Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Most Underrated Capital in Europe

A lot of bloggers use titles like the one above to lure their readers in, "click bait" if you will, but I do genuinely feel this way about this city, and not announcing it in the title above was merely an exercise to see if anyone might actually guess what it might be before entering the post. Just for the hell of it, I encourage you not to scroll down and to take a wild guess at what city I'm referring to based on the facts below:

In the city I feel is the most underrated capital in Europe...
  1. More than 30 percent of the population of the country lives there
  2. The Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (and rightfully so)
  3. It used to be known as "Reval" from the 13th century until just after WWI 
  4. It gets mighty cold in the winter
  5. It's location on the Gulf of Finland has made it relevant since medieval times
Whether you guessed it correctly or, more likely, scrolled down a little too far and saw the answer anyhow, the city that has recently taken over my imaginary city travel throne is...

Tallinn, Estonia

I love Tallinn like I love pizza - any temperature, any time. Briana and I made our first visit to this illustrious city this past November, and instantly fell in love with it. I've never seen an old town so well preserved, nor a city that was more decidedly walkable. Not to mention, despite covering a rather large area, the main places to eat, walk, have a beverage and indulge in general tourist activities is extremely manageable. In four days, I feel like we intimately got to know the city of Tallinn, and I miss it like I miss an old friend. Needless to say, one day I know we'll return - though perhaps in the middle of summer or the middle of winter. I'd like to see it either blossoming with flowers or with its rooftops covered with a soft layer of snow. 

Each and every alleyway was worth walking down, and that's more than you can say about a ton of other capital cities, especially particular capitals I've visited like Bucharest, Managua, or Manila ( and where it might just cost you your wallet.) But that's the point, whether we were in the bustling Town Hall Square, or taking the long walk out of town to the Kuma Museum, we felt very at home. 

There really aren't very many cities this size that I feel like I could explore for a lifetime, appreciating every nook and cranny. And beyond its physical appearances which have an innate charm, the history is fascinating, for better or worse. Tallinn is no stranger to occupation (both Russia and Germany raised their flag in this city in the 20th century), but they're also no stranger to rebellion, both quiet and loud. That's really only a small tidbit of what makes Tallinn interesting, they've been a city worth of mention almost since the turn of the first millennium. 

The history of Tallinn is one of resilience, which has formed this city into what I can safely say is one of the most pleasant and agreeable on the planet. So, hats off to Tallinn, what I'll confidently call the most underrated capital in Europe. As part of me tipping my hat to the city, I'll show off a little of what the Nikon captured along the way. 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! You can definitely see the resemblance in the architecture. Very beautiful. I've never been that far in Europe before, I've only been to Prague which I feel is also great.

    I'm working on collecting airline miles and credit card points so I can hopefully get to Europe sometime soon! I'd love to backpack across the continent for a few years and this would definitely be a place to visit.