Everything Counts

By Jane Mountain | July 25, 2013

4612 km so far.

It was a short ride into Tallinn today, but not really a fun one. In case you’ve been reading the last few days, we’ll try not to bore you. It was more of the same. More wind, more traffic, more trucks. Bleh.

We then did a trippy Pocket Earth-guided route which twisted and turned through city streets. There was a beautiful new bike path in the outskirts of town, where there was no traffic, but as we got closer to the centre, the bike path disappeared and the traffic appeared.

This bike path in the outskirts of Tallinn even had road signs.

This bike path in the outskirts of Tallinn even had road signs.

Oh well, as far as city approaches go, it wasn’t so bad.

So far we have been pleasantly surprised by Tallinn. Who knew it was filled with colourful medieval buildings and quaint corners?

building in tallinn main square

I’m a big fan of black paint with red trim.

Using the Happy Cow app, we stumbled on a great place for lunch, Aed Restaurant. It was all organic, the vegetables tasted like vegetables (instead of cardboard as they often do), and they had a whole page of veggie dishes. Score!

veggie pie tallinn estonia

Veggie pie, flaky and tasty, at Aed Restaurant.

Enjoy The Silence

Tonight and tomorrow night we are being hosted by some people from Warm Showers, a touring cyclist community that is set up to allow cyclists to find homes away from home. Our host, Tiit, rushed over from work in the middle of the afternoon, handed us the keys to his beautiful apartment, showed us around, and then went back to work, leaving us with a comfy space to spread out and relax.

It’s so nice to be inside, in a private, quiet space for a while.

No matter how many times we encounter such generosity, we are always amazed. People are so big-hearted and welcoming to complete strangers, and we are lucky to have been the recipients of their kindness time and again.

After quiet time, during which Stephen fell into a solid sleep, and I was kept awake reading the first Game of Thrones novel, we went out onto the town.

Get The Balance Right

I am really enjoying the atmosphere of Tallinn, even though the locals complain that it is overrun by tourists right now.

The twisty medieval streets and abundance of cafes seem to absorb the tourists more effectively than Krakow or Budapest did. There are endless interesting local craft shops (if you like that sort of thing), tiny art galleries, confectionaries, and coffee houses in the old town. Everything is tidy and clean, but not in a Disney sort of way.

coffee shop tallinn estonia

The famous and delicious Kehrwieder coffee shop.

It feels friendly, manageable, and welcoming, like a place you might want to stay for a while. Though I’m not sure I’d want to stay long past the end of summer, when the mercury drops.

As we wandered down one street, I pointed out a sign to Stephen. It had a rose and the initials DM. “Hey, it’s the Depeche Mode bar,” I joked. Seconds later, I realised I was right.

It IS the Depeche Mode Baar.

depeche mode bar tallinn estonia

A whole bar dedicated to Depeche Mode.

My friends and I were obsessed with Depeche Mode in younger days, so it was pretty weird to walk into this shrine to them, where they were playing DM music and the walls were covered in pictures of the band. I felt awkward walking around the empty bar, and was too shy to take any pictures under the gaze of the cooler than cool bartender.

A Question Of Time

In the evening, we ventured over to Bliss Yoga, where Stephen has been trying to set up a class. But tonight, we went just to get our asana on. The class was in Russian, which wasn’t a problem, since the Sanskrit pose names are the same.

The yoga itself was very different from what we usually practice. Much slower, quieter, and less instruction, which meant we each had a deeply personal, calming practice, despite there being a noisy crowd of children in the photo studio (?) next door.

After all this, and a late dinner of Indian food in the main square (which was actually pretty good, if a little expensive) we still had time for tea and a chat with our host, Tiit. He and his wife are currently cycling their way around the world, a few weeks at a time. Just before we arrived, they had completed another leg of their tour, through the Ukraine. Their bike, a tandem, is now waiting for them on the eastern edge of Ukraine for their next chunk of holiday time.

They are struggling with the same decisions we have been trying to make: how to get across central Asia? They will likely try for Iran and Pakistan, though the visa situation for Pakistan, and the security, may be dicey. We are leaning towards a flight, though we are loathe to do it. I don’t want to run out of steam before we get to Asia, where I really want to be able to take our time and enjoy the ride.

By the time we got into bed, it was after 1am. Cities are so exhausting!  

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  1. Comment by Cassie

    Cassie August 5, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Awesome, those pictures are so great. I want to go there! Loved this post.

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