Posted by: Ciaran | November 12, 2009

Changing places – Tallinn

Tallinn reminds me a bit of a fairytale.  The evocative place names in the old city – Fat Margaret Tower, the Three Sisters – are enough to make you think you’re in something constructed in the heads of the Brothers Grimm. 


The marvellously-monikered Fat Margaret Tower

But it’s all real, and the old city – very much intact from the 13th century and now a Unesco world heritage site – is a charming place.  The cobbled streets are filled with treasure-trove shops and it is, even at the height of summer, a fairly quiet destination. 


The Three Sisters - now a hotel

The churches are truly beautiful and well worth some exploration, though the gaggle of begging pensioners outside makes the experience somewhat disquieting.

The pension provisions are appalling and the elderly are reduced to begging and selling tatty-looking herbs and plants in the streets (something I shall return to when I look at St. Petersburg).


One of Old Tallinn's many churches

It’s a small and quiet capital city, and even though the office blocks and modern shopping malls are springing up there is still an evident Russian influence in the newer part of the city, which is taking on something of an image as the new Prague amongst hen and stag groups.

The lager is cheap, but the local liquors are also well worth experimenting with.  If you get the chance, try Vana Tallinn; it’s a bit like slurping a very alcoholic semi-melted ice-cream (nicer than it sounds) but is surprisingly quaffable.


There is a lot of building work going on in the newer part of the city


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