Last leg of our New Years trip brings our last two days in Estonia. View Pt 1 here.
Day 3 – Happy New Year
Our New Years Eve was spent walking around Tallinn zoo before heading over to the big shopping centre opposite for food, I can think of worst ways to spend your day. The zoo is only a short ride on the bus and the stop is just opposite the entrance.
Me and Nick love a good zoo, now I know opinions are very divided about zoos in general, just today at work we were discussing the many downfalls of captivity. However I just feel simply if a zoo is well maintained and the animals are looked after and look happy then getting a chance to see them close up is a great opportunity and one that we enjoy.
Tallinn zoo isn’t massive and nor is it expensive, entry was only about 5 Euros which was such great value for money. We headed straight to the polar bears which to be honest didn’t have the best of enclosures as it was an older style bar and concrete, however on our way out we did see they were expanding and creating a new large enclosure for them. Both polar bears did seem very happy though as there was a mother and cub, the cub called Nora. We could have watched Nora all day! From playing with her food and smacking it on the wall to constantly trying to find and save her bowling ball from the swimming pool she just looked like she was quite content, playing as a cub would.
Walking around there were plenty of other animals such as tigers, leopards, reptiles, chimpanzees and seals. We said it at the time that it would be interesting to go back in a few years and see all the improvements. You can see the way it is heading from the visitor centre and shop which are very modern and new.
Opposite the zoo was a large shopping mall, we made a quick pit stop before heading back to town for some lunch and cocktails…well it is New Years Eve. A large american style dinner later and a cactus cocktail later and we headed back on the bus.
Back at our hotel we got ready and made our way down to the hotel bar for a cocktail to start the night, Cosmopolitan and White Russian if you please.
Heading into Old Town (in the rain) we had all the best intentions to find somewhere for a quick bite to eat or dinner but this was not to be. We naively thought that somewhere would be available for walk ins but apparently not. Our meal ended up being hotdog from a vendor and pringles, you have to laugh as it just sums us up.
Looking back we should have booked but after a biggish lunch I don’t think we would have been hungry enough for a full 3 course dinner that most were offering. So there we were in the rain sheltered under a small area near the cathedral where the show was going to start, with speakers and a stage already set up for the evening festivities.
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Fireworks!… Happy New Year!
12 o clock came and went with a bang, an enormous firework display and a chime of the clock and 2017 has begun.
After watching the firework display we headed into the main square by the town hall to see the tree all lit up and what events were happening there.
Walking out of the Old town we were greeted with fireworks being let off everywhere you looked just by random people. We heard one person say “this is a good spot” placed a firework down and stepped back 30 cm before letting it off. This meant you just had to be very careful!
We headed back to the room a little after 1am, so not too late as there was a few more drunken people around and with a mix of that and fireworks being set off didn’t seem a great idea. Once back in the hotel room we could see all the beautiful colours and firework displays all from the comfort of our room. It was the perfect end as being 2 hours ahead of the UK we could relive New years again!
Day 4 – Hometime
The next morning we were up and ready to pack up our stuff but before we checked out we made a quick pitstop to Old Town once again. At the top was a look out point I had seen on Instagram before we had left called Kohtuotsa Vaateplatvorm.
The platform was lovely and despite Nicks reservations at trying to fit it in as I really wanted to go I’m sure he would agree now it was well worth it. The view speaks for itself.
I could not recommend this spot more, it was just tucked away right at the top of the hill and next to some little shops. We spent a lot of time just watching the train ride around, the ferries come in and the stark differences of Old Town and the rest of Tallinn. The newer buildings seem so grey and no where near as colourful of the traditional buildings of Old Town. We had the obligatory photos with the ‘Times we had’ on the wall and made our way down.
Once down we had one last walk along the small lanes and even spotted some pig window sills which we would have missed otherwise.
We loved Tallinn and it was just the perfect Christmas present to experience another country for New Years. Having the day in Helsinki as well just made our trip even better, as both were just so Christmassy still and had the best atmosphere.