Relaxed, Rested, and Ready To Sail

By Jane Mountain | July 27, 2013

4612 km so far.

We had a nice slow morning again today, drinking coffee and catching up on work in our little room. We are so thankful to Tiit for allowing us the time to regroup. Staying with other cyclists is great, because it means that they understand that while you are thrilled to be meeting a potential new friend, you also need some time and space to just hibernate, nap, and do the laundry.

I guess we are more exhausted than we thought. These few days have really shown us how much rest we need to catch up on.

Circumnavigating Tallinn

Tired or not, we still wanted to see more of Tallinn. Our sightseeing plan today was based on things we could see outside the old city wall.

First we visited Rotermanni, an area of modern offices, apartments, and shops just east of the city. There were some cute shops selling expensive products…

cheese on sale in tallinn

Some serious cheese.

…and also some interesting architecture.

modern building tallinn

Lovely modern glass and rust look.

The whole area was very quiet today. I guess tourists don’t come here that much.

We then walked on to the central market, which was like an entirely different world. We didn’t see any tourists or hear a single word of English spoken. This was a locals-only kind of place.

mushrooms at tallinn market

Chantarelles are in season I guess.

It is a jumble of cheap clothes, veggies, fruit, and meat. Oh, so much meat. I had to run away from the basement meat hall, the smell and sight of dead animals overpowering me. Outside in the relatively fresh air, we started to feel a little peckish.

We discovered what we think is a local kind of pickle. Instead of being quite soft and pickled to death, like pickles from a jar, the cucumber is still fresh and crunchy, in a fresh dill brine. We had four of these little beauties and felt quite refreshed afterwards.

This lovely woman gave us a free pickle. It was so good we bought four more.

This lovely woman gave us a free pickle. It was so good we bought four more.

At another stall, we bought a fresh round of flat bread, only to discover it was piping hot and filled with melted cheese. Almost burning our hands, we pulled off steaming hot chunks and devoured them. It was delicious.

Surfeit Of Sugar

Next to the bread stall was a fresh donut stall, where they sold only plain, dark rings of fried dough. The back door was open, and we could see the women inside, kneading dough for their next batch. The two donuts we bought were so hot that when the woman working sprinkled them with confectioner’s sugar, it immediately melted into a sticky sweet icing.

Amazing how good a bit of fried bread can taste.

Following our stomachs, we next went on the hunt for a bagel shop Stephen had read about. Just past the heavily guarded American embassy we found it. Turns out they didn’t have bagels at Soorikukohvik, but they do have crepes and donuts. We ordered some savoury crepes and a few more fresh donuts. These ones came hot and slathered in soft chocolate icing.

Chocolate donut, fresh from the oven. Iced donuts are sold by weight.

Chocolate donut, fresh from the oven. Iced donuts are sold by weight.

Another heart-stopping ring of yum.

Tip for travellers: The gap in prices in and out of old town is immense. Meals outside the walls of old Tallinn were less than half the price of meals inside, and just as good.

After this binge, we walked lazily up the hill to the Toompea district, which is part of the medieval city. It’s a tangle of charming cobbled alleyways leading to such monumental buildings as the Toompea Castle and the domed Cathedral of St. Mary The Virigin. These were accompanied by a slew of souvenir shops and some of the prettiest governmental buildings we have ever seen.


Exhausted from our fried and sugary lunch, we found a shady spot in a park at the base of the wall and laid around for a while. But, unlike normal cycle tourists, we were worried about getting our clean clothes muddy, so we didn’t spend much time in the grass. Long enough for a bird to poop on my arm though. Yuck.

Our final tourist stop of the day was the Russian market, which had a similar range of items as the central market, plus an entire section filled with old cameras, war medals, remote controls, tools, car parts, and junk of every description. Surprising that people can make any money selling these objects, which to us look perfectly useless.

I guess I was all marketed out, because this was the only picture I ended up with.

Friendly fella on a Tallinn wall.

Friendly fella on a Tallinn wall.

All this walking led to the need for a 2-hour nap in the afternoon. We awoke feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready for the next phase of our journey.  

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  1. Comment by Diane

    Diane July 29, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Loved it. My before breakfast smile! Day 29 of sunshine here.

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