Tallinn Ferry – Viking Invasion

People say, “Never come back to the places where you were happy”. I think it does not always that way. We were waiting for this visit to Tallinn for many years and it was not in vain.

Tallinn Town Hall, Estonia.

Tallinn Town Hall is one of the most important symbols of the city and a unique architectural monument in Europe

The city is the same good and it feels even just you leave the airport: this ravishing, salty marine air – the Baltic. The chain of taxi, ceremoniously waiting for each turn, a short ride to the Tallinn’s Old Town; so much glass and concrete raised in here, but still, the pure blood of the city is shown, it is the real European.

Both of us have been to Tallinn before, in the childhood during the Soviet occupation, but now many years after we came here together, in first time. It was so nice to see Tallinn again, to evaluate the city with an adult eye, to get sure that our feelings were so true during all these years. The city is still filled with the fresh baking flavour, and they serve several sorts of local herbal liqueur Vana Tallinn.

The Ferry Tallinn-Helsinki enters into the port. Tallinn, Estonia.

The Ferry Tallinn-Helsinki enters into the port. Tallinn, Estonia.

City wall with temporary garden exhibition. Tallinn, Estonia.

City wall with temporary garden exhibition

When you are going to write a new story, you always plan to give a maximum of practical information, but the emotions always make their own allowances.

This time we were living in the “Barons” hotel only a few steps from the Town Hall Square; this is a pedestrian zone, and the famous Tallinn restaurant called Olde Hansa is located across the street. From time to time Irina is trying to persuade herself for the reasonably priced vacation and rest, but it doesn’t work out well for now. She likes to live inside the antiquity, rather than nearby. Our window overlooks the side of the Town Hall Square, but seems she like it.

Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia.

The old town is surrounded by stone walls and distinctive red roofs. Tallinn, Estonia.

The door. Old Town of Tallinn, Estonia.

The building of the hotel Barons belongs to the beginning of the previous century. The elevator of 1903 is sure enough upgraded, but it operates properly and the spirit of the place is definitely kept. It is always nice to stay in such places. Do you know how am I going to characterize Tallinn? The city of all ages lovers and at the same time the city of the cruel invasions of hordes of Scandinavian teenagers. Yep, it is between these two extremes.

It’s impossible to perform a night photo-shoot without people in Tallinn. Don’t hope to leave your window open for the night if you live near Town Hall! Our “Ваrons” kindly proposed ear plugs to all the guests. It was really hard to get asleep in the close neighbourhood to the central square until three o’clock in the night.

Frankly speaking, these Scandinavian boys and girls are not that violent, but they are always smashed and yelling; and “Ваrons” is located between the two streets full of night bars. These descendants of the glorious Vikings do not take off hotels; they arrive on the afternoon, hell around the whole night and finally load onto the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki.

I was impressed with the operation of the janitors. We came outside when it was 7 o’clock in the morning and the cleanest Tallinn was ready to please the newcomers’ eyes with its beauty. Just for the comparison: early in the morning, the Gothic quarter of Barcelona greets you with the used syringes, broken glass and some other attributes of the nightlife.

Tallinn, Estonia.

The Tallinn Town Hall, Tallinn's Old Town, Estonia.

The Tallinn Town Hall, Tallinn’s Old Town

Old Tallinn, Estonia.

The Fat Margaret Tower in the old town of Tallinn, Estonia.

The Fat Margaret Tower in the old town of Tallinn

There was no special excursion program. Both of us have been to Tallinn before, so we were just wondering around the historic Old Town, excited with the recognized places.

We climbed to Toompea, took a look to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral…

Welcoming old Tallinn is always eager to propose a cup of good coffee and a tasty pastry; every foodie may gladden themselves in the city. We did not go to the famous Olde Hansa as we have chosen the similar restaurant called Peppersack. There is a big sack hanging above the entrance; however, the restaurant was named in honour of the founder.

Waiters in medieval costumes, styled dishes and furniture, home brew with honey; even we have drunk half-liter every one. We ordered a dish for two Pikemen`s feast. This is a smoked pork leg with beery sauerkraut, dill pickle, pumpkin, oven-baked potatoes, mustard and radish sauce. Recommended wine is Gabriel Meffre La Chasse Cotes du Rhone. I wish there were four of us; it was huge and extremely tasty, we gorged ourselves.

But Goodwin Steak House on the Viru street has become our favorite one. The chief is a real ace, he cooks perfect steaks; I said to the waiter, “Just yesterday we have returned from Provence, France (probably, our unexpected impressions from the cuisine of Provence will be interesting to everyone), and finally, for the first time in ten days we have such a great cuisine.”

Steak in the restaurant Goodwin, Tallinn, Estonia.

Steak in the restaurant Goodwin

Steak in the restaurant Goodwin, Tallinn, Estonia.

Another steak in the same restaurant

The only essential point of our program of the visit to Tallinn was the Broken Line Memorial near Fat Margaret tower, and, may be, to take a dip in the Baltic. We slowly came to the Broken Line. There were a guy and a girl sitting right at the monument.

“Good appetite.”
“Thank You.”
“Where are you from?”
“Do you know what it is?”
“Yes. It is a grave of the ship, which carried away lives of 852 people! It is a shame you make to sit here and eat!”

They left. The girl emotionally explained of their conduct, but I was not listening. Probably, this plate should be put on all sides of the Memorial.

The Broken Line - Memorial to The Estonia Ferry Disaster. Tallinn, Estonia.

