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Õismäe kliinik

Tallinn, a modern medieval town

It looks like a toy city with its spires, towers and medieval charm. Appearances are deceiving, though. With just about 400,000 inhabitants, the town manages to constantly reinvent itself while maintaining its historical essence. The capital of a relatively young because newly independent country, Estonia, has been completely independent since 1991. The medieval buildings mix with modern sites, award-winning museums and a bustling harbour. Decide for yourself which ones you like best, as each has its own quaint appeal.

The Old Town of Tallinn, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can be broken up into two distinct parts, Lower Town (All-linn) and Upper Town (Toompea). A leisurely stroll through both parts takes at least a day, not counting a visit of the various churches and museums. Outside of Tallinn, the unspoilt nature is ideal for hiking, biking or even horse riding. In short, make it a long holiday and take your time. The Tallinn area is worth it. Four NephroCare clinics are prepared to make an appointment for your regular dialysis treatments.

Activities & Sights

The long leg and the short leg

Viru Gate is the iconic entrance toward Tallinn’s Old Town. Its two impressive towers once formed part of the city’s main defence barrier back in the 14th century. From here, most of the sights are within easy reach on foot. The old town with cobblestone alleys, enclosed by the old city wall, tempts to enjoy a pleasant stroll. It is, after all, one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. Due to the mostly intact architecture, the life of days gone by is easy to imagine. Countless buildings unfolding their charm throughout the town are worth visiting. Markets and small shops in the narrow streets offer artsy and kitschy things for all tastes; cosy coffee shops and restaurants are most inviting.

A suitable starting point for a discovery tour is Tallinn’s town hall square. While the town hall dominates the square, its slender spire is one of the anchoring points shaping Tallinn’s skyline. Another is the tower of Olai church. At the time of its construction around 1500, the 159-metre high tower was rated as the world’s tallest building. After a fire in 1820, the tower was reconstructed, measuring 124 metres. St. Catherine’s Monastery, set up by monks in 1246, is the oldest building in Tallinn. In its cellar, an ‘energy post’ invites visitors to recharge their energy and vigour.

Tourist guides in Tallinn jokingly ask visitors: “Why is Tallinn limping?” You will come prepared: because the city has one long and one short leg. This refers to the two streets connecting the upper and the lower town: Lühike jalg (meaning ‘short leg’) and Pikk jalg (meaning ‘long leg’). Try both to get from one part to the other, as both have their appeal. Besides, if you want to get an overview of the city, climb the Domberg in the upper town. Let your eye wander over the city from the viewing platform and decide where you want to go next. A lot of the modern sights are waiting outside the Old Town.

Helsinki – the big neighbour

Eighty kilometres north of Tallinn, right across the Gulf of Finland, lies Helsinki, Finland’s capital. Helsinki’s port, the largest in Finland and the second largest in the Nordic countries, is as worthy of a tour as the city itself. Visitors can go there by boat and enjoy the two-hour trip of time spent on the water. It is a perfect day trip. The cruise offers you some of the most spectacular views on the Estonian two-tier city on your way back to Tallinn harbour.  

Spend a couple of hours in the city, if you have the time. The Finnish capital has an enjoyable maritime feel and mood. Even though its personality is thoroughly Nordic, the town reflects influences from both Western and Eastern cultures. Destroyed in large parts by a fire in 1808, it was rebuilt by Russian tsars along the lines of a miniature St. Petersburg.

Hiking, biking, relaxing on the beach – it’s your choice

Do you like hiking or biking? Estonia’s nature trails will take you through national parks, forests, bogs and along the sea. For example, Lahemaa National Park is just a half-hour drive away from Tallinn. Enjoy its landscapes, waterfalls and manors on wonderful hiking trails during a leisurely day trip 

The trails in the Tallinn area range from easy to advanced; some are even accessible by wheelchair. Several bike rentals in the city not only rent bicycles but also offer guided tours and day tours. Thanks to the flat landscapes and rather light traffic, the area is ideal for cyclists.

If you are a fan of sandy beaches and sunbathing with a fresh sea breeze, you can pursue that to your heart’s content on one of Tallinn’s five public swimming beaches. Pirita Promenade is especially popular due to its breathtaking views of the Old Town. Besides, the well-developed seaside pathways are ideal for walking, biking or skating.

Accommodation

Even though the Russian past has left its traces, today’s Tallinn is prepared to welcome its guests. Hotels of all standards, boarding houses, bed and breakfasts, apartments and hostels are waiting to be booked. Several spa-hotels and two campsites expand the range of possible lodgings. Three NephroCare clinics are located in the city. A fourth centre is surrounded by nature, a short drive outside of Tallinn.

Culinary & Culture

Respect the bread

Christmas fair in Tallinn is exceptionally picturesque and counts among the most beautiful ones in Europe. In Estonia, the most important and most popular festival besides Christmas is Midsummer Day or St. John’s Day. Like many of their Scandinavian neighbours, Estonians joyfully celebrate the night from 23d to 24th June with various traditions and customs. Visitors have the opportunity to partake in the festivities around a St. John’s fire at Tallinn’s open-air museum.

Food is vital to Estonians, which is perhaps why they have such a wide variety of delicacies. From smoked fish to homemade bread to sweet chocolate, Estonian cuisine contains food for every palate. A great part of it is about bread, though. Rye bread is typically black and typically homemade. Most of the locals have their own secret family recipes passed on through the generations. Growing up, a saying young Estonian learn from their grandparents is: "Respect the bread, it's older than you," which sums up the importance of this staple food.

Rye bread accompanies many Estonian dishes or constitutes a main ingredient. For example, leivasupp is a thick, creamy and sweet bread soup. A traditional fermented beverage made from rye bread is Kvass. It might have up to about 1% alcohol after the fermentation process but is considered non-alcoholic. The taste, but it’s somewhere between beer and soda.

Verivorst, made of traditional Estonian blood sausage, is considered the country's national dish. The sausage consists of barley, onions, allspice, marjoram, and blood. It is typically accompanied by butter, sour cream and sauerkraut on the side.

 

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