It was dull and dreary outside, as I looked out the bedroom window. I was hoping for at least one day of bright, sunny weather while I was here. At least then, I might be able to get a good view from the top of the town wall.
There are only 3 parts of the old town wall that you can walk on: one entrance is near Kooli, at the tower on Vaike Kloostri, the second is at the tower on Muurrivahe and the third is at the Danish King’s Courtyard. Now today, I went to the tower on Vaike Kloostri but it was closed for some reason. Maybe it was for the best, as the weather wasn’t good. So I said I’d try the one on Murrivahe when and if we get a bright day. I think I might have been pushing my luck, with the way things were going with the weather.
So for the rest of the day, I just walked around the town and went to places that I hadn’t been to before, like St. Catherine’s Passage. This is a little alleyway with art and craft shop workshops. It’s home to the St. Catherine’s Guild, housed in the small 15th to 17th century rooms on the south side of the lane. The workshops are set up in an open-studio fashion so visitors can watch the artists at work. I was a little bit disappointed I must admit, as I thought there would be a lot of shops to wander into. There were actually only maybe 3 or 4. One shop had a lot of multicoloured vases and candle holders made out of glass, with a glass-blowing studio there. There was a guy working on different vases etc, putting them into the open fire and shaping them right there in front of you. I bought a lovely orange, green and yellow coloured candle holder.
So after walking the legs off myself, at 2pm I found a Tex-mex restaurant on Pikk Jalg and had Chilli Con Carne. It was sooooo nice and to be able to come in out of the cold and sit down in a warm restaurant and have a hot meal. Heaven. I didn’t think the service was all that good though, as I had to go up to the bar to order food, instead of them coming down to me, as the waiter did with everybody else.
I headed back into the centre again and wanted to buy a few packets of the sweetened almonds. So I bought 3, as gifts for friends. The girl selling them told me that they keep for 6 months, which is good. I also wanted to have a look at some of the art and craft shops on Luhike Jalg. I made it to one or two of them and then dived into a cafe for a coffee. My legs were killing me! Some of the craft shops have these beautiful sort of tapestries made out of silk, that you hang up on the wall. My God, some of them were amazing. The colours ranged from one end of the rainbow to the other, with such a silky touch to the skin.
After my coffee, I wanted to go back to St. Catherine’s Passage, to see what it was like at night time. I had seen a photo of it on an internet site and it looked really pretty lit up. But first I wanted to go back to the viewpoint on Toompea to see what it was like in the evening time. On my way there, it started snowing. Wow, it was great, so atmospheric. It was coming up to dusk, with everything lit up, in old city and it was bloody freezing. You could see your breath on the air. But I love it like this. To me it feels so Eastern European. It always reminds me of when I was travelling in Prague and Czesky Budeovice and it brings back great memories. I was standing there with the snow landing on my gloves and jacket, tickling my nose. I had just come up the steps of the Gate Tower at Luhike Jalg and it started to snow. I carried on towards the viewpoint and there was a lovely scene ahead of me. The street was washed in orange from the streetlamps and flecks of white were drifting down from a fathomless sky.
St. Catherine’s Passage was my next port of call. It is pretty lit up at night, with 2 restaurants on the same street. I took a few photos and because I was starving at this stage, my tummy led me to the menu of the Peppersack restaurant behind the town hall. It looked quite appetising and I saw something on the grill menu that sounded mouthwateringly-good. I went in and all the waiters and waitresses were dressed in medieval clothes and I liked the atmosphere in there. They showed me to a table and I told the waitress what I wanted, which was the pork fillet. She told me that was on the grill menu downstairs and she said I could down there if I wanted to. So I did.
The pork fillet came with bacon potatoes and barbeque sauce. It sounded lovely and it actually came with a salad. So that included my greens and veg, which I don’t eat a lot of, well not greens anyway. The whole meal was delicious, the nicest I’d had so far. It cost 280 EEK, including a glass of wine, which was the equivalent of 17.8 euros. A bit pricey for Estonian standards, but it was worth it.
I didn’t want to go back to the hotel yet, so I decided to go to the KehrWieder Cafe on the main square. It was recommended by one of the guidebooks and it definitely is a cozy little cafe, underground, with little nooks and crannies and arched ceilings. There were a few people in the main room playing a guitar and singing songs, which was nice to hear. The atmosphere was relaxed and warm and comfy. I left after I’d finished my tea and rum and realised that I’d left my hat in there. So I went back in but couldn’t find it. One of the waitresses came over and said “Did you leave a hat behind?” I said I did, so she went to get it. She had kept it behind the bar for me which was very good of her. I got my hat and headed back to the hotel at 9.30pm.
As I said before, I was hooked the first night I arrived and saw Raekoja plaats at night. This city totally drew me in, especially at night time. I couldn’t stay away from the place at night. I love exploring cities and towns when it gets dark. It’s like it takes on another personality.