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Tallinn

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I have never thought that I would visit Estonia one day.

As much as I’m concerned, “Europe” to me was pretty much Paris, Italy, England and other more-touristy cities – places where a lot of my friends have been, and I know it would be relatively safe-ish if I head back to my apartment early. There are also lots of stories shared among my friends and relatives, so these countries are somewhat more familiar for me. Eastern Europe, on the other hand, gave me a very different impression compared to Western Europe. I always thought that Eastern Europe is poorer, more rundown, more backward and somewhat more dangerous. But in my recent visit to Tallinn in Estonia, I have totally changed my take on Eastern Europe. Tallinn has got to be one of the most beautiful, magical and enchanting cities I have ever been to. And one that I would visit again in a heartbeat, any time!

First and foremost, I am lucky to be able to stay in the heart of the city in Tallinn. My apartment is at Pikk Street which is right in the middle of all the action in Old Town. There are unless shops (both medieval and modern looking ones), restaurants, bars, souvenir stores and beautiful churches all around us. The entire city centre looked just like a theme park like Disneyland! I really couldn’t believe my eyes on the first day when I took a stroll around the city. It was really breathtakingly beautiful!

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The city was full of vibrant colours, the people we met in and outside of the main touristy Old Town area all spoke good English. Getting around within the Old Town was easy because everything is easily accessible by foot. We were there in Spring so the weather was comfortably cool. Just talking about Tallinn now makes me want to go back there right away!

We had a great apartment host who was also a part-time tour guide around Tallinn. She took A and I around Old Town area and introduced the city to us in the short 40-mins tour. She said that Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, looked totally different a few decades ago because it only re-gained its independence from the communists in 1991. It was only in this recent 20 over years when the country grew and prosper rapidly. Now, the city is modern and advanced, and full of happy and friendly people who appeared to really love the Old Town and take pride in what they do. I saw some photographs of Tallinn in the 80s and it was really a far cry from what it is today. With that, I really respect the Estonians for what they have achieved!

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As many of the buildings in Old Town was actually built in the Viking Ages, we also got the chance to see pretty little spaces like this one.

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Other than the medieval Old Town and Raekoja Plats which is the old square in the area (by the way, this square transforms into the most beautiful Christmas markets during Christmas. So if you’re looking at visiting Tallinn around the festive seasons, don’t miss it!), there are a few other must-go sights which are just a short leisure stroll away and Toompea Hill is one of them. In there, you’ll be able to have better knowledge of city and its history. It is also an extremely picturesque place and, I believe, looks beautiful in different ways in the different seasons.

A kept saying she felt like she was in the set of King Arthur when we were there. Hahahaha! (But she’s right lah)

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The view from the top of Toompea Hill was great too!

My favourite part of Old Town, however, is the colourful doors and pretty decorations on the window frames and doorways at every corner I turn. I guess the Estonians in Tallinn must be really happy, how can one ever get gloomy in such a beautiful town painted in pretty pastel hues?

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I also spotted that they were selling me favourite soup. Haha!

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As we were only staying in Tallinn for 3 days and we got in to the city in the afternoon on the first, we only had the opportunity to travel out of the Old Town for a day. We read about the Telliskivi District online and saw some really pretty pictures of the hippie cafes there so we decided to visit! Unfortunately, it was a little difficult to get there because we stupidly decided to walk. Haha! If you looked at the map, you would realise that it really isn’t that far. So if you’re going there, I’d suggest that you grab a taxi or something because it really isn’t too expensive. However, because of all the walking, we managed to look at more things and we even chanced upon a flea market at the main train station! That said, their flea market is really kind of different from what I had in mind though; theirs was a bit more like the thieves market we have in Singapore.

When we were in Old Town, we saw many groups of tourists being led around the area and I believe most of them are only in Tallinn for a day trip from Helsinki in Finland. So if you are in Tallinn and want to take a boat ride to Helsinki, I think it wouldn’t be too hard too.

Ok, as I was saying, Telliskivi gave us an insight about Tallinn – that Old Town is the only place in the whole of Tallinn that looks like it came out of a storybook! Heh.

