An Estonian love affair

Last month, we spent a week in Tallinn, Estonia. We like to visit unusual, off-the-beaten-track sort of places, and Tallinn certainly didn’t disappoint. When we arrived we had just missed the latest big snowfall, so it was very cold, with the ground white and icy, but the sky was blue and clear – perfect weather for exploring. Tallinn is a small but beautiful city, a true mix of ancient town walls and modern shops. We stayed just at the edge of the Old Town, the perfect spot for exploring local wool shops, vintage stores and cafés, and as well as good access to museums and flea markets further out of town.

Before holidays, we like to do plenty of research. This usually involves scouring the internet for local flea markets, festivals and recommendations of good places to eat/drink/party. While researching Tallinn, we stumbled across a wonderful resource called Like a Local. Currently covering almost thirty cities across Europe, the Like a Local guide includes only recommendations from locals. In the words of the guide’s creators, it is “about finding those cool and hidden spots that locals like to hang out and missing the tourist traps. All our content is created by selected locals who’ve lived in their city for years and really know what they’re talking about.”

Brilliant! We thought. And it really was – especially since the guide has a mobile app, which requires no internet connectivity when you’re out and about. This was especially helpful in Tallinn, where many restaurants and bars which were lovely inside didn’t look exactly, erm, welcoming from the outside. If you are holidaying in Europe anytime soon I would heartily recommend checking out the Like a Local website and app. This guide truly helped us out every day of our holiday, and thanks to it, we ate, drank and shopped in some great, and extremely varied, places.

Ok, I think I’ve gushed enough about the guide, haven’t I? (Seriously though, check it out. It’s great.) Our week away really was magical, with highlights including exploring the many woolly-goods shops in the Old Town; catching local buses and trams to trapped-in-time flea markets; the snowy wonderland of Kadriorg Palace; getting engaged; taking a day tour of the stunning Lahemaa National Park; visiting the brilliant Puppet and Seaplane Harbour Museums; and of course, eating some of the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted. Giant pancakes anyone? Oh, did I mention we got engaged!? More about that below…for now, though, here are some photos:

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we did it
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So…the engagement! In the middle of our third day in Tallinn, in a tiny, cosy little café called Chocolaterie Pierre, Jim proposed. I was taken completely by surprise, especially as I had no idea when he would have been to get a ring. Turns out he had been fibbing about where he was going and sneaking off ring shopping with his friend Stan. Crafty! Of course I said yes, and for the rest of the holiday we were in a delirious happy bubble, so much so that I didn’t really fancy coming home…but I knew the reactions from our family and friends would be wonderful, and they were. We are getting married in May 2014 in the Welsh countryside, and I am so excited!

So Tallinn will always hold a special place for us, not just for obvious reasons, but because it is a beautiful place. A sparkly ring always helps to make a holiday, but when the city itself is a true gem, well, you can’t really go wrong.

You can see the rest of our holiday snaps over on flickr.

2 thoughts on “An Estonian love affair

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