22
Feb
13

standing tall(inn)

Sometimes you leave a place and just a get a feeling that you’ll be back someday. Not quite sure why that is, call it a traveller’s sixth sense or something, but certain places you leave and you just know your paths will meet again sometime in the future.

Take Langkawi in Malaysia as an example. I had a few days on the Malaysian paradise island in October near the start of ‘the trip’ and several months found myself back there, mate and all with me, exploring the same beach bars, swimming in the same sea and even staying at the same digs. It wasn’t planned that this would be a place to go back to so soon after the first visit, but leaving on that ferry to Penang, I knew I’d see Langkawi again. Bangkok was the same. I didn’t quite imagine I’d be visiting Thailand’s capital city with my half-Thai / half-Essex (she’ll hate me for that) girlfriend just a couple of years after my previous encounter, but somewhere inside me knew I’d be walking round those familiar Khao San backstreets again. Mumbai was another place – I disliked it massively the first time I went there, but knew I’d be back. And I have been – not once, but twice!

The reason for this rambling is because I’m having that feeling again – that someday I’ll re-visit the capital city of Estonia, Tallinn.

A couple of nights in this Baltic beauty weren’t enough to fully discover everything Tallinn had to offer. Sure, the fairytale-esque old town was so small you could easily navigate it in a matter of hours, but to say you’d seen it all would be nothing more than box ticking. On our walk home from the magic ‘Clayhills gastro-pub’ just off the main square on our final night in Tallinn, we stumbled across more intriguing bars and restaurants that would have been great to explore had we more time.

Also cities like this are an entirely different proposition in the summer.

The main square had all the hallmarks of a cracker of a spot to spend a warm summer’s day people watching whilst supping a few ‘A le Coq’ or ‘Saku’ beers. I could imagine all the restaurants would spill their tables and chairs out onto the square and temporary bars would be set up, as locals came out alongside thirsty tourists to create a cracking atmosphere on the long summer nights you get this far north.

There was none of that on a Monday and Tuesday in February though – the only people out in the main square for any prolonged periods of time were the odd brave tourist, snapping away at the cathedral or the snow cladded rooftops before hurriedly getting the gloves back on before frostbite kicked in.

So Tallinn was pretty much everything I expected, given the time of year. It had the pretty buildings, it had the snow, it had the underground bars (check out a place called ‘Porgu’), it had the romantically lit restaurants and it had the picturesque side streets, ripe for exploring.

Next time I go I’d like a nice outdoors bar with a bit of live music.

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