Bird is the word!

If you find yourself these days in the Old Town of Tallinn around 4 in the morning I suggest you to sit on a bench for a while. Why, you ask. I assume you probably are not an ornithologist, but you may have a piece of romantic soul to appreciate that moment. First you hear the engine of the passing car (Oh, come on! Try a little harder). Than you catch some noises of the most persistent Englishmen that are trying to find their hostels after great party. And boom! Suddenly you are able to hear ultrasounds! You realize you can hear the birds singing. Isn’t it magical? To make this moment even sweeter you can look at the sky and admire the stars (I never did that, I avoid sugar).
If you’re not a night owl, but an early bird (a bird idioms! Coincidence? I don’t think so…), then you may prefer Kadriorg Park. The birds start their performance pretty early, around 5-6 p.m.

By the way…
Did you know that the swallow is the national bird of Estonia? Well, now you know.

Strange, since September I haven’t seen a single swallow. No wonder I’ve seen a lot of seagulls and crows instead – it’s a seaside town.

by Monika

That one is creepy! Discovery of a leg is quite enough for one day, even if it’s doll’s leg. Yeah, it seems like that crow say: “Wat are ya lookin’ at, eh?” So, I’ll just go back home… Yup, great idea!
Not only lack of swallows concerns me, but also relatively small number of pigeons. I mean, I don’t complain, but still I find it rather strange to not see any pigeon in a town square. No worries, I managed to find one in a Russian market. I imagined it differently, though.

Can you see him? He’s pissed, don’t mess with him. Mr. Poopet doesn’t like you. And don’t even try to scare him. He was trained by Royal Air Force soldiers. He’s very…ekhm precise. Just give him your muffin, don’t argue, just do it.

Apparently, I’m not the only pigeon’s “fan”. Aivar Simson, Estonian artist likes them so much, that he made about 50 concrete pigeon’s sculptures and located them in the city center. The idea was put into effect in 2005. Each one weight about 300-400 kg and is about 50 cm high. Where exactly they are located? Well, that’s my task to find each and every pigeon! I’ve seen maybe about 20 so far. 30 more – can be done.

Aren’t they cute?
To be honest, my first thought was “What the… What’s that?! I almost walked into this…” And then I recognized the shape and I was sure it was a swallow. Big fat swallow. But now I have confirmed information that those are pigeons. Big fat pigeons.

Still cute!

by Monika

Advertisements

THISCLOSE

In spite of the annual autumn depression I found several reasons to be thankful for.

I live in a magical place that I can discover every day anew and still be amazed. I share my four walls with people who bring smile on my face. Every single day I get enough sleep (or more!) because my duties call me in the afternoon. Sweet, isn’t it?

The weather these days is surprisingly pleasant. I was told that last year in November it was wintertime here, but this year, fortunately we are still blessed by autumn.

I like to sit down with a cup of coffee next to my notebook and see what’s new in the humble circle of my noble facebook friends (elite club, indeed). This is exactly what I did that memorable day:

I made excellent coffee in a new and already hated cup. I had big plans for it. An extraordinary inscription, or let’s go crazy – a drawing, made with acrylic paint. The very idea of change it into a masterpiece gave me energy and filled my head with concepts. This mug was made for higher purposes, but apparently it wasn’t supposed to complete its destiny. All the coffee landed on the keyboard. Obviously it didn’t happen because of my clumsiness, but instability of the cup. I thought it was the end. Not the end of the world, but… THISCLOSE! After spa treatment (see: drying with hair dryer) the notebook still works. In such a moments a men cry. With happiness!

During writing process I realize that my “thanks list” is longer than I assumed.

If I can’t have any pet in my place I decided to buy a plant. I’m so glad it’s alive. What more – it’s growing! From the very beginning I knew we gonna like each other. I just looked at that charming collection of leaves and I know I was staring at Sir Harold.  I like to think that my attention and care made him strong and healthy. I don’t care, when the other says it’s very, VERY undemanding ficus…

Sir Harold

Party Hard!

