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Published: August 17th 2014
Being currently a man of much leisure, I've had time just to let my feet carry me where they wish. I've now spent countless hours in the centre of Tallinn without really realising it. To me, this is the most enjoyable thing about travelling with no plan. Because I don't have to be anywhere at any one time I don't feel like I need to cram my days with all the sights at once, allowing myself to be immersed in the culture of the place, namely Tallinn at the moment. So, after the last time I left you, I've done a lot. On Thursday I had a pretty quiet day, trying to get some things sorted with my bike, packing things in the panniers and trying to decide what to do with my backpack. The afternoon was the first real test for Benji and myself as we took a ride through a peat bog with Helen, Olaf an the kids. We proceeded to get lost as the myriad of tracks meant that one wrong turn could take you in the complete opposite direction. Nevertheless it was an excellent afternoon of beautiful sights and cool weather. The bike came through the first test with flying colours and it served to increase my hunger to get on the road. So we made our way back to the house in a somewhat roundabout way, ready for a big feed, having worked up a sizeable appetite. I've been spoiled in terms of the meals put up for me here in Estonia (I think I've already made mention of this in previous posts) and this was no exception, a delicious dinner of homemade burgers. During dinner Helen's Grandfather Jacob, showed me a photo of my grandfather when he was still in Estonia, and then went on to say he wasn't surprised at how tall I was because Martin had been very tall. Things like enable me to make an emotional connection between myself, the past and the future. It turned into a thoroughly enjoyable day.
I took another rest day on the Friday, again spending time refining my packing system on my bike, it seems to be coming together (although I have undeniably over packed and may have to send some clothes home). I had the most extensive and rigorous look around the old town. Taking in the grandeur of the old churches always makes me think about how much work must have gone into making these structures spectacular, but also sound enough for them to last the test of time. The plan for the evening was to eat at home and then visit the Saku brewery, the beer of choice in Tallinn. Its only about 5 km from the edge of Tallinn and so not hard to get to at all. It is a huge operation obviously. Here we sampled some of the more uncommon varieties of Saku, some darker beers and some more hoppy stuff. They were all enjoyable, although sometimes you can see when a brewery has tried to push the envelope a little and the gamble hasn't quite paid off.
Saturday morning again was spent with my bike, tinkering around with it to make sure that when I'm out on the road things are just so. Saturday brought with it some Melbourne like weather. The saying about the weather changing in Melbourne every five minutes could be applied just as aptly to Tallinn. We went for a drive in the afternoon, out to the TV tower. On the way we stopped off at Kadrioug park, and the Palace in which the President of Estonia resides. The viewing did not last long however as the weather once again took a turn for the worse. We made our way along the coast towards Pirrita, where the sailing for the 1982 Moscow Olympics was held. From there we turned inland towards the TV tour. It was just a short drive from the coast through one of the many forests that are scattered throughout Tallinn. The fact that there are so many trees around Tallinn gives the place a very earthy feel and makes you appreciate the beauty of nature in comparison to some buildings (Soviet style apartments in this case). From the top of the TV tower you can see for miles around in every direction and the view of Tallinn from the top puts the size of this city into perspective in comparison to places like Melbourne and Sydney. The weather had changed once more and we were greeted by bright sunshine having entered the tower under heavy clouds.
From there we went and had a meal down on the coast at a restaurant called PAAT. Its in an upturned boat. The food was excellent once again. And of course no meal is complete in Estonia (well maybe breakfast) without an accompanying ale - the Ale Coq Imperial Ale was one of the best I've had.
So today was spent feeling very cultured. I popped into the Lutheran church this morning, but as it is all in Estonian, one finds it a tad hard to stay concentrated. From there I made my way straight to Chocolat De Pierre, my favourite café in Tallinn. It's coffees and cakes are awesome but the best element is the atmosphere. Its tucked away in this little courtyard with a multitude of arts and craft stores surrounding it. Today was even more special as they had a duet serenading me while I sat in the sun feeling far more cultured than I am. After spending the majority of the afternoon there I had a chance meeting with a guy who is also in the middle of a cycle tour. It was great to be able to pick his brain on what works and what doesn't and I'm meeting him again tomorrow (before he heads to Finland). He's very kindly offered to give me his maps, which should come in handy. Hopefully some of the tips he gave me have stuck and will be able to help me at some stage. I was very glad to have pulled a leaf from Dad's book and approached a total stranger.
I've had to rewrite this as it hadn't saved (very frustrating), so I'm sorry its a little more brief than I had planned. This is also longer than the last one so I don't like your chances of getting a blog much smaller than this.
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