June 5, 2013

little wooden houses

It was the last place I expected to be heading to on Memorial Weekend this year, but a little over one week ago, after flying the furthest east I have ever been, I set foot on the tarmac of the Lennart Meri airport in Tallinn, Estonia. After a moment of collecting my thoughts, possessions and euros from an ATM, I ambled outside to the taxi line and meet Vladimir, who whisks me towards a town that is beyond foreign to me. His English sounds perfect compared to the two or three words in Estonian I have come equipped with. I have the sense he is taking me slightly out of the way but I really don't mind because I am enjoying taking in the sights and attempting to get my bearings at the same time. He pulls up on the sidewalk and proudly deposits me in front of a hulking, somewhat imposing, Eastern Bloc building. I pay and buzz the front gate. It unlocks and I trip inside a crumbly yet cheerful courtyard with dandelions growing amok, laundry blowing in the breeze, clusters of locked bicycles and colorful painted murals. This time I buzz to get in the building and scale two landings before meeting my air bnb apartment host. We exchange words and keys and she is off, leaving me contemplating a nap, shower or food. I gobble a few of the Oreo cookies she has left in the kitchen while making a cup of tea and deciding to forgo the nap. I tour the adorable, bright, tidy apartment that instantaneously feels like home. I devour a grapefruit that has traveled as far as I have. Then I shower, change and head outside in search of a market with ideas of a home cooked meal and hopefully a bottle of wine.

After wandering through my new neighborhood, Kalamaja, two things happen; I find the market (S√§√§stumarket) and I fall in love with the wooden houses.  Kalamaja translates to Fish-house, which is a curious coincidence to a girl that lives on the edge of a neighborhood in Philadelphia called Fishtown. This section of Tallinn, which is a stones throw from the Baltic Sea was once a home to fishermen and their families. In the late 19th century it was transformed into a factory/industrial area and the wooden houses sprung up like the wild dandelions. Most are now a bit neglected after years of changing government and building ownership, but on me the their beauty and charm are not lost.

scored for less that 20 euro

a simple first meal to celebrate my first night

view from the balconette


Kalamaja Park, located directly across the street, was once the city's oldest cemetery

If you are interested in the apartment I was staying in, you can find more information here. Stayed tuned for more of my adventures in this very special and magical place...

1 comment:

alison hughes said...

Great pictures! So happy you are back! I can't wait to hear more about your trip. :)