The medieval city of Tallinn, Estonia is small and easy to explore on foot, making it an excellent Short Hop travel destination.
In order to avoid the regular stag and hen groups, we decided to spend a peaceful Christmas there in 2005. The boutique Merchants House Hotel, located in the centre of Tallinn’s Old Town, became our base for just under a week. The days were spent exploring the Old Town and visiting the Christmas market on Raekoja Plats, where we bought thick handknitted socks and linen tableware. The best views of the city can be found from high up on Toompea, where we took photos both day and night.
We trekked out to the suburb of Kadriorg to see the palace and the park, which could have come straight out of Narnia. Not quite as picturesque but equally as interesting was the Soviet-style Jaam Turg market behind Tallinn’s train station. It was a rough area then and apparently hasn’t changed much today (I came across some recent photos of it on Flickr).
As it was the Christmas period, not many restaurants were open, but we did eat twice at the wonderful medieval-themed restaurant Olde Hansa. It’s far superior to its rival, the underwhelming Peppersack with its staged sword fights during dinner. And when we rescued the figure of Hans from burning down outside Olde Hansa, the guys kindly treated us to flagons of honey mead, their signature drink.
The highlight of the trip (there is always one) must be the dinner at Gloria, which has been serving customers since 1937 and has a well stocked wine cellar, where you can also eat. In the main restaurant, we sat in a luxurious private booth separated from the rest of the restaurant by thick red velvet curtains. If I went back to Tallinn, Gloria would be at the top of my list.
Here are a few photos from the Tallinn trip.