After eating breakfast in our hotel, we caught a trolley bus out to Kopli Bay, a 30 minute ride away to the home of the Estonian Open Air Museum. It’s located overlooking the bay and occupying a large site providing an insight into old Estonian life. A rural village has been re-constructed within a forest park, 12 farms, a school house, fire station, windmills, a watermill and church can be visited. On our visit, the weather was perfect and local dance troupes were performing, adding to the charm. Sitting on a bench, we watched the dancers perform in their national costumes before being persuaded to join in! Somehow, I managed to dance the Polka, instructed by an Estonian dancer, and although initially reluctant to do so, enjoyed the experience tremendously! Before leaving the museum, we sampled traditional Estonian thick pea soup served with spelt bread and herb butter in the museum cafe, delicious and very reasonably priced.
Returning to the city centre we decided to explore Tallinn’s new town and its Viru shopping centre. We didn’t linger very long there as it could be a shopping centre anywhere, functional but nothing special. The real charm of Tallinn, as with so many cities, lies in the old town.
As it was such a lovely, warm, sunny afternoon we took a short tram ride to Kadriorg Park, an urban park and also the home of the Kadriog Palace, built by Peter the Great and now housing the Estonian Art Museum. We sat and rested awhile under the shade of some lilac trees admiring the small, wooden houses on the edge of the park with their pretty, pastel coloured walls.
Feeling hungry, we headed back to the Old Town for dinner, dining at ‘Hell Hunt’ a gastro-pub that we have eaten in on previous visits. As it was still quite warm, we ate out on the terrace with drinks from their own micro brewery.
Before taking the Linda Line high speed ferry back to Helsinki we stocked up on wine and beer from one of the cash and carry stores near the ferry terminal as the prices there are considerably lower than in Finland. Back on the ferry, we soon took a short nap before disembarking in our beloved Helsinki.
To summarize, Tallinn makes a delightful short city break, with its medieval architecture, inviting restaurants and low prices, it’s quite compact so two or three days should suffice. Come and enjoy!