Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Christmas Shopping in Tallinn

Now that I'm living back in Europe I thought to myself where do I want to do my Christmas shopping this year? Tallinn of course! When I told my sisters I was going they made me laugh because I was expecting them to say to just buy them a little surprise but they actually gave me a list of all the thing they wanted! I wasn't planning on that. So all weekend I was running around Tallinn in search of these items and luckily I found them.

Winter has come late to Europe this year. I was hoping for snow in Tallinn so I could take a few good photographs but it wasn't to be on this occasion. Maybe I will return for the Independence Day celebrations in February.

I usually stay at the Old House apartments whenever I'm in Tallinn but unfortunately they were fully booked. Looking elsewhere I was surprised how difficult it was to find a hotel room, even for one person but I managed to find one at the Meriton Grand Conference and Spa Hotel. It's located on the other side of the Old Town near the Parliament building. The room cost only 70 Euros a night including breakfast and is only a 7 euro taxi fare from the airport.

Tallinn was buzzing last weekend. Walking down the streets I heard a whole range of accents but the majority of them were Russian. I discovered there were several Russian tour groups in town and some of them were staying at the same hotel as me. I found it amusing when I spoke to market sellers in Estonian but they all said goodbye to me in Russian. I know I do look Russian, I have Russian heritage but I didn't say one single word in Russian so they shouldn't say it to me. I think once I gave in and replied "paka" as I left the stall.

The Christmas markets in Tallinn are located in the town square and there are also some outside the Viru Keskus (shopping centre) too. The Old Town is full of souvenir and craft shops with Estonian wares and if you can't find what you are after in one of those shops, you can always visit the Kaubamaja. I had a really good look around the Kaubamaja during this trip because I was travelling alone and I didn't have anyone telling me to hurry up. Sometimes it is hard travelling with family because everyone wants to do different things. I know my father hates walking around shops all day but women love it.

I think I got a bit carried away with my Christmas shopping because when the time came to check in at the airport  I discovered I was 6kg over with my luggage. It was the first time in my life I had to pay an excess luggage fee. I couldn't leave anything behind so I had to pay. It's all worth it in the end though.