1 April 2014

SECRETS OF ESTONIA

I haven't been on here much recently. After the initial surge of enthusiasm I sort of knew that I'd run myself out of inspiration pretty soon. Though that's only the half of it. I've also been finishing up my dissertation, and whilst it didn't take up literally every hour I had, I find I can really only concentrate on one thing at a time. If it's work, then everything else gets forgotten about. But I think it's a pretty good reason for an absence so I won't be too harsh on myself! So until my exams are over I feel I can come back to this place properly, I thought I'd ask my sister Tasha to do a post. She recently went on holiday to Tallinn, Estonia, and her photos are so beautiful I wanted to share them. She's been a couple of times now so we thought a little travel guide might be quite nice, especially cause I've been doing the Paris one and I only have one more installment of that left. I think we're all so done with the cold and snow now, so let this be one last, beautiful farewell to winter. It seems appropriate for the first day of April! Actually, Tasha has just went up to Skye to work for eight months over the summer! Pretty cool. She's been sending me some photos and it looks like another planet, it's so amazing. Anyway, in Tasha's words... 


At the end of January I went on a trip to Tallinn, Estonia, when it was bitterly cold, the Baltic Sea was frozen over and the city was covered in a blanket of snow.  I've spent a bit of time in city over the last few years, and Vanessa has asked me to put together a little list of places that I enjoy going to as a guide for her blog. Tallinn is unbelievably charming in winter, but is a lovely place to visit at any time of the year.




                                  





Nop
Köleri 1, Tallinn.
Nop is an organic café/restaurant inside a mint-green wooden building down a sidestreet in the beautiful Kadriorg district of Tallinn.  It's a great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and is the kind of place you could go on your own with a book or laptop and sit for a while.  If I lived in Tallinn I'd probably be in here every day doing just that.  I was eagerly looking forward to the banana bread with cinnamon butter for breakfast that I had on my last trip to Tallinn, but sadly it wasn't on the menu anymore!  The rest of the menu makes up for it though.  It can be a bit tricky to find the first time you visit, but it's definitely worth it.  As well as the café, there is an organic shop next door.

Koogel Moogel Teater Playhouse Cafe
Toom-Kooli 13, Tallinn.

This is a really sweet and cosy café inside a children's theatre at the top of the hill in the Old Town, next to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and just around the corner from the Tallinn Ballet School.  We found this place completely by accident and I'm so glad we did.  Inside there is a wooden stage with tables on it, a large open fire and cute little details everywhere.  The food is homey, simple and tasty and the staff are incredibly friendly and welcoming.  The second time we went - with aspirations of bagging the table next to the fire - a girl had to turn us away, as she apologetically told us a performance was just about to start.  Bearing this in mind, if you're hungry for lunch I'd recommend having a back up plan of some sorts - but if you're in the area it's a lovely place to go.

Must Puudel
Muurivahe 20, Tallinn

This again is a cool place for breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks in the evening, where you can sit for ages as the place is so huge.  The decor is a kind of interesting mix of Soviet-nostaglia and Nordic design.






                   
                                 




Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design
Lai 17, Tallinn.

This is one of my favourite musuems in Tallinn - a really nice collection of beautiful furniture, textiles, glassware, jewellry and ceramics.  On this occasion, there was a little exhibition by Aamu Song and Johan Olin of the Helsinki-based design firm Com-pa-ny and Salakauppa, which I really loved!  


Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
Pikk 73, Tallinn.

Nice place to visit, especially if you have kids, but also if you just love children's book design and vintage illustrations.  I am particularly fond of the pictures in Pioneer, an old Estonian Communist magazine for the good little comrade.


Kadriorg Palace and Winter Gardens
A. Weizenbergi 37, Tallinn.

Estonia's own miniature Versailles, located within a beautiful park area in the east of Tallinn.  Originally built for Catherine I of Russia by Peter the Great in 1725 as an imperial summer residence - nowadays it houses an art gallery.  It is nice to walk around, particularly the Winter Gardens, though to be honest there isn't all that much to see, and I usually just want to get to KUMU for the good stuff!


KUMU
Weizenbergi 34/Valge 1.

You won't find Renoirs or Warhols here, but a fantastic collection of modern (and classical, if you're into that) Estonian and Baltic art.  On this occasion there was a large exhibition of the work of Lepo Mikko, a prominent Estonian post-war Modernist, that was really enjoyable.  The cafés here are really nice too with lots of natural light, and are really good for lunch or just coffee and cake.  Also, KUMU and Kadriorg Palace are both really close to Nop, so I usually head straight to one after the other!