How to Depict Tallinn in Brief?
We spotted this sign at the airport next to the baggage roundabouts. It is actually an advertisement for a nearby shopping centre but the description of Tallinn and its surroundings is rather funny...
Photos 2-4 have some enlargements of the big picture so you can read and see details better.
Some famous buildings - Olai church (or is it the cathedral?), the town hall, the northern gate with Fat Margaret tower - represent the old town, plus a dog house;-) Viru skyscraper and some modern blocks stand for new Tallinn. The surrounding landscape is entitled as "eimidagi" (nothing) and is inhabited by mooses and fir trees. The road and rail to the east lead to Russia, those to the west lead "nowhere". Then there is the lake, the airport, and the brewery.
This is all you need to learn about Tallinn before heading for the shopping centre... according to the merchants there.
The Tallinn Card
If you will be in Tallinn for 24 hours or longer and wish to see as much as possible while there, consider a Tallinn Card. The card which is available at Tourist Information Centers, but also at the airport, hotels, travel agencies, etc.
The card can be purchased for periods of 6 hrs. up to 72 hrs for a very reasonable price (check the website for current prices). In 2005, the price for a 24 hour card was only 16 Euros---the card covers admission to approximately 40 museums and sights about town, including the Tallinn Zoo, the Estonian Open Air Museum, a 2 1/2 sightseeing tour, the Kadriorg Palace with art museum, Tallinn City Museum, etc., etc.,.
If you like museums, this card is probably a good value for you.
Fortifications, Sauna and Kuldjala Torn
These three medieval towers, and the portion of the wall that connects them, are among the few towers open to tourists. Visitors can climb up and imagine what it felt like to guard the town against would-be invaders, but the wall is even more popular for its picturesque view of the red-tiled roofs of Old Town and Toompea hill. Towers were been built in XVI century.
The Land that Spice Forgot
My Estonian girlfriend doesn't like spicy food, not even food with garlic or onion. This is just the way Estonians take there food: plain, but hearty. Typical dishes involve lots of meat, typically meat and two vegetables. But being a coastal country, with a harbour capital, fish is also popular, and the tiny Sprat in particular. Tallinn is sometimes called Spratville, because of its proclivity for these tiny taddlers.
Some of the more unusual dishes include blood sausage, or even blood bread or blood balls, at least according to Lonely Planet. My girlfriend is a little skeptical about the latter. One food that definitely exists, and might cause visitors to blech, is the traditional sult. This is meat in jelly and is a plate very popular at Christmas time.
If you are lucky enough to be invited into an Estonian home for dinner, you can expect to sit around a table with the entire family while many large plates or bowls of food are placed around. These plates are usually filled with salads, like crab noodle, some kind of marinated fish, pickled vegetables, especially cabbage and gherkins (usually home made), and potatoes of some form (fried or boiled). Expect to be very full before you are allowed to leave.
Despite being labeled the Land That Spice Forgot by the Baltic Times, Estonia has some fantastic restaurants, and not just in Tallinn. On the other hand, don't be surprised when your "spicy" dishes are not all that spicy, or when your Estonian friends are shocked by even the mildest of curries.
This is a football team in Tallinn and I have seen them. I know a friend in this club, so I could see the game for free. The football standard in Estonia or in Tallinn is not so super. But it was nice to see difference culture anyway. Just a good smile and your normal clothes, because you will NOT play at all.