Traveling slowly in Tallinn

We live in a hectic world. Time is a precious and valuable commodity, and when it comes to travel it’s tempting to try and pack in as much as you can. I’ve been guilty of this, particularly when I lived in Canada where holidays are fewer and far between. Getting to places like Europe is not as quick as a weekend away.

I’ve done a few trips where we moved at an absolutely breakneck pace, spending 48 hours or less in as many places as we can cram in. While it’s great for seeing a lot in a short time, frankly, it’s exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, there are times and places for moving fast, but taking it slowly becomes a completely different kind of adventure.

The best example of this for me has been a 5-day trip my girlfriend and I took to Tallinn, Estonia. You might think you don’t need 5 days to see a small city like Tallinn, and you would be correct. However, can you spend 5 days there and enjoy it? Hell yes.

If push came to shove we probably could have done everything we wanted to in two days, based on what we’d researched beforehand. Having extra time meant we could not only explore a bit more but even give places a second try if we truly loved them.

And let me tell you, we fell in love with a cider. It was a short travel fling, the type that only ends in heartbreak but boy did we take advantage of the time we had together. The cider in question is locally made at the Hell Hunt brewery and pub in Tallinn and it’s simply delicious. We first discovered it at a restaurant and bar called Humalakoda in one of the newer areas of the city and continued to enjoy it wherever we went. Ever since we got back we’ve been trying to find it. Alas, it’s a love that was meant to be fleeting.

The main reason we set out for Tallinn in the first place was for the Christmas market. Set in the Old Town square, it was about as beautiful as the wintertime in a city can get.

Tallinn Christmas Market

Oh and the food, like I wasn’t going to get to that. Estonian cuisine isn’t exactly a worldwide phenomenon but when you’ve been wandering around in the cold for a few hours, boy does it hit the spot. The best meal of the trip had to be at a place called Vanaema Juures, which translates to “at grandma’s”.

The restaurant is located in a little basement in the old town. It’s decorated exactly like you’d picture a Nordic grandmother’s house to be decorated. We had dishes like elk stew and smoked fish that were incredibly like a home-cooked meal. If in Tallinn, this place is certainly a do-not-miss experience.

In the immortal words of Mr. Ferris Bueller; “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Having a chance to take it all in and experience Tallinn properly has made it a favourite of mine. Perhaps if I’d spent longer in other places and taken the time to appreciate them properly, it would have made those places all the better. Oh well, guess I’ll have to go back and try again!

Are you a fast or a slow traveller?

P.S. if you go to Tallinn, please bring back some of that cider. We miss her.

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