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2:15pm on Sunday, 20th April, 2014:

Tallinn Vignette


Here are some photos I took while wandering around Tallinn last week.

One of the first things I noticed when I got to Tallinn was the ample provision of play areas for children. There are lots of them, and they're pretty good. This one was in the hotel I was staying at:

They had similar areas in the larger shops, at the airport, in parks, ...

Here's the proof that the restaurant I ate at on Monday served bear:


Estonia is quite a wired country. It takes minutes to file a tax return, for example (basically, you just check online that it looks OK then accept it). However, their mobile phones don't seem to be the latest models.

Those ads were all over the place.

This is the view of the town square in the Old Town, taken from the Old Town Hall:

It's quite pretty and authentic, except, just a moment, what's that say on the building to the right there?

It seems that Tallinn has become a destination for British stag nights...

Here's a typical picturesque street in the Old Town:

This is actually more picturesque than most as it doesn't have cars parked on it. Unlike its fellow Hanseatic town, Visby, Tallinn hasn't pedestrianised much of its historic centre; it's a bigger city, so I guess people need to be able to drive to their place of work.

Visby has concrete sheep to keep cars off roads they shouldn't be on. Tallin has concrete birds:

Here's one of the impressive churches in the Old Town:

This one was founded by people from Visby about the year 1230, but it's now a museum. It was badly damaged during World War II and was restored in the 1980s.

I like this sign for a shop selling amber:

Lots of shops in Tallinn sell amber...

Lots of shops also sell wool:

This is a nice way to get your restaurant publicity:

People sit next to the bull and have their photo taken, then post it to social media. Before you know it, there are hordes of British people on stag nights visiting to have their photo taken there before they ignore the restaurant and head off for a pint at Mad Murphy's...

The flower market in Tallinn is smaller than the one in Amsterdam but much prettier:

Furthermore, they sell a variety of flowers (with roses predominating), rather than just tulips and the kind of tourist souvenirs you can get in plenty of other places.

This is a statue of a man holding a cable:

I've no idea who or what he's supposed to be. The sculptor is every bit as as bad at proportions as the one who did Robin Hood in Nottingham, though...

Here's another scenic church. This one is Saint John's, built in the 1860s:

It's yellow.

I don't know what this building is but I liked the tree-shaped supports it has:

I bet it gets cold in winter, unless they've put double-thick insulation on the floor...

The Old Town has a city wall, which you can walk along for about 200 metres:

I didn't, because I didn't have a lot of free time. OK, OK, so it cost money, too...

This is the impressive Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral:

It was built around 1900 to show Estonia who was boss (i.e. the Tsar of Russia). One of its features is a large bell, although "come to Tallinn to see the largest bell in Tallinn" isn't exactly the tourist draw the locals seem to think it is.

Here's the view towards the sea (the Gulf of Finland) from the walls of the Old City:

I think the park there is probably where the old harbour used to be, but it would have had to have silted up pretty badly to for the sea to be pushed back that far, so maybe not.

Two shops nearby each other each had two female figures outside them:

I suspect that the shops may share an owner.

Here's a view of the Old Town from the top of its hill:

You can just see a couple of cruise ships in the distance there. I like the idea of a Baltic cruise, especially as you can guarantee the weather ("cold").

I liked this sign outside a restaurant:

Yes, the yolk of the fried egg is indeed a yellow light.

I liked this wooden person advertising a small brewery shop, too:

Finally, on the day I came home I ate at a restaurant with a Scottish theme to it. There are two busts in the garden of famous Scots. Here's the first:

That's Robert Burns, the poet. Here's the other:

That's Sean Connery, the actor. I'm sure that Scots will agree that these are the two most famous Scots ever... Actually, they do have something in common: Burns wrote in a Scottish dialect that's almost impenetrable to non-Scots; Connery speaks in a Scottish accent that's almost impenetrable to non-Scots (and probably to Scots, come to that).

So that's Tallinn.

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Copyright © 2014 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).