Never ignore an invitation for an evening stroll along the seaside in one of Europe’s fastest changing cities – Tallinn.
This applies even more so if your tour guide is no one less than the grande dame of companion animal veterinary medicine in Estonia – Tiina Toomet, my perennial host and occasional saviour whenever I am staying in the Estonian capital.
In the Baltic states Tiina is a household name because of her frequent television and radio appearances and because of her very popular books, describing her journey into veterinary medicine and her personal connection and experiences with her own pets and with memorable patients.
For me though the most impressive aspect of Tiina is her vast knowledge of her own city and her own country, of the dramatic transformation Estonia has gone through and her positive take on everything that is new and exciting, regardless if it is an innovation in veterinary medicine, a restaurant or a musical or cultural event. All of these are enjoyed and compared with history in mind and with a strong desire to live and enjoy life in the now.
Our evening stroll started at the stylishly re-developed marina of Port Noblessner. The place is featuring a lot of individually crafted appartments that look like an urban design competition where all the final entries have been build next to each other. Eye watering pricetags can safely be assumed I would think……
The old industrial units opposite of these appartments host offices for new start ups and some great examples of the fine dining revolution that is in full swing to challenge Copenhagen and Stockholm for their dominance in the Baltic region.
And this for a good reason – you might eat here cheaper and possibly better than in these Scandinavian capitals, even if you price in your flight and a night’s hotel accommodation.
A good example is Lore Bistroo where we found not only high end cooking but also a warm and very welcoming ambience, with even the dog being made comfortable.
Before now even trying to explain our food in detail, I suggest watching this great video of the Tallinn Travel Series (if you don’t have enough time for the whole video, just move forward to Dinner 5…..)
After tickling our taste buds and with a few glasses of Sauvignon Blanc in our blood streams, we carried on with our evening stroll and after just a few minutes found ourselves surrounded by a cluster of strange round shaped objects – Tallinn’s Iglupark.
Here you can rent just for hours or for days a truly unusual office space, a meeting room or a holiday cabin just by the sea side.
The centre of complex is an open air bar and while we were waiting for our next drinks, I noticed a naked man (ok….he was wearing a towel) twice my size standing next to me ……. so you could also rent the – in Estonia obligatory – sauna here in form of an igloo!…….
As having a sauna after so much food and wine wasn’t really an option for us, we left this polar setting and carried on to the next site, which was more familiar to me: Tallinn’s Sea Plane Harbour.
With a number of military and commercial shipping vessels being parked outside,
the place features one of the largest hangars in the world, which is now not only the home of the Estonian Maritime Museum , but it also houses an entire submarine !
Finally we arrived at the Patarei Sea Fortress – also known as Tallinn’s Central Prison. Having been used as such by the Soviets, during the German occupation and by the Estonian State until 2005, it now houses a spooky prison museum (apparently visitors were asked to go on a self guided tour without a guide or a map….) and I wouldn’t be surprised if this site will become the next historic building that will see a very Estonian transformation.
I can’t wait for another stroll along the sea front in Tallinn…..