Once upon a time, I fell in love with a little city full of cafés and cobblestone streets, tucked behind a medieval wall. That city is Old Town Tallinn, Estonia, the last stop on our Baltic cruise. As with all of the other Eastern European countries I've visited, I arrive with little to no expectation, having heard all about how poor and desolate the country is, and I leave completely smitten.
Old Town Tallinn most definitely did not disappoint. We disembarked the cruise ship and easily walked to our hotel (Tallink Express Hotel). After dropping off our luggage, it was about a 5 minute walk to the gates of Old Town.
We wound up and down the streets until a Ferris wheel made of teacups and spoons in the window of Maiasmokk, the so-called oldest café in all of Estonia. A lovely cappuccino, a tiramisu, and a run-in with some friends we made on the ship and we were all off on a free guided tour of the city. I don't think I ever actually knew the name of the tour company, but all of the guides are college students. Ours was incredibly knowledgable and shared with us many stories about the history of Estonia (did you know that 70% of Estonians believe that trees have souls?... pretty cool!).
After the tour, we had the entire day to wander, and wander we did. We had an elderflower beer in the square, got lunch at a vegan restaurant, stumbled into an art exhibit. We watched a few painters create art (and bought some). One of my favourite stops of the day was the Pierre Chocolaterie, which we happened upon quite by accident down an alley. It's one of those places where none of the furniture matches, it's warm, cosy, and 1930s Parisian music plays from what surely must be an old phonograph player. I had yet another cappuccino and a chili chocolate (if you ever want to get me a gift, their chili chocolate would be it!). We had dinner in a pub that also happened to be hosting a wedding. At this point, I was 2 cappuccinos, a truffle, some tiramisu, some flaffel, a heaping plate of chips in, but when SB finally located Hell Hunt (supposedly the oldest pub in Tallinn), we had to make another stop! They had a huge beer and food menu, but I couldn't find room for anything else!
I know that I've been missing big noisy cities lately, but Old Town inspired me so much that I didn't even want to set foot in Tallinn-proper. I think that of all the places I've visited, based on what our tour guide told us about Estonians as a whole and what I saw in Old Town, if I ever had to move to another European country, it would be Estonia.