A Taste of the Baltics - Tallinn, Estonia

Leaving Helsinki and Finland for good was sad, but part of us were happy for our pockets. We had been lucky and had only stayed eight nights in campsites across the country, mostly cooked in Izzy, the motorhome and were careful about going out. But Scandinavia had still felt very expensive so our next destination, the capital of Estonia, Tallinn came as a relief... At least for 24hours. 

A three-hour ferry ride later, parked in a petrol station near the ferry port, we needed to talk. We needed to agree on where we were going to stay for the night and whether we were going to explore the Baltics or not... We both wanted to discover Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, but we knew that Jamie's sister, Jo and her family were in Germany for a week holiday. We had decided we wouldn't meet them a while back, but I could sense that Jamie wasn't feeling right; a mixture of sadness, guilt and anxiety. So we took the bold decision to meet them! We still wanted to explore the city and have a wash before our crazy road trip so we checked in at a hostel for the night - at 32Euros with a CCTV car park, hostel Tallinn wasn't a 5* Hotel - far from it, but it was what we needed; a bed, shower and a safe solution to park Izzy, our motorhome.  

One of the main city squares on the way to the Old Town.
A nice snooze and wash later, we walked on to explore Tallinn's Unesco World Heritage listed Old Town. A 35-minute walk away, we thought we'd have something to eat at Hannah's recommended African Kitchen, walk around and have a few drinks. A cosy and friendly atmosphere with yummy exotic dishes at very affordable prices, the African Kitchen also had free wifi. We took the opportunity to contact Jo and her husband, James to check that our plans would still be welcomed and work with there's!

The African Kitchen, Uus 32/34, tucked in the Old Town.

A few drinks at Põrgu, a hidden gem of a cave bar (& brasserie - the food did look nice!) with an excellent selection of beers and wines, we were just that little bit merry and ready to walk back to our room before we wouldn't be able to remember our way!

Time for a snapshot!

Waking up was painful; both hungover, we needed a dose of paracetamol, a walk and some fresh air before hitting the road. Walking through the Old Town, we tested our fragile and empty brains; could we remember where we'd walked? We ended up walking for miles up to the Russian market and further which culminated with a "all-you-can-eat" brunch at Sesoon, Niine 11. At 12 euros a head, it was quite a pricey choice for Tallinn, but we were hungry and there weren't many other choices in this part of the Kalamaja district on the edge of the city.

View of the Old Town from St Olaf's church. For only 2 euros, you get a 360°C view of Tallinn.

The Russian market is a must-see. It felt like walking back in time. We also felt we were foreigners.

Walking back to hostel Tallinn to pick up Izzy - the hostel manager had kindly let us leave our motorhome in their car park - I couldn't stop thinking about how Tallinn was booming. With many different vibrant areas dotted with independent cafes and bars, cosy restaurants, quirky artists studios & vintage shops and all of this at a very affordable price - Tallinn seemed the perfect capital for a city break*. I would definitely like to go back and discover more of its country's history, art and culture. But for the moment, it was time to set off on our road trip! 

...Ready to set off at 6pm on Sunday, were we going to crash our GPS planning our route from Tallinn, Estonia to Berlin, Germany?

Breaking the GPS?!...
It did take some time to come up with a route. It came up with two as pictured below. We, unfortunately, had no other options, but take the longest journey, the "Alternative route". Without Russian visas, we had to avoid Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave tucked in between Lithuania and Poland.

Have a look at this link for good tips and places to hang out in Tallinn: www.likealocalguide.com/tallinn/neighbourhood/kalamaja/