Tallinn is home to approximately 40% of Russians. If Estonian is too difficult to learn for you, try Russian. It’s very helpful to know it especially outside the center.

Evening in the cinema with friends is not a problem since English-language films have Estonian and Russian subtitles. Restaurants and pubs offer menu translated into English.

I’ve noticed here huge plaques, due to the fact that the inscription is usually at least 2 languages: Russian and Estonian, and sometimes also in English. What surprised me, I found the inscription in Polish, but from what I understand the translation was rather unfortunate.

Estonian is a mystery to me… I rather rely on symbols and signs. Thus, scissors mean I found a hairdresser. Or a tailor. So either I’ll have a great haircut or a new sharp outfit. I only hope that scissors won’t turn into 2 knives and the tailor into butcher.

Tip #1: Beware! Living in a foreign country without knowing the language causes deep wrinkles. Every single time I don’t understand a word I smile.

Tip #2: Never drink with Russians. I mean it.

Imagine this: you wake up at supper time, if you’re lucky to recover so soon, of course. You have difficulties with opening your eyes. Your body hurts as if you were hit by a tram. You are hungry that you could eat a horse, but even thinking about food makes you feel sick. There are no such cosmetics that would help you at least remain a human being. For the next hours you are a shadow. Then the torture begins… You find out what happened last night, minute by minute. Mind blown!

This is a hypothetical situation, obviously… To sum up, it is interesting experience.  I mean, from what I only heard.

First Sight

Since I’ve decided to choose Estonia to live in for a few months, I thought it would be fantastic to know it better. Probably I will never manage to become a local, but dammit, I’ll try!

I’m here for two months and still haven’t seen all of what Tallinn has to offer. However, I’ve already found some places that I like to call “my favourites”.

It may sound like a madman speech, but as a woman I’m familiar with the art of reading maps. It saved a lot of my time, when I got lost discovering that charming area. It’s worth to remember: a precise map is priceless…

After some time I felt so comfortable that I didn’t even bother to take the map with me. One day I met truly nice New Yorker who missed his train and asked me to show him the city from my perspective. Kinda hard task, since he had already seen it. We decided to have a cup of coffee in order to wait until it gets darker to see the beauty of Old Town at night. Long story short: he needed to show me the way back, because I got confused. What a fail! But it was just for your information, got it, right?

That gentleman also had an interesting observation about the view on the Old Town from the terrace. He imagined that in such place Margaret (from Bulgakov’s masterpiece) was flying on a broom.

The next photo contains 5 elements that are close to my heart. At first glance there is nothing special in it at all. But it takes one moment spent there to understand it well.

(1) The picture was taken in a small, but cute park I like to visit.

(2) Starting from the bottom of the picture – there is a sculpture of a man without any particular name. I saw it for the first time in the guidebook that my friend gave me as a gift for my trip. My first task was to find it and surprisingly I did. But what is interesting, I found it by a chance. That man has a huge foot comparing to his head. With my friend we came up with a story that fits best to this anomaly. We decided it’s not perspective that makes it so strange, but… It’s a midget ninja assassin, killing some guy (yeah, my creepy imagination). That seems to be realistic somehow…

(3) A little above you can notice very small bridge. What you may not see is a swing. I don’t know who made it, but I would like to hug him and thank for so much fun I had there! Well, since I’m tall I have literally high demands for swings. Honestly, that piece of wood and the rope is made for me!

(4) At the top of the photo there are terraces – excellent viewpoints to admire the Old Town or to think through the meaning of the life.

(5) Above the bridge there are some threes that perfectly hide a path I like wander unnoticed. If you don’t believe me, than check it out:

I told you… More faith in me!

by Monika

It’s just a massive concrete. I was told it’s a heritage from Soviets. Somehow it seems to be monumental. It’s huge and ugly. I have no clue why I do like it. It’s not the first time when ugliness attracts me. The finest example is Polish city Łódź, but maybe some other time about it.

Maybe the key to this issue is a dual contrast. From the one hand the beauty of the city and its modernity, and in opposite side the splendor and the power of the sea, the overwhelming sound of the waves… Dunno.

to be continued…