Do you want to know what happens sometimes?
Sometimes you’re on a wander through Tallinn on a sunny day, and you come across an abandoned, falling down old warehouse. And you walk past it at first. But 20 feet further on, you stop. And you say to yourself, “Why not? Do it!” And so you go back, and, checking to be sure no one is watching, you duck into the building.
And you feel kind of nervous the whole time you’re in there, and decide not to climb up a bit, even thought it is very tempting, because you are not entirely foolhardy.
And then you duck back out and continue on your wander.
And it is awesome.
That is what happens sometimes.
When I was in Tallinn, I went to about the most kitschy, touristy place I’ve been so far.
It’s a restaurant at the bottom of the old town hall in the main square. It advertises “worthy elk stew, full of flavor experience”, and its servers are women in middle ages costumes. It’s dark and lit by candlelight. The veilings are low and rough-hewn beams jut out. It’s got Estonian folks music playing. The mugs and bowls are rough ceramics. Classic tourist bait.
And I loved it! It totally charmed me.
It was in part because of the warmth, in part because of the prices (each food item only started at 1 euro!), but mostly because of the woman working behind the counter. She was so engaging and joke-y. (“the minimum you have to pay for your order is 6 euro, but 7 or 8 seems better to me… yeah, definitely 8 or 9. Maybe 10?” or “Did you bring your own spoon there in your backpack, or do I have to loan you one of our precious, deluxe spoons? Don’t you try to steal it!”) Maybe she was just putting on a show, but I don’t think so. I think she just loved joking with people, whether it was her coworkers or tourists. And my elk stew and cabbage pastry and foxberry juice were really good!
I just really liked that place a whole lot.
If you are ever in Tallinn (as I’m sure lots of you will be at some point in your life), go there! It’s in the main square “Raejoka Plats” (which I think just means “main square,” since it was called that in Tartu also), at the bottom of the big Town Hall.
I know, you may be asking yourself, “Why would Karen need to do Science?” and the answer is: there are some questions which can only be answered through empirical testing.
one such question:
How thick/strong is the ice at the edge of this frozen pond by the Presidential Palace in Tallinn?
This is clearly a question that can only be answered through experimentation.
I am not a total idiot. I did not jump onto the ice or anything.
I just pushed on it with one of my feet, as I sat on the edge of the pond. That’s way different.
The answer to the question How strong is the ice? is Not very.
Can Karen react quickly enough to pull her foot up before it gets soaked in ice cold water?
Experimental testing indicates…
This is Old Town Tallinn.
This is where I was standing when I took this picture. Up 247 steep stone stairs.