Our original plan for this weekend was to enjoy a calm weekend at home, taking care of some cleaning as well as ourselves. At least, that was the plan until lunchtime on Thursday. That was the time I sent Susann a proposal about going to Tallinn for the weekend. I had checked the homepage of Tallink and found tickets for an ok price for the Friday evening cruise. The weather forecast also looked promising. So, we started to work on a plan for an impulsive trip to Tallinn – the capital of Estonia, the currently holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Our Impulsive Trip to Tallinn
To be honest, our trip to the Estonian capital did not require much planning. All we needed to do was pack a bag for two nights and hop on the ferry. The cruise from Stockholm to Tallinn takes about 40 hours. It includes two nights on the ferry and some eight hours in the picturesque Estonian capital. Many people go on the cruise to party. However, we just wanted to experience the atmosphere in the city as well as treat ourselves to a little bit of traveling. Before the trip, we thought that it’d be interesting to visit Kalamaja. This neighborhood is located just north of the historical city center and it has become something of a trendy spot.
Our impulsive trip to Tallinn began on Friday afternoon when we headed to Värtahamnen in Stockholm to board the ship MS Baltic Queen.
Onboard: Good Food and an Early Night
When many of our co-passengers were getting ready to party, we were already fast asleep in our cabin. Actually, we found it quite surprising that there were so many people on the ferry. Before hitting the sack, we enjoyed a dinner in one of the ferry’s restaurants. There are a lot of entertainment on these cruises, everything from bands playing to artists performing their shows. For us, we almost always tend to prefer the calm of our cabin, especially so when we are now being joined by our Little A.
The best meal on this trip was, however, the breakfast on Saturday morning. It was in the form of a luxury breakfast instead of the usual buffet. Cappuccino, croissants, and a glass of bubbly added a bit of luxury the normal breakfast buffet in one of the ship’s restaurants. There is an interesting mix of Estonian and Swedish dishes on these cruises and the breakfast is no exception. There were different types of fish, black bread, and lots of different dairy products. After a hearty breakfast, we were ready to explore the city.
A Day in Tallinn – Always Something New to See
Last time we visited Tallin was for Susann’s birthday last year. During the year that has passed the city has changed a lot. The first thing we noticed was the Norde Centrum. It has completely changed and is now called Nautica. If you haven’t been to Tallinn, we should probably explain that it is a shopping center near the port. We headed from the harbor towards our destination – the neighborhood of Kalamaja only a short walk from the center of Tallinn.
On our way towards Kalamaja, we passed by the Tallinn Linnahalli. This is an old stadium that once housed the sailing events of the Olympic Games of 1980. The games were held in Moscow which is quite far from the sea, Tallinn, then being a part of the Soviet Union, was chosen for some of the competitions that Moscow was not fit for. This is now a building marked by time. It is no longer open to the public, but it is possible to walk up on top of it to get an impressive view out over the Baltic Sea.
In Kalamaja we found the Patarei Sea Fortress, a building that has acted as both prison and fortress. Here we also found the Seaplane Harbor, a harbor hosting one old-time icebreaker as well as the Estonian Maritime Museum. The Suur Tõll is a Russian icebreaker built in 1914. And the museum – well, it’s the most popular museum in Estonia!
The Changing Colors of Tallinn
We continued our impulsive trip to Tallinn with a walk through the Kalamaja Park. Now a peaceful haven in the hustle and bustle of the city, the first records of this former cemetery date back to 1561, The cemetery was closed in 1950 and it shows few signs of having been a burial ground. We really enjoyed our walk in the park, as we had the chance to admire the changing colors of Tallinn. We then continued our way through the colorful neighborhood. Kalamaja used to be a working-class district and colorful wooden buildings line the leafy streets.
Still Impressed by the City Wall
At this point Little A wanted food and we quickly looked for a café before continuing to the Old Town along the city walls. Again the beautiful fall colors astonished us! The Old Town is really well-preserved and visiting it is always a delight. It’s so charming! Walking along the old city wall we actually found places we had not seen before.
The city wall that surrounds most of the old town of Tallinn is something that impresses us each time we visit the city. There are still 1.9 kilometers of the wall and 20 of its defensive towers are still standing. At its peak, the wall was 2.4 kilometers long and had 46 towers. According to Visit Tallinn, two of the best places to view the wall are the Toompea and Tornide väljak.
These two areas are located just next to each other. Toompea is a hill in the center of Tallinn where some of the most famous buildings are located. We walked along the side of this area and found the pond Snelli tiik – once a part of the city moat. Tornide väljak – or Tower’s Square – was a first-time visit for us. We can only confirm that this is a perfect spot to view some of the most impressive parts of the city wall. This fall day the wall and towers were framed by the colors of fall, with the leafs of the trees in yellow and red colors.
The End of Our 8 Hours in Tallinn
We did actually only have a fast walk through the old town during this visit. Our mind was set to round up this visit to Tallinn with some Indian food. During our last visit, we found one Indian restaurant that we really liked, so we decided to return. It is, however, hard not to enjoy the sights also during a fast walk through the old town of Tallinn. Especially the Raekoja plats makes it hard to just run by without first stopping for a few photos.
Indian food it was! Some Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Madras later we did not have so much left of our 8 hours in Tallinn. It was time to head back towards the harbor and our ship. Eight hours in Tallinn is usually not enough to explore everything that is worth seeing in the city. It is however enough for a visit when you know that you will be back to explore more next time. That is one part we are really happy about when living in Stockholm – this beautiful city is only a night away. And who knows, maybe we will be on another impulsive trip to Tallinn again soon.