So it has been more than 3 months. At the beginning it went very slow (seriously – veeeeeeery slow), but now the time speeded up a bit. I still have doubts if I made a right choice (even though I see that I like the city more and more every day) but I blame bad weather, lack of Vitamin D, and the fact I have been sick for the past 2 weeks. But OK, here is the list of love and hate to Tallinn, Estonia!
This would not be a standard list. I will just put categories and the thing I hate and like. If someone gets offended… well… just face the truth ;) Anyways, 3…2…1…here we go!
1. People of Tallinn
- LIKE: I like the fact that people of Tallinn are generally polite and do not speak a lot. Why? I fell a little bit puzzled when they used a long sentence in Estonian while I understood only “Tere” ;) Russian community is more open and since I speak some Russian, that part is all right ;)
- NO-LIKE: Surprise, the fact that people are closed! Really, I have not found as closed society as the Estonians. And yes, I blame Scandinavian culture for that ;-)
2. City of Tallinn
- LIKE: It’s not as tiny as some people say it is. I heard a lot of stupid opinions like “You can get from one side of Tallinn to another using public transport in 20 minutes”. No, you cannot, however 20 mins. is a time needed to get from the center to many other areas. Due to Tallinn’s size, I bet I still have not discovered 70% of the city and I am planning to do it in months ahead.
- NO-LIKE: Except the Old Town – barely no open space events in winter. Ok, it’s understandable – it was -24 degrees Celsius a while ago. More “no-likes” connected to the city can be spread in different categories.
- LIKE: I would say that there is a big supermarket in almost every more densely inhabited area of Tallinn. I live in Põhja-Tallinn and the nearest supermarket and a shopping mall is just 30 seconds walking from my building. If I decided to walk for 10 minutes (or take 3 stops with the bus) I will get a few more. There are also tons of big shopping malls in almost every part of Tallinn.
- NO-LIKE: Some of the malls seem to be not perfectly connected with public transport (e.g. from Põhja-Tallinn you can either get a bus that runs only at working days or you need to get to the center and then change to the right bus). Just an example: it makes no difference if I take a bus or go by public transport to Rocca Al Mare shopping center – it will take 