The Broken Line – Memorial to The Estonia Ferry Disaster

The Broken Line - Memorial to The Estonia Ferry Disaster. Tallinn, Estonia.

The Broken Line – Memorial to The Estonia Ferry Disaster

Irina continues the story.

The tragedy with the ferry “Estonia” shocked the whole Northern Europe. We also had a personal reason to visit the Memorial, and I guess Victor emotionally prepared himself for this meeting.

I stood behind a bit, but I saw a frail old man with a newspaper in his hands, which came up to the monument right before Victor. And I thought he will disturb us, but he unfolded the newspaper and got a small white rose. He put it at the very edge of the granite and sat nearby. And now I felt that we disturbed him.

Victor called me below one’s breath, “I found,” and told looking at the old man, “Why did not we bring a glass of vodka or a piece of bread?”

Victor’s son-in-law served and died at this ship.

We left, and the old man still sat at the edge of the cold granite.

On the next morning, we came back to the Memorial and put our two white roses next to the rose of that old man.

Old Town is amazing. You should definitely visit Tallinn if you wish to get acquainted with this unique city. Tallinn is like a gentle Livonian knight: proud and beautiful, and the citizens are very hospitable.

Ancient stone walls of Tallinn, Estonia.

The old town of Tallinn is surrounded by stone walls.

St. Olaf's church was the tallest building in the world from 1549 to 1625. Tallinn, Estonia.

St. Olaf’s church was the tallest building in the world from 1549 to 1625

St. Catherine's Passage. Tallinn, Estonia.

St. Catherine’s Passage

We only failed to swim in the Baltic. Although the water seemed warm by the touch, we never dared to go into. There were no other volunteers on the beach as well. Victor commented the situation, “Today was the especially hot and crowded day at the Laulasmaa beach near Tallinn”. :-)

Laulasmaa in the Lahepere Bay is a beautiful sandy beach, just half an hour drive from Tallinn. Estonia.

Laulasmaa in the Lahepere Bay is a beautiful sandy beach, just half an hour drive from Tallinn

OLd Tallinn, Estonia.

Night Old Town of Tallinn. Estonia.

Amber souvenirs in Tallinn, Estonia.

Amber souvenirs

Red roofs of the Old Tallinn, Estonia.

Red roofs of the Old Tallinn

More about medieval cities:
Cite De Carcassonne or Book In Stone
Receipt of Trogir, Croatia

46 Responses to “Tallinn Ferry – Viking Invasion”

  1. wordsfromanneli Says:

    It all looks so clean and cared for. I love the old style buildings. Looks like a great place to visit.

  2. Trinity Rivers Says:

    OK, now I have to go here. Great pictures.

  3. Viorica Says:

    It’s really amazing!

  4. msroosipuu Says:

    I just love my Tallinn ;) and I am happy to read it ;)

  5. London Caller Says:

    Such a lovely place!
    I would like to visit this place one day.

  6. Pam Says:

    Very interesting and touching. Beautiful city.

  7. Penne Cole Says:

    I loved visiting Tallinn. I thought it was a beautiful city and wonderfully preserved. I also fell in love with all the wooden chopping boards in the shops. If you’re looking for a bargain, get it from the department store in town – just as nice but without the tourist price tag.

  8. thewanderingbear Says:

    Between this and Rigas, I now need to visit these former Soviet states.

  9. Maria Says:

    I love the sculpture, “The Broken Line” – beautiful piece, fitting title and it works so well with the ancient architecture in the area. Wow!

  10. Kongo Says:

    I love the evening photographs of the tower, Victor. You superbly captured the light and the framing and crop of the photograph is stunning. Wow.

  11. fotoeins Says:

    Victor, thanks for this photographic tour of Tallinn. I didn’t get a chance to visit last fall, but I hope to visit this city at some point. I understand the sentiment behind that very first statement, because no one wants to “exhaust” or wants to find all gone the happiness in a given place. However, wouldn’t someone *want* to return to that same place to find that very same happiness again?

  12. Garden Walk Garden Talk Says:

    This is a beautiful town and it is a shame to have such close personal tragedy associated with it. I was sad to read you lost a loved one, Victor. Your photos are so beautiful and hopefully the beauty of spirit live on in this town of the 852 people lost.

  13. Our Adventure in Croatia Says:

    never visited that country and city, what beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing such a personal and tragic event.

  14. Ami Says:

    Tallinn is lovely – we visited on a Baltic cruise several years ago and I’d love to return!

  15. Rupert John Says:

    Nice clicks. I really love these all. Especially the Tallinn Town Hall. Tallinn is a wonderful city to visit in Estonia. I am visiting tallinn next week.

  16. Alba Marie Says:

    Tallinn is truly one of my favourite places I’ve ever visited (probably in my top 5)…it is just so unexpectedly beautiful. I can understand the warning, “Don’t return to a place you loved” because supposedly it’s never as nice as the first time. And while this was certainly true with Barcelona, it was not the case with London or Prague or Vienna, all of which I loved even more on every successive visit. I would re-visit Tallinn in a heartbeat!

  17. liinatravels Says:

    Wow, I love your post about my hometown :) Really makes me miss Tallinn and I’m happy you had great time there!

  18. Annika Says:

    Good photos and it is the most personal post about Tallinn because of the Estonia disaster memorial (good idea for more signs there). Amber souvenirs are not estonian at all although they sell them in all the souvenir shops.

  19. Melani Says:

    Awesome post about Tallinn, the city where I lived between ages 2 and 19. I’m glad to read that you enjoyed your time there!

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