My view from Tallinn.
This is the view from my window in Tallinn, Estonia. An old can collector is digging in a dumpster down below, the art-ified towers and decorated rooftops rise above. I am staying at a nine euro hostel in a building that’s hundreds of years old. The toilet is really in a closet like was once common (the term water closet didn’t come from nowhere), and the property kept the old-style commode for the novelty, apparently. There is a sign on the door proudly proclaiming that the bathroom is from the 19th century — and a funny-man could say that from the looks of it it hasn’t been cleaned since then and not be too far off.
I had a good feeling as I walked into Tallinn from the bus station on the edge of town. The sun was shining, the breeze was warm. I removed my coat and went into a supermarket, Led Zeppelin was playing over the intercom, I found some two euro pre-made noodles and a one euro thing of Greek yogurt, and ate them while continuing my walk.
Sometimes you come into a place and it just feels good. You don’t have this feeling every time you come into a new place, it just hits every once in a while. I have no idea where it comes from, I can’t came plan for it, I can’t predict it, but when it hits it’s for good as I will always have it when entering the place forever on after. Hong Kong is one such place for me, Almaty is another. Taizhou Jiangsu, for some reason, is a third.
The old town of Tallinn was also completely converted to tourism, but it was of a different sort than Riga. Where Riga had this mono-culturalized, international brand of tourism, Tallinn was extremely localized — people in costumes, buskers playing peculiar local instruments, song and dance troupes all decked out in storybook Estonian fashion. I walked through the old town once, smiled at the tourists taking photos of themselves and dining at highly-stylized, severely overpriced restaurants, and figured that was enough.