Although the outside of Old Town is considerably more run-down and less cleaned-up, it is still very charming in its own way. Hippie mah! :p

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And this is the place that you HAVE to visit if you are ever in Tallinn. F Hoone! The food here was mind-blowing and the prices are really, really reasonable! The food they serve over here are really interesting and nothing like what they serve on the other side of Europe. I love the dumplings and the soups they have here in Tallinn. F Hoone totally nailed their coffee as well!

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We had plans to thoroughly visit the Kalamaja, which is a seaside district, one of the oldest suburbs in Tallinn but we didn’t get to see much because it was getting late by the time we were done with Telliskivi. Would definitely want to visit the Seaplane Harbour if I had the chance to. Oh! On a sidenote, we saw advertisement signs for a few Escape Rooms when we were in Kalamaja District. Like Singapore, I think they love their Escape Rooms too. Heh! :p

Tallinn was the first Eastern European city I visited and it really changed my impression about Eastern Europe; it’s too underrated and I think I would want to go back and explore more of Eastern Europe in future if I had the time. Everything is generally much affordable compared to the popular Western European cities, and there is also no branded label shops to steal the limelight away from honest stores who sells pretty hand knitted dolls and sweaters. I took a little part of Tallinn away with me, and it came in the shape of the gorgeous Tourmaline ring with beautiful carvings all around.

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Ah. I really miss Tallinn.

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Written by SIXPEGS

January 2, 2016 at 3:05 am

The Ice Hotel

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“Let’s you and me go away to the Ice Hotel”
This was the song A and I were singing the day we decided that we are going to check ourselves into the Ice Hotel someday!

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Written by SIXPEGS

December 13, 2015 at 8:40 pm

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Of Dog Sleds and Auroras

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If anyone were to ask me which vacation was the best I’ve ever had,
it would have to be my visit to Kiruna and Abisko.

It was a trip of many first-times –
first time on a dog sled, first time seeing the Northern Lights, first time in a snow fight,
first time on snow mobile, first time sleeping on a bed made of ice!

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I was a little apprehensive when A said that we should try dog sledding.
Because I am a worry wart.

What if we fall. What if we fall and we cut ourselves.
What if we fall and we cut ourselves and bleed.
What if we fall and we cut ourselves and bleed to death because we are too far from any help.

But after rounds of persuasion from A, I caved.

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We arrived at the dog pens area where all the dogs were at.
All of them became mad excited when they saw us approaching, it must be because they know they will be getting a good run soon!
I felt quite bad, to be honest.
Because it was like -20 degrees and these dogs look like they are FREEZING!
They looked a little fierce but they are the friendliest dogs around, really.

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Written by SIXPEGS

October 11, 2015 at 11:58 pm

Stockholm & Kiruna

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In 2011 Beijing, it was -10 degrees C, but it did not snow.
In 2015 January, Seoul, it hit 0 degrees C, but no it did not snow. (IT RAINED! Busket….)
2015 February, Padova, there was snow all around on the floor, but I did not see falling snow. *dreads*

2015 is the year I first saw falling snow. And Sweden is that special place.

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My light-chasing trip to Sweden is one of the best vacation I’ve ever had.

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Written by SIXPEGS

September 23, 2015 at 1:45 am

Padova

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My week-long stay in Padova, Italy in January 2015 gave me some of the fondest memories I have in Europe.
A and I took on a dessert making crash course with Manuelina Culinary and it was the best choice we’ve ever made!
(Not an ad ok)
The class was so comprehensive, and we came back totally inspired and enlightened.
We also met some of the nicest people whom we still contact regularly until now.

Let me take you to the beginning of the journey.
The night before the flight – which is always the most horrible night because of the packing
and the anticipation of the long flight (hate long flights) ahead. Pfft!

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It took us 1 transit, 13 hours on Emirates to arrive at Malpensa in Milan.

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Written by SIXPEGS

September 15, 2015 at 10:53 pm

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Winter in Seoul

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My travelogue entry on the Seoul trip is massively overdue.
So without further ado, here we go! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by SIXPEGS

March 16, 2015 at 7:43 pm

Cat x Alpaca x Cat

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And so, other than lavish temples, cheap massages, good food and fancy hotels, Bangkok has more to offer!
A and I checked out three theme cafes in Bangkok and I’m here to share more about what we think of them.

We have heard (or seen) many cat cafes because they are getting so popular these days.
But this one that we visited is one of the prettiest I’ve seen so far!
Other than the cafe section, they also have a retail section, as well as a grooming arm!

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The cats here are really pretty! And we saw 3 (or was it 4) Maine Coons,
and A went crazy because she really likes her cats BIG! Hahahahaha.
But to be frank, the Maine Coons looked really majestic!

The pictures you see above is the usual sight during most of the time.
We were also lucky enough to witness how feeding time was like at the cafe!
The lady with the cat food walked into the room with a tray with all the cat food and went “Party time! Party time!”.

SO CUTE!!

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We had tea and a small bread pudding, it wasn’t expensive at all.

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They had a little glass enclosure that says “Delivery Room”, when we approached it,
we saw 4 little British Shorthair kittens in it. We really loved this place!
We were also tempted to by this t-shirt. Heh! The merchandises were on the pricey side though. :x

The address of Purr Cat Cafe Club is 63 Soi Sukhumvit 53, Khlongtunnua, กรุงเทพมหานคร 10110, Thailand.
In case you want to check it out on your next trip.
It’s in the Thonglor area so I recommend dinner at one of the other nicer restaurants nearby. :)

Thanks to Jayne Tham, we also found out that there is an Alpaca Farm Cafe in town!
OF COURSE WE NEED TO CHECK IT OUT RIGHT!

ALPACAS! They are like, HOW CUTE!

This one is slightly out of the main city area but it’s not too far by taxi.
Unfortunately, they open only after 5pm so the traffic was bad and it took us almost an hour of taxi ride to get there.
It was well worth it though, and you’ll see why!

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It’s a huge huge place – a bit like an open-air Marche style where there are different food stores you can get your food from.
Actually not that much, just 3 different ones. :p
Other than alpacas, who are the star of the restaurant, we also spotted horses, ducks, bunnies and cats around here.
It really feels more like a petting zoo, and we really enjoyed our time here.
It was our first time seeing an Alpaca in real life – I didn’t know they were so friendly!
The whole time I was worried that they might spit at me. Fortunately, nothing happened. Hahaha! :p

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“HELLO COUSIN!”

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I like how they are all looking at the camera. :p

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One word of caution though, this place can be a mosquito-feeding ground at night, so if you prefer dining outdoors,
make sure you arm yourself with an insect repellent or cover up well.
If not, you can also choose to sit indoors where it’s air conditioned.

Alpaca View Farm and Cuisine is located at 11 Soi Ladprao-Wanghin 71, Ladprao Rd, Bangkok 10320.
Do note that they open only after 5pm, and opens till late.
Good to chill with beer and live music! :)

– – –

The last “cat” cafe we visited was…

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TADAH! It’s also a cat ya? Hahaha!
We really didn’t come with the intention to visit this one, but saw it while we were roaming around the new Siam Square 1 mall.
It is really massive spanning across 3 storeys, so we decided to have some tea there.

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It was MASSIVELY pink and Hello Kitty all over the place, I think A also fainted.
(Thanks A, for caving in to my whims and fancies) HAHA!

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They mainly serve drinks and some light desserts, and only savoury item they had on the menu was sandwiches.
I am auntie at heart and need to eat some “salty food” so I went ahead and ordered a serving of sandwich. :)
The food looked really cute (except that pink cake that looks too artificially pink).
Oh, and that aggressively pink whipped cream on our iced chocolate scares me too.

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My iced strawberry tea was served in a Hello Kitty zippy-cup which I get to keep.
Maybe that explains why it costs us almost 40 SGD for that bit of food.
We had to collect the food on our own too. :(

Verdict?
The food was really quite bad.
And we couldn’t bring ourselves to eat too much of that ridiculously-pink cake.
I should have known – heard too many horror stories about the food at Hello Kitty cafes.

And because we are rebels, we did this.

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No offence, Kitty. You know I still love you.

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I forced A to take a picture with Hello Kitty too….

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Declined.

Anyhoos, thank you A for walking into a Hello Kitty Cafe with me.
Now everyone knows you went to a Hello Kitty, you’re not that cool anymore.
HAHAHAHAAHAHA!

This is what our faces will be like the next time we see a Hello Kitty Cafe:

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LOL! And how it’ll be like the next time we see a mega gadget store:

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I guess, opposite attracts ya? LMAO.

Written by SIXPEGS

December 1, 2014 at 2:01 am