I’m really into walking. Every time I end up in a new city, I can walk for hours, discover new and interesting places, take photos, going at my own pace. But why not take a walk in your own home city? Get reacquainted with the sights, take your time and just enjoy. I was in the city centre, about to go on a bus to get to Hotel Oru, and although I was dragging behind a tiny travel suitcase, at one point I found myself thinking that I wanted to walk to the hotel. And so I did!
Next, I will give you 10 reasons why I think you should go for a walk like I did. Just take some time, and I recommend you don’t take a suitcase with you.
1. The metropolitan bustle at Tallinn’s city centre is a sight in itself. Busy people, trams, buses, cars stuck in traffic jams, glassy surfaces of skyscrapers. All this is suddenly replaced with a much gentler pace once you reach the beach. This pleasant mix of hectic city life and couples walking by the sea, going at their own pace, has a somewhat therapeutic effect to it.
2. A walk across the beach. In the distance, there are passenger ships, Viimsi Peninsula, the towers in the Old Town are appearing from the side of the city. The classic “sprat tin view” opens up on a totally new side, as if zoomed in with a camera lens. The wind’s blowing is making the sea wavy. You get an urge to take off your shoes and walk on the sand barefoot. Practically in the city centre, you can walk on the beach barefoot!
3. Cruise ships are lined up at the passenger port. You just have to look at them. You will start to gaze at them, take your camera out of the bag, and try to capture on photo the size of the ships compared to regular passenger ships.
4. Created by sculptor A. Adamson and architect Nikolai Thamm Jr., the Russalka Memorial is dedicated to the sinking of Russalka, a battleship of the Russian Empire.
The ship departed the port of Tallinn and sank in the stormy Gulf of Finland on 7 September 1893. In addition to the captain, 11 officers and 166 seamen died, among them six men from Estonia and Livonia. There were no survivors. It was only 110 years later that the wreck of Russalka was found during a search launched by the Estonian Maritime Museum in July 2003. The ship had penetrated 30 meters into the bottom mud by its bows, and was standing almost upright 74 meters deep.
You may come across a wedding group by Russalka, as for many (Russian) people taking photos by Russalka is a wedding tradition.
5. Park Kadriorg, which is divided into several different parts, such as the Public Park.
From 1935 to 1940, re-cherishing the park and home culture was deemed to be of national importance in the Republic of Estonia as an expression of independence, dignity, and awareness. It was planned to arrange Kadriorg and the area surrounding it as a whole into a site with beautiful greenery for entertainment events, into a so-called public park. The park was designed for the use of people of different ages and versatile interests, which is the first criterion for the nature of a public park. The surroundings of Swan Lake were fitted with flowerbeds featuring girdle ornaments, and with a sundial; a youth park was built along with an open air concert venue with a bandstand, a fountain, and a rockery (currently the rose hill), and Apollo’s Square with a sculpture.
6. Japanese Garden. The Japanese Garden at Park Kadriorg is a pond garden that also includes a tea garden. The positioning of the rocks in the Japanese Garden is inspired by the roof landscape of Tallinn’s Old Town, and the layout proceeds from a single entry. In the future, the garden will be fitted with gates, a teahouse, a waiting pavilion, two bridges for the small pond, lanterns, basins for washing hands, and other details characteristic of a Japanese garden.
7. Kadriorg Palace. This palace, dedicated to Catherine I and based on the Late Baroque Italian villa type, was designed in 1718 by the Italian architect Nicola Michetti. The cornerstone. After Peter I died, the palace remained the summer residence of the rulers, being under the supervision of the Governor of Estonia. From 1921 to 1928, the palace housed the Art Museum of Estonia; in 1929, it became the summer residence of the country elder; from 1946 to 1991, the palace served as the main building of the Art Museum of Estonia; on 22 July 2000, a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia, dedicated to older Western European and Russian art of the Art Museum of Kadriorg, was opened in the palace.
8. The rest of the museums and sights at Park Kadriorg. The Kitchen House, aka the Mikkel Museum, children’s museum Miia Milla Manda, ranger’s huts, the funhouse, President’s Office, the house museum of Peter I, A. Weizenberg’s Alley, sundial, ice cellar, the Big Wolf Gorge, and when you reach the Wolf Gorge Stream (Hundikuristiku oja), you’ve already made it to Hotel Oru, but don’t stop just as yet, there are two more sights to see.
9. KUMU. Kumu is the headquarters of the Art Museum of Estonia and the largest and most presentable exhibition venue in Estonia. The museum opened on 17 February 2006. In 2008, Kumu won the European Museum of the Year Award. The international dimension occupies a very important place in Kumu’s activities: a half of the rotating exhibitions (a total of 11 or 12 larger exhibitions are held annually in the four exhibition halls) are concerned with Estonian art, and the other half with international historical art and modern art.
10. Tallinn Song Festival Grounds. There are two beliefs about the song festivals in the collective consciousness of the Estonian people. The first one says that in 1869, a nameless rural people sang themselves into being a European people, the other one, relating to the later times, declares that the Estonian people sang themselves to freedom. It was namely in this place that the major demonstrations were held in 1988, demanding an end to the soviet reign, with singalongs in which nearly a third of Estonians participated. Designed by architect Alar Kotli, the song stage (1960) is one of the most outstanding and exceptional of the modern buildings erected in the soviet times, mainly due to its original arc structure. Held in every five years, the song festivals unite thousands of singers under the arc. The largest mass choir has had nearly 25,000 singers. Next to the song stage, there is the 42 m high lighthouse, at the top of which is an observation platform, offering a beautiful view of the entire Tallinn, and a light urn where light is kindled for the time of the song festival.
Was this journey too long with too much (hi)story? But would you believe that the entire walk was only 5.51 km long and took me 1 hour and 11 minutes? How do I know with such precision? Being the lazy Sunday athlete that I am, I combined the pleasant with the useful, switched on Endomondo, and added the pleasant walk among the exercise I’ve done. Two in one 😉
As for you, I recommend that you take the time and also step in the museums, take a picnic basket with you, and visit some of the cafes at Park Kadriorg. Believe me, this will be a walk to remember!