Tallinn – the city in-between

304 Views - Published on - May 12, 2015 by Raza Ali
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If it would had been a lesson in geography I might had concentrated on telling you about the location and topography of Tallinn. But fortunately for you I will not do that. I will leave this function to the big brother. But the Tallinn I want you to see is the city with one of the tallest watch towers of antiquity, cobble stone streets, easy going people and a public transport system, which is free for the residents.

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Tallinn is the capital of a state with a total population of 1.3 million people. So it might not be hard for you to imagine the scale of the city. This city houses 435000+ people. To get some idea of the density of population consider this: Singapore has a land mass of 581.8km2 and a population of a little over 5 million, whereas Tallinn has an area of 159.2km2 and a population of not even 0.5 million. So now that you can imagine the availability of space it will be easier for you to tame down your desires, when it comes to what the city offers.

Although Tallinn is the capital of modern Republic of Estonia, but the most visited place in the city is the Old Town. This area is very well preserved because luckily Tallinn never got pillaged in history. This does not mean that the city had a peaceful past. This city has switched hands very frequently, just like the country it represents. And the Old Town has the traces of all of that.

The Old Town area has cobble stone pavements, iron lamp posts, medieval castles and fortresses, combined with running streams of beer, cappuccino and WiFi zones. The feeling is quite surreal and reminds of a trip to virtual reality. If you can lose you mobile phone and other gadgets for some time, you can travel back in time and enjoy the variety of food and drink available in the Old Town cafes, bars and restaurants. If you have not been in the surrounding countries like Poland, Germany, Finland, Sweden or Russia, you might find a lot of new tastes and the richness of Estonian cuisine might astonish you. But otherwise be ready to come across the same sausages and dumplings and other foodies, which you might have already discovered for yourself.

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The traditional Estonian table serving has 4 courses: cold servings [salads and cold-cut meats and fish], soup course [soups are mainly meat or chicken based and thick], main course, which except for rare occasions is the same as the soup course and of course deserts. But if you will see a tint of neighbouring cuisines in all of these foods, don’t curse me, for I have warned you.

Well like all northern folks, Estonians also love to drink. This is one thing, which could be of interest if you had come to Tallinn from places like Stockholm, Helsinki or even Moscow. You will find all your favourite booze but at a considerably lower rate. In this market you will find German beers, Russian beers, Czech beers, Finnish beers, but most importantly you will find Estonian beers: Saku, A. Le Coq, Viru Olu and Parnu.

Other drinks include Kali, mõdu, etc. But don’t think that Estonians only pride their low alcohol drinks. They are proud of their Vodka and various liquors. One speciality drink is Vana Tallinn, which is herbal liquor. If you make it to Tallinn take a few shots and let the spirits of Tallinn show you the way!

And now about the in-between: It is culturally in-between because over the centuries this city had been ruled by the Danish, Swedish, Germans, Polish and Russians. And believe me any occupation or foreign rule of more than 10 years, leaves a genetic and cultural trait. And I am telling you this, because I come from a place, which was a historic crossroad for contrasting cultures. Another in-between is that it is a very geographically well-placed transportation hub. Your reach is all around from this city, either by road, rail or sea. So if you plan on spending your summer visiting Eastern and Northern European cities and Russia, you can easily make a base camp in Tallinn and travel out of this ancient cities to destinations of your choice.

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