. Yet, the weather was great, which immensely changes the atmosphere of this place. I remember coming here the first time during the beginning of my stay in Tallinn. The weather was crappy, making the displayed food appear atrocious, people looked as cold as always and I was constantly checking my bag in fear of being mugged. I still loved it and have been coming back weekly ever since.
The greatness of this place is, that it gives you the feeling you have left Estonia for a glance of Russia. Exactly this feeling has gripped me every time and increases my urge to explore the market and find Soviet products from the sixties, old photographies of families during the Second World War, tasteless and creepy decorative dolls, gravestones and I could go on forever. The only difficulty is that I cannot speak Russian properly and have therefore faced some language problems in finding what I wanted. I once got overly excited about my purchase of a basket of ginger for 1,50 Euro and at home, after having convinced my Spanish roommate of healthy ginger teas, realized that I bought a huge basket of Jerusalem Artichokes. Whatever they are, they weren’t ginger! Please google it, before you laugh at my mistake, they seriously look alike. Also, in the meat section language difficulties have affected my food shopping. After making a dork of myself of imitating animal noises I finally decided to buy “mooooh” meat. So, food shopping has become an adventure again.
After our little tour of the Russian market we walked along the tracks to Telliskivi street in which one of the most hipster areas of Tallinn is hidden. Old factories have been rebuilt and now are filled with second hand stores, tasteful furniture shops, bio supermarkets and cozy cafés. I have fallen for one café specifically in which I have been spending all my lazy Sundays in, playing cards, enjoying the sun on its terrace or its lovely music and comfortable couches inside – F-Hoone Café. On weekends fleamarkets take place in front of the café, and on our specific Saturday we could catch a glimpse of a fashion show. So, always something happening there.
Our last place was a couple of tram stops away: the old harbor of Tallinn. It is now used for weekly fishmarkets (Kalaturg), with fresh and cheap fish offered by local fishers. Next to it a couple of artsy cafes and shops are located (Café Klaus with its great terrace) plus a Cultural Squat offering cultural events and a great garden for the summer days in Tallinn (which unfortunately are numbered…). Last but not least, we scaled the Linnahall which was originally built as a concert and sports venue and “can best be described as a cross between a parking garage and a somewhat flattened Mayan pyramid”. It is covered in flashy street art and once you have reached the top, you are offered a beautiful view of the ocean, the skyscrapers of Tallinn, the new port and the old Soviet prison. It is thus worthy to take a hike up! And if you’re lucky – as I was – you might catch a glimpse of northern lights on clear nights!