This article is a teacher conference memoir written by Mr. Amar Bahadur Sherma, an ELT from Nepal.
If I am not mistaken, there’s no human being who dislikes travelling. Not only does travelling expand our horizon but also relieves us of our boredom. So, the culture of travelling in the form of vacation is on the rise. Moreover, the question relating to travelling during a job interview or a speaking test of IELTS, TOEFL et cetera has been common.
I’ve recently visited Tallinn, capital of Estonia to present my research paper at an international conference on the theme ‘Empowering Tomorrow’s Teachers’. Since it’s my second travel on the European soil after the UK, I was not that anxious and excited.
Tallinn sits on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, just 83 km south of Helsinki. The city shares a geographical latitude nearly identical with Stockholm (Sweden). This’s a green city, proudly boasting 40km2 of parks and forests with a 2km stretch of sandy beach bordering its bay. If you’re not prone to seasickness, Tallinn is the best holiday destination for you; for it’s a popular cruise destination bringing nearly 500 000 passengers to the town each—more than there are citizens in the city. Thanks to its small size and compact layout, Tallinn is extremely easy to get around.
I spent my first day at the new, modern Nordic Hotel Forum four-star business and conference hotel, which is situated in the heart of Tallinn on Viru Square, just a short stroll from business, shopping and entertainment venues. I was treated to breathtaking views of the sea, old Town and city centre from the terraces of the hotel, which is one of the country’s skyscrapers. My travel started from Town Hall Square, which has been the undisputed hub of Old Town since Medieval times. Historically, it served as a market and meeting place, and was the site of at least one execution resulting from a dispute over a bad omelette. This old town is a must-visit place. The second place I visit is St. Olav’s Church, which, in Medieval times, with its 159m spire was thought to be the tallest building in the world. Nowadays, it just remains as an important symbol of the town.
The third place I visited is Toompea Castle, a wooden fortress built on Toompea Hill sometime in the 10th or 11th century, was probably the first structure in what later became Tallinn. Foreign invaders replaced it with a stone building in 1227-29. Since its early days, the castle has served as the local seat of power for any empire ruling Estonia. In addition to these places, I visited Great Guild Hall, Tallinn City Museaum, Cathedral of St. Mary the Virgin et cetera. Due to time constraints and hectic schedule with international delegates, I couldn’t explore Tallinn to the fullest. Anyway, on the night before my flight back; I along with some high-profile delegates went for dining out and chilling out. We had traditional Estonian cuisine that includes Germanic, Scandinavian and Slavic and some most known dishes include sauerkraut, jellied pork, marinated eel, herring etc. The local signature drink is Vana Tallinn, a sweet liqueur. It’s weekend. Most bustling restaurants were packed. The more noticeable thing was that we had difficulty in finding a table to sit at and watching live football matches in a friendly pub, sipping cognac.
I explored pubs and restaurants on the last night of my stay. I had to do shopping in a hasty way on the day of my flight. I tried my hand at a shopping mall for souvenirs to take back home. Euros and local currencies are used there.
Tallinn, a hidden paradise, is a fantastic place to experience each of the four seasons in all its glory. It’s a short stay, however, it; on the whole, was satisfactory. It really enriched my understanding of western lifestyle, and inspired me to appreciate the monuments, city’s structure, architectural remnant, a fairytale neighborhood of gabled houses, Gothic spires, cobblestone streets, artwork, history, craft, and so on. While at home, I thoroughly felt rejuvenated.