|We had read great things about Tallinn, but we knew we were heading into largest town in the country and it's greatest feature is old town, which we have seen dozens and dozens of old towns in our travels. Plus it's always hard to go to the big city after spending time in smaller towns.
So after we arrived and the rain slowed, we of course went to Old Town and the best 'locals' pub, Hell Hunt. And their beer Hele (light) and Tame (dark), was worth a try, or maybe two! Hell Hunt (The Gentle Wolf in English) was a easy introduction to Tallinn.
Our hostel was immaculate and we met some wonderful French women and Estonian brothers. Tomas was once again into a 'what to do in life' discussion with his new Estonian friend and Julia had great conversations about France with her new friends.
Tomas also met a Polish engineer who asked to have his photo taken along the street outside old town. After a lengthy chat they decided to meet later that night for a beer. His new friend wanted to go by the waters edge to drink the beers he had bought. Tomas wondered if that wasn't a bit to far to go. His new friend said it was not too far for him. And Tomas thought, if he can get there in a wheelchair, I can certainly walk that far.
So they chatted about America, Soviet Union, his hometown of Warsaw and everything else. The shock when Tomas confirmed that you have to pay a lot of money for healthcare in the US was palpable. We ventured to easier subjects for a while after that. But eventually Tomas asked whether he felt communism or capitalism was better and his reply 'capitalism is a little bit better'.
As our time in Central and Eastern Europe is coming to an end, it was a sobering thought that for many people with whom we had spoken, who had endured communism and are now living in a capitalist society, that capitalism is only marginally better than communism. But we do know that Tito was revered throughout the former Yugoslav republics and is sorely missed. He was able to balance capitalism and communism, independant republics and national pride. That leads one to wonder, would 'Titoism' be the best system of all? Only time will tell.
On our last day, our new French friends took us in a car (wow, really, a car!!) to the Lahamea National Park outside Tallinn. A great day with traditional food, walks in the woods and interesting conversation. And to cap the day off Julia made us all a wonderful pasta dinner with wine and a spicy sauce, ooops I mean cream sauce!
Thank you, once again, Central and Eastern Europe. We will never forget your charm and hospitality!