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Published: August 30th 2017
Geo: 59.4392, 24.7586
The beginnings of our first full day in Tallinn was spent looking for some form of breakfast and some half-drinkable Coffee. Despite Helsinki apparently being the 'coffee capital' of Europe, the coffee was very bitter and not that nice; Tallinn didn't look like being much better. We finally found a little bakery just off the main square and had some very nice croissants and what Chris tells me was a delicious hot chocolate. This was followed up by some nice traditional Glogi (im relying on you to correct this!) from the Christmas market.
After this we wandered around the cobbled streets of Old Town Tallinn, exploring the little nooks and cranny alleyways and desperately trying not to fall over on the snow coloured cobblestones. We then decided that as we wanted to go to Narva, the Russian border town, we should find the right bus station and buy tickets. Some questionable map reading got us to a bus station, however it soon became apparent that unless we wanted to stay local, the buses here were not going to help us. A tram to the main bus station on the edge of town it was. After easily buying tickets - everyone there spoke English!, Laura looked on the map and decided that we were close to a lake and that it would be fun to visit. A half hour walk up a steep hill, under a railway line and through an industrial estate followed and when we found the lake it was fenced off and we couldn't get anywhere near. A little disappointing! A bit of plane spotting (we were next to the airport) and a 20 minute wait for a bus that would take us some-way back to the Old Town followed and we eventually made it back to the Old Town.
We then spent the rest of the day on Toompea Hill, which, according to myth, was built on top of the grave of King Kalev and which is also made of solid limestone and is the site of the Danish castle that founded Tallinn in 1219. Toompea was the home of the Danish aristocracy whose relationship with the locals was often so strained that they had to surround the castle with thick walls and a gate tower to guard the entrance. The hill is home to many beautiful houses and shops, predominately selling amber, down the small windy cobbled alleyways. There were also several viewpoints which provided beautiful panoramic views across the Old Town and wider city.
Dinner was spent in a lovely traditional restaurant in the centre of the Old Town where we had the traditional black bread and sprat starter followed by a 'sausage platter' which contained 6 different types of (very salty) sausages, sauerkraut and lovely fried potatoes. Followed by more mulled wine amongst the Christmas market, Christmas tree and reindeer in the central square - lovely!
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