Olde Hansa shop: Forage through a real life medieval trading store!
As you know only too well, it's a real drag when your favourite leather curly-toed jester shoes finally wear out and you struggle to find replacements in your local shopping mall. Well, take heart because you need look no further than the Olde Hansa shop!
Ergonomically located next to the superb Old Hansa restaurant, they have established a store brimful of all sorts of medieval goodies which pay homage to Tallinn's Hanseatic trader roots. And, like the restaurant itself, what could have ended up as a cliched tourist trap has redeemed itself through meticulous research and offers high quality handmade items based on traditional designs that are fun to browse through whether or not you're in the mood for buying.
The home decor items feature lots of wrought iron, with a range of glassware and crockery which have improved on the originals by being microwave and dishwasher proof! There is also a range of soaps, as well as a small range of spices which represent the seasonings that would have been available to medieval cooks (and which were a very profitable line for Tallinn's merchant class during the Middle Ages).
There are also clothing and footwear ranges for both men and women - these are authentic in their design and are created out of the sort of fabrics that would have been made available at the time, which of course comes at a considerable cost. I can't imagine the tunics, jerkins and shoes having mass appeal unless you're going to a fancy dress party where authenticity is all, or are intent upon looking like a complete prat!
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Hilpharakas: Rock attitude
This is little bit gothic and surely rock-attitude place. The one we do seem to find everywhere ;) My husband foun a silver chain in here, and I did buy pair of ear rings. There were also some clothes, lots of those jewellery, accesory etc.. Friendly service and many itresting items for us who seem not to grow old enoght ;) We are in our 40´s so my sister thinks we shouldn´t be so "rock" anymore.. But we disagree!
Without goin to Kompressor to have the crepes, we would not have seen this.
Also some t-shirts of rock-, heavy, hard rock- etc bands.
What to buy: I think I listed them allready :)
What to pay: Prices were little cheaper tahn in similar shops in Finland and many European countries. Not REALLY cheap, but little less expensive.Related to:
Supermarkets: Bring home a taste of Estonia!
When visiting any new place, I make a beeline for the supermarket, as I'm fascinated by local products and what people choose to eat in a particular place. And given that we were visiting Estonia just before Christmas, the temptation to seek out unfamiliar but tasty treats was irresistable.
We tend to bring back a selection of local produce from our trips ... a 'taste of [insert name of destination]' ... as gifts for friends and family, as it is more useful and interesting than a conventional dust gathering souvenir. However, if you're planning to do this, check in advance what the customs regulations are in your home country - certainly when you're travelling into countries with strict customs regulations such as Australia and New Zealand, all fresh foodstuffs (and a surprising amount of processed ones) are likely to be confiscated. In common customs unions such as the European Union and SADC, this shouldn't be a problem.
What to buy: Usually I am pretty adept at negotiating my way around a supermarket and working out what's what, but in Estonia - as in Hungary - I really drew a blank as a result of the sheer incomprehensibility of the language. Usually you can work out roughly what something is from the label - if not the fine detail - but here I was reduced to identifying basic food groups (cheese, bread, jam and the like).
My first impression was that that there was a huge amount of German produce - but we gave that a wide berth as we didn't travel all that way to find things we could have bought much cheaper in Bavaria.
There was a considerable variety of locally-produced chocolate (look for the Kalev and Kaleo brands) as well as the Kamatahvel brand of 'ersatz' chocolate developed during the cocoa crisis of the 1970s (see my travel tip on this unique offering). There were quite a lot of local (mostly berry-based) jams, as you would expect of a Scandinavian nation: we brought back lingonberry and cloudberry. And as it was just before Christmas, there was an entire range of gingerbread confectionery - we fell in love with photogenic little star-shaped cookies flavoured with ginger, cinnamon and allspice and decorated with bright icing (which were unfortunately gobbled up by our appreciative family before we could photograph them!)
The smoked fish counter was pretty straightforward, and we selected some well-priced smoked salmon and smoked sea trout. The cheese counter was another matter, and whilst we were careful to 'buy Estonian', I couldn't tell you more than that. One lovely mild cheese with a slightly 'squeaky texture' faintly reminiscent of halloumi had a reindeer on the label, but whether this means that it was reindeer cheese I have no idea! I was also tempted to bring back some blood sausage (having enjoyed it at the Olde Hansa) but given that we were staying with my vegetarian sister on our return, reluctantly decided that discretion was the better part of valour!
Salamander is a shoe shop in the old town. I wouldn't usually add here such tip but in one of my visits here I found very nice boots to buy here and so I thought to give this tip to others, you can get very nice shoes and boots in this shop.
Supermarket with local prices: Food
If you are travelling on a tight budget then the restaurants in Old Town will empty your pockets quite fast. Your option is to buy food at local shops.
The shop on Nunne Street between Pikk and Lai is selling their things for “normal” prices. As there are no benches in Old Town to sit down and rest, this is a good place because at least its possible to sit down on the wall on the other side of the street opposite the shop.Related to:
Kaubamaja: Central department store
Kaubamaja history dates back to the Soviet era. It used to be a parody of a real department store just after Estonia gained independence, but it has completely washed its face -- in fact, you wouldn't guess the history, if you didn't know.
The store can be accessed from Viru Keskus or from the old Kaubamaja building just across the street. The selection is large and caters most, if not all, your needs. The prices are in normal European level. There is also a large grocery store on the basement.
At many places (Hotels, Tourist Information Centre or at Kiosks ) the InYourPocket City Guide is available. With 5 € its a cheap guide and absolutely worth the money. If you buy a Tallinn Card you will get a free copy!
For some basic information the free Tallinn Instant PDF – Guide can be downloaded here: Tallinn Instant PDF – GuideRelated to:
- Road Trip
I discovered this nice system in the store where after you select the item you want to buy they are giving you a wooden dice (see image with the sweet lady) to throw and try your luck and see the amount of percents discount you can get of the full price.
Foorum is another of the small shopping malls in the city center. It seems a bit more of the classic stuff and not that of the places for barging for the prices.
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Old town shopping
In old town you will find small shops kind of built in the wall, there you can buy souvenirs, knitted clothes and much more.
A great mall just before Old town, here you can find all the bigger stores. such as Zara, Diesel, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess and much much more.
This is a lovely store in the old city where they have lots of interesting stuff for home decorations and such, check it out.
Gelerii - G: Art gallery I
This is an art gallery where you can buy original paints of local artists and also graphic items and other related to painting and drawingRelated to:
- Arts and Culture
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