Tag: Tallinn Travel

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Monday, Five Thirty: Sipping on Estonia's Flagship Booze, Vana Tallinn

February 17, 2014 at 5:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

In celebration of the most needed happy hour of the week, we're launching a new column called “Monday, Five Thirty” that will take a look at different vices from around the world, specifically boozes and beers unique to a destination. For this inaugural run, we zip over to Estonia for a taste of its infamous Vana Tallin.

Estonia is a relatively new country, having gained its independence from Russia just over twenty years ago in 1991. Its most wide-scale attraction, Old Town Tallinn, looks like it should be on the top of a wedding cake with its medieval castles, and our sis HotelChatter dished on some of its properties, including one where the KGB literally bugged the hell out of its guests.

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Let's Talk Tallinn: When Distances Aren't Exact on the Culture 'Kilometer'

July 13, 2012 at 4:25 PM | by | Comments (4)

Who goes to Estonia?! Well, our roaming correspondent John Walton does and, all this week, he's been filling us in on what's up way up there in this world capital on the Baltic Sea.

It's almost time, sniff sniff, to leave Tallinn, and we're kind of heartbroken. We've come to love this tiny city in the far north, but before we go, let's go for a walk along the fascinating Kultuurikilometer—Tallinn's 2.6km-long Culture Kilometer, a walking/biking path that links up a set of nifty things to see and do towards the northwest end of the city center.

Most of the area was a military restricted zone during the Soviet period, since it was a strategically important area on the Baltic Sea. Since Tallinn was European City of Culture in 2011, there's all kinds of awesome stuff scattered along the Culture Kilometer, from murals to art exhibits to random cafés and hipster hangouts.

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Let's Talk Tallinn: The City's Five Most Bizarre Soviet Buildings

July 12, 2012 at 4:06 PM | by | Comments (6)

Who goes to Estonia?! Well, our roaming correspondent John Walton does and, all this week, he'll be filling us in on what's up way up there in this world capital on the Baltic Sea.

Cards on the table: we love Brutalism in architecture. That's the angular, in-your-face, often concrete-formed style popular from the 1950s-70s, which often feels a little bit like a Star Trek: The Next Generation planetary facility. Slightly closer to home, Tallinn has a whole bunch of these awesome buildings. Which shouldn't be surprising—later Soviet architecture just loved the futuristic look of the things, but there are a few other architectural gems from the USSR days in Tallinn.

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Let's Talk Tallinn: 'There is Nothing Here' in the KGB Museum

July 11, 2012 at 4:16 PM | by | Comments (0)

Who goes to Estonia?! Well, our roaming correspondent John Walton does and, all this week, he'll be filling us in on what's up way up there in this world capital on the Baltic Sea.

We love hotels, we love museums...but the KGB Museum inside Tallinn's landmark Hotel Viru takes the hideous Soviet-era cake, and it's the best €7 we spent in Tallinn. (The museum, not the cake.)

Back in the days of the USSR, the top floor of the hotel was used as a KGB listening post. While much of the equipment was spirited away when Estonia became an independent state, there's still a fascinating amount of stuff up there.

It seems odd to be talking about a smell being part of history, but wait until you sniff the "Soviet Smell" as you walk into the old "photocopying room," which now holds all kinds of fascinating memorabilia from the days of the USSR. Don't miss the Complaints Book and the identical death notices for Andropov and Brezhnev.

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Let's Talk Tallinn: Walking the UNESCO Hanseatic League City Centre

July 10, 2012 at 3:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

Who goes to Estonia?! Well, our roaming correspondent John Walton does and, all this week, he'll be filling us in on what's up way up there in this world capital on the Baltic Sea.

Okay, so we're totally obsessed with the Hanseatic League, the 13th-17th century set of merchant guilds spread across northern Europe from Britain to Finland. If you know what you're looking for, you'll spot the signature Hanseatic architecture everywhere from Hull in England to Helsinki in Finland.

Oh look, here's some now!

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Let's Talk Tallinn: Lauluvaljäk! The Estonian Song Festival Grounds

July 9, 2012 at 3:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

Who goes to Estonia?! Well, our roaming correspondent John Walton does and, all this week, he'll be filling us in on what's up way up there in this world capital on the Baltic Sea.

Welcome—or Tere tulemast!—to Tallinn's Lauluvaljäk, the Song Festival Grounds where every five years over 100,000 people gather for one of the world's largest choral music festivals.

Yes, a hundred thousand people. In a country of just 1.3 million. Imagine a tenth of your country turning up and singing. Not only is that just plain awesome, but this is the scene of a key part of Estonia breaking away from the USSR in the late 1980s. For all the history, watch the fantastic documentary film "The Singing Revolution" by filmmakers Maureen and James Tusty.

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Wish You Were Here: Midsummer in Tallinn, Estonia

July 3, 2012 at 10:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

Happy midsummer! (Or midwinter if you happen to be in the southern hemisphere.)

We're spending midsummer in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, with its nearly nineteen hours of sun. Yes, nineteen. At midsummer, the sun rises just after 4am and sets just before quarter-to-eleven at night. We figured out pretty fast that it's difficult to tell what time of day it is just by looking outside.

Estonians—all 1.3 million of them—love midsummer. It's a huge thing here, like the Fourth of July in the US or the late May bank holiday in the UK, where everyone takes time off and goes somewhere fun.

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Foreign Grocery Friday: The Sovietskoe Shampanskoe of the Former Soviet Union

June 29, 2012 at 5:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!

This week we're in Tallinn, Estonia, and our selection comes from the liquor aisles in pretty much any supermarket east of Germany, west of Japan and north of China: советское шампанское.

That's "sovietskoe shampanskoe", or "Soviet Champagne," and dates back decades to (you'll be absolutely stunned to know) the Soviet era in Russia and northeastern Europe.

And yes, that's the price in Euros in Tallinn's Viru Keskus supermarket. Keeping it classy with our three-Euro sparkling wine.

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Will Skype Booths Be the Next New Airport Trend?

March 31, 2011 at 4:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

Oooh! A possible new airport trend—beyond that of fancy-pants water fountains, this is. PC Mag is reporting that Tallinn, Estonia's airport has installed the first airport Skype booth, where travelers can video chat, from the confines of the terminal, back to their loved ones.

Estonia was chosen to debut the technology because, apparently, it's where Skype began. You learn something new every day...

Just as with regular Skype on your computer or phone, you'll just have to sign into your account using a 22-inch touchscreen, use your Skype credits, and call whoever, wherever, whenever. Unlike with your computer, there's a few extra tech features built into this booth:

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