Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Days 108-113 Tallinn, Estonia

The minute we hopped on the train out of St P we knew we were out of Russia. The carriage attendant SMILED at us and was NICE and - joy of joys - she spoke English. We all quietly basked in the delight of leaving Russia and baked in the excessive heat of the train. We were down to shorts, t-shirts and bare feet and were still hot. It was like being in a traveling sauna. Eventually Shane gasped his way over to the nice attendant who saved us from certain death by turning off the fan, no doubt to the horror of the locals who had but shrugged the fur coats off their shoulders.
Tallinn, ah Tallinn! Approaching midnight, our 750m walk from the train to our apartment was like moving through a dream (broken only by the noisy rattling of the Calvin Klein trolley bags over cobble stones). Google images made it look promising and the reality didn't disappoint. Medieval buildings every which way. Little shop windows affording glimpses into unlit but charming bakeries, watch shops, jewelry and shoe shops. Enticing restaurants boasting menus with food other than cabbage and potatoes. We had arrived in heaven and it was cheap.

We were perfectly happy to wait outside our apartment for the 20 minutes it took for a lady to arrive with a key, sneaking up and down the lane ways for a peek, admiring the medieval well right outside, enjoying the warmth and ambience emanating from from such a wonderful town.

Our two bedroom apartment was joyous! Very steep stone steps led up to the kitchen (underfloor heating), living/dining (kids sofa bed), and Lee's bedroom. Exploring further, narrow steep steps led up to Helen and Shane's hideaway (kids on the sofa bed). We didn't hesitate, despite it being after midnight, to crack open a chilled bottle of wine (and a bottle of coke) from the fridge to celebrate: farewell Russia, hello Europe. Hell, we could even flush loo paper down the toilet here!

For six glorious days we took a much needed, long, deep breath: we explored the Old Town, did home school and saw to various domestic/traveling necessities. We couldn't have picked a more charming location.

Lee, Tom and Rosie got haircuts - doesn't Rosie look Scandinavianly cute?

Lee, thriving on being able to walk around 'unsupervised' - no ice, no fast moving vehicles, easily recognisable alleyways and a friendly and safe town - made up for finding nothing worth buying in Russia.

We snuck in a trip to the Maritime Museum, Kiek in de Kok (chortle chortle), and some archery practice.

On the last night, Lee too relaxed to participate, we enjoyed a farewell drink on Raikoja Plats, the old town square. (It was here a few days before that Rosie and Helen had an afternoon drink in driving snow, wrapped up in blankets and laughing a LOT at the pleasures life brings.)

Tallinn. What a delight!

And Shane was most impressed at how successfully modern architecture had been inserted amongst the old.

Shane, Helen, Rosie, Tom and Lee

Location:Tallinn, Estonia

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