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The View From My Window: Tallinn, Estonia

My view from Tallinn.

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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.

I spent the rest of the day walking around the new town, working in cafes, writing in bars. When I’d want a break I just pack up and move on to the next place.



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Filed under: Estonia, Travel Diary, View from Window

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3717 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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