The Potato Chick
Travelling, eating and my other favourite things...
In a sentence...it must have been love...but it’s over now [Roxette].
Food we loved...all the pancakes we ate at Kompressor cafe. Simple but delicious.
We stepped off the plane at Tallinn airport and straight into a Winter wonderland. Despite it still technically being “Autumn” the city had just had its first dose of snow for the season and everything we could see was covered in a layer of white. It was pretty magical and a welcome distraction from the freezing temperatures. Luckily, we were staying in a very well heated Airbnb apartment (complete with sauna!) with regular travel buddies Jules and Brayden and Lachy, a new friend.
We started off our time together with a free walking tour. Our guide was great but after two hours of trudging around in the snow we were chilled to the bone. Only pancakes and mulled wine brought us back from the brink.
Tallinn’s old town is absolutely lovely and very walkable. There were several spots where we could get good views over the snow-covered greater city to the edge of the Baltic Sea. The water was as still as glass, very eerie. The city has a lively vibrant feel to it, perhaps optimism about the future now that Estonia is free from Soviet rule.
We thought that Tallinn might have been our first stop in “Eastern Europe” proper, only to learn that Estonians refer to themselves as being in the “Baltics”. It seems that Eastern Europe is a label that all countries try to avoid.
Below is a photo of my favourite stop on the walking tour, Tallinn’s Freedom Monument. As you can see, it’s not the most attractive monument you’ve ever seen. It cost about 6 million euros to be built by a Czech company and shortly after installation it began to fall apart. The government ended up suing them to recoup some of the money spent on the shoddy work. It was comforting to see that it’s not just the City of Geelong investing enormous sums of money in huge structures.
After our pancakes we visited the Occupation Museum which was supposed to tell the story of Estonia’s period of occupation by the Soviet Union. I’m not sure the museum achieved its intended purpose but it was interesting nonetheless.
The next day Nick took us on a tour of the “Culture Kilometre”, a 2.2k path which runs past an old power plant, Patarei prison fortress, the Noblessner shipyard and the seaplane harbour where you can see an icebreaker and a military ship. I’m sure that in Summer the path is marked quite clearly but the fact that we were walking through the snow in what felt like the middle of nowhere added an air of mystery and excitement to the whole exercise. I don’t think we passed another soul for the entire walk. As luck would have it, we happening to be approaching a group of people when I slipped and fell over in the snow, completely embarrassing myself. Luckily another dose of pancakes helped me to forget my fall-induced aches and pains.
But of course the main reason we were in Tallinn was for Roxette. We fuelled with chicken pesto pasta and Vana Tallinn (the local liqueur – it’s 40% and delicious even when drunk straight) and we headed to the stadium. Roxette pulled out hit after hit, a fabulous concert. My personal highlights were “Crash, boom, bang”, “Dangerous” and “Joyride”.
The next day the snow had begun to melt and the Winter wonderland was quickly disappearing but we were still sad to leave this fabulous city.
Next stop...Riga, Latvia.