Museum of Occupations in Tallinn

Tower in Tallinn

It is our last day in Tallinn. We have planned to visit Tallinn's Museum of Occupations, however there is time for a walk before it opens at 11.

The weather is beautiful, but cold. In the park below the fortress Toompea the moat is frozen, and ducks are lying in the snow, depressed and homeless.

There's a Greek tavern, Syrtaki, near the Nevsky cathedral. We enjoy a cup of coffee and some warmth. The host tries to pursuade us into having a dram or a cake, but we say no thanks.

Well, then he can show us the menu! They have an excellent kitchen, he says, and every weeekend Finns come to eat, and there's a fireplace, he says and points at the fireplace where the fire has died out. Actually the menu does look good, but we aren't hungry, and the museum opens in just 10 minutes.

Bust of Lenin at the Museum of Occupations  

A ticket to the museum costs 20 EEK. The lady at the counter hands us an inventory in English, where you can read about the items on display. There are screens with videos about the different periods, and with the click of a mouse you can choose an English speaker and wind back and forth.

Each video is about half an hour long. They are quite interesting, but if you want to see them all in full length, you need half a day.

History is told with a bitter tone, and one can hardly blame them. It hasn't been easy. We had the same experience at the Museum of Communism in Prague. Today ca. 26 % of the population are Russians, and from being an important group they are now a not so popular minority. Times change.

Car at the Museum of Occupations

During Soviet rule it was difficult to get a car. You had to know somebody, who knew somebody, and if you succeeded, you took good care of the car. There's a 35 year old silvery Skoda exhibited at the museum. It looks brand new. It has never been out in the winter, and if it got wet by accidental rain it was carefully wiped and put in the garage. Next to the Skoda stands a banger, which looks almost homemade.

Lunch at Taverna Syrtaki

We zig-zag through the city looking for a place to have lunch and then agree to return to Taverna Syrtaki in Piiskopi 1, near the Alexander Nevsky cathedral.

We are seated by the fireplace, which heats my back nicely. The Greek onion soup with bread croutons is good. Helle fancies spaghetti, and I get two small skewers with souvlaki, which is tender and tasty. With this a local draught beer. 405 EEK is pretty cheap. Home for siesta.

A Walk and Status

Deatail on City Hall

I go for a walk at four. Helle prefers to stay in the room reading. I pass the city square and walk at a brisk pace, because it is pretty cold. A cup of coffee would be nice, and I remember the café in the back yard, Chocolats de Pierre.

Girls seem to like the place. There must be something about the atmosphere. No matter what, the coffee is good.

Tallinn has been a nice acquaintance. The trip could easily have been shortened by a day, but on the other hand it is nice to have time for relaxation from time to time.

The old town is small and orderly. The streets we haven't walked are few, and we have seen the sights and museums we wanted to see. The most important sight is the city in itself. We had planned to spend more time in the modern part of Tallinn, but somehow it didn't have any pull-effect.

We have met only kindness and have had no trouble communicating in English. People in the service sector speak excellent English, and the young speak better English than their Danish contemporaries.

Estonians must have a talent for languages. Otherwise they couldn't possibly learn Estonian. Like Finnish, Estonian is pure gibberish, although there are recognizable words - like "lifti" for lift.

Sign warning against purse snatchers

We haven't experienced any crime, but of course it exists - see this sign. However pickpockets are probably not Estonia's biggest problem.

Prices are reasonably cheap, if it isn't imports. You get fair value for money when you eat out. Wine isn't cheap in restaurants, but food is, and a pint of beer will typically cost you 40 - 45 EEK, coffee 20 - 25 EEK. Of course you need to add tips, but when you are used to Danish prices, it isn't expensive.

Pizza at Controvento

With the lunch we had, dinner must be light. We vote unanimously for pizza at Controvento's.

The pizza is okay, and the bottom isn't self compacting concrete. We are tempted by dessert: panna cotta with chocolate for Helle, and a good vanilla ice with fresh fruit for me. We finish off with espresso.

Going Home

Wednesday March 25th 2009

We have asked for a taxi ("takso") to pick us up at 11. He is early, so I don't get a before-the-taxi-arrives-smoke. The driver doesn't speak without being asked, but concentrates on driving. Commendable.

The security scanner doesn't say "Beep!" but I'm frisked anyway. I probably just look suspicious.

The airport is new and nice. We have a surprisingly cheap lunch, and there is even a smoker's room with comfortable chairs and decent space. We go to the gate and wait. The holiday is over.