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Saturday, June 22, 2024
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Guns & Butter: Tallinn, Estonia Travel Guide

Tallinn Estonia Travel Guide is part of the Iraq Homecoming Trip Report.


TPOL’s Guns & Butter Travel Guide is the best way to see as much as you can in as little time as possible. Here’s how it works – A trip is composed of two factors: Labor And Lazy. The opportunity cost (what is given up) for relaxing and being Lazy is gained by being adventurous in the form of Labor and vice versa. The guide includes inefficient activities i.e., tourist traps that should be avoided and aspirational activities that are worth doing but may be impossible to see given the constraints of time and resources.


There are places in the world made for partying. Tallinn is one of them. But there’s more to do than that.

a manhole cover on a cobblestone road
Get your mind out of the gutter. See the sites.

Walk Around

The best activity in Tallinn is walking around the old town. I have said this about many towns in Europe because it is true (see Astray in Old Town: Great Places to Get Lost). The adventure that awaits is anyone’s guess. The result is always the same: pure joy.

a stone towers with red roofs

a stone alleyway with buildings and graffiti

a building with flags on the side of it

a street with people walking on the street

Weather

Tallinn in May is still chilly. It drops down to the low 40s at night. Drink accordingly.

a statue of a dog on a sidewalk
Or buy a fur coat.

Bars

Tallinn does not fall short when it comes to bars. Rule #1, as always, is to avoid bars in the city square (see Don’t Pay $30 for Tacos). Prices are higher and tourists abound.

a brick square with a tower in the middle

a group of people outside a restaurant

Hell Hunt

We started our adventure at Hell Hunt. The first beer was my standard favorite, Leffe. The second was a crisp house lager.

a building with signs on the side of it

a glass of beer on a table

a room with pipes and lights

TPOl’s Tip: The address is Pikk 39, 10133 Tallinn, Estonia.

Dinner

I was looking for Estonian food. I walked by a seafood restaurant, glanced at the menu, then carried on. I double-backed when I glanced in the window at a patron’s plate. What followed was a culinary experience of caviar and shellfish. Coupled with champagne, it brought me back to the high life of Cathay (see Seafood in Estonia: What a Treat).

a bottle of wine in a bucket with two glasses of wine

a plate of seafood on a table

a plate of food on a table

TPOL’s Tip: Nautilius is located at Pikk 36, 10123 Tallinn, Estonia.

Pikk

No tourist traps on Pikk street.

a brown sign with white text

Cannabis

I went to a coffee shop for late-night espresso only to find that it was a cannabis shop. I was surprised to learn that marijuana is legal in Tallin. It’s legal to smoke in public. I stuck with Lavazza.

a counter with a display case and a sign

a glass of coffee on a plate on a table

TPOL’s Tip: If you’re going to smoke, save your receipt from the CBD store in case the police ask where you obtained your sticky icky.

Karaoke

TPOL is an overnight celebrity in Tallinn. After this perfect rendition of Paradise City, I had to leave the bar and ward off the paparazzi.

a sign with a couple of images of a man and woman

a group of men sitting in a restaurant
Where’s TPOL’s photo?
a television and a man on a wall
Here I am! Note: They love singing old folk songs. Learn those if you want to make friends.

TPOL’s TIP: Satumaa Karaoke is located at Viru tänav 4, 10140 Tallinn, Estonia

Bar Hopping

After that it was onto bar after bar.

a tall glass of beer on a table

TPOL’s TIP: Drink Bar & Grill is located at Väike-Karja 8, 10140 Tallinn, Estonia.

Most bars were the same but one stood out: Sigmund Freud. Here, the mixologist made a lovely gin-based drink with my favorite liqueur, St. Germain’s. But that was not the highlight. The highlight was the pickle shots.

a sign on a building

a menu on a table

a bar with many bottles and glasses

a group of glasses on a table

Clubs

If you want to stay out past your normal bedtime, Tallinn has many options. Venus is the one in the guides, but Hollywood had the longest line that night.

a group of people standing around a fountain in front of a building
Probably too old for this shit.

Sushi 24

I tried to have some late-night sushi, but the demand was too high. The wait for takeaway was 40 minutes.

a sign on a sidewalk

a building with a flag on it
Walked home instead.

Day 2

The best part about visiting Tallinn in the spring are the long days. This makes waking up at 4PM acceptable.

a street with people walking on it
7:30PM

Pho @ Tartar

On Day 1, I walked by a restaurant and observed happy people drinking wine and carrying on. The sign said kook and bar. I later figured out that kook meant kitchen and not crazy. Having said that, it was madness that an upscale restaurant that was not solely Vietnamese could deliver on pho (see Pho-usion in Estonia).

a bowl of soup and a bowl of food

View from Above

Walk past the gates of old town, past the tourist trap square, and then head up the road until you come upon a small fountain with a deer. Now, look up. That’s where you want to be. How do you get there? Go left and take the cobbled street past the parliament and go right.

a stone wall with a building on the side
Parliament

You will first see a church, make a right.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn with a domed roof

Walk past the Mexican consulate on your left.

a sign on a wall

The first right takes you to the observatory for some stunning views of Tallinn.

a city with red roofs and trees

a rooftops of a city

TPOL’s Tip: Be on the lookout for solo travelers Vista Pimpin. The line, “Do you want a picture? Isn’t this view beautiful?”, is a weak pickup line.

Hell Hunt

I couldn’t get enough of Hell and went back for a Hoegaarden.

a black board with white text and bottles of alcohol on the wall
Many Estonian craft beers are available.

Dinner

Caution: The sun may not go down, but the hours pass and restaurants close. I did not make it to another Silver Spoon as I would have liked. I ended up at a nice Portuguese restaurant. The atmosphere in the bunker was better than the food. The wine was just right.

a group of people sitting at a bar

a bowl of green olives and a glass of wine

two men holding wine glasses
In Tallinn, you may even run into a fellow UMich grad.

TPOL’s Tip: Tasca Portuguesa is located at Olevimägi 3, 10123 Tallinn, Estonia

Restaurants Recs

I received the following restaurant recommendations from the Silver Spoon creator, but did not have the time to go to them:

  • Rado: Vene 7, 10123 Tallinn, Estonia
  • Lee (Local Food): Uus 31, 10111 Tallinn, Estonia
  • Guru (Indian): Aia 10a, 10111 Tallinn, Estonia
  • Noa (Local Food. Requires a taxi. Great view of the city from across the sea): Ranna tee 3, 12111 Tallinn, Estonia

Freud’s

Wanting to understand more about my oral fixation, I returned back to Freud’s for more pickle shots and mixed drinks.

a drink with a paper clip on it
I left my UMich date for Tinder.

Club

Right across the street was a nightclub where the hours flew by. No pictures were taken.

Shawarma

Under the influence, I made a stop at the shawarma shop. It’s delicious minus the heartburn. No photos were taken.

Day 3

KGB

I know what you are thinking. TPOL didn’t do anything of cultural significance in Tallinn. I would disagree citing that drinking is the best way to make friends anywhere in the world (see Ganbei! The Guide to Making Friends). For the sober among us, I have an experience that you will enjoy. I went for a tour of the hotel which was used by the KGB to spy on persons of interest (see The KGB Hotel in Tallinn: Someone’s Always Watching)

a large building with windows

a white door with a logo on it
Translation: “nevermind, nothing.” As in nothing to see here.

a room with a desk and a table with a mannequin in uniform

a wooden desk with a metal tag on it
The desk says property of KGB. Worst kept secret.

Delayed Flight = More Food

Since Air Baltic canceled my flight to Vilnius (see airBaltic: Great Flight When It Finally Takes Off), I found myself with unexpectedly more time in Tallinn. Unprepared, I went for Italian food at Restoran Controvento. I spent too much on lunch by ordering a bottle of wine, 2 dishes, coffee, and dessert.

a pizza with pepperoni and basil

a plate of spaghetti with sauce

TPOL’s Tip: I don’t have the solution for staying healthy on holiday and not breaking the bank (see A Holiday of Healthy, Tipsy, & on Budget? Basically Impossible). But coffee in a restaurant? Always a no. Dessert? Definitely not. It all adds up in money or calories or both.

TPOL’s TIP: Restoran Controvento is located at Vene 12, 10140 Tallinn, Estonia

Overall

Two nights in Tallinn were plenty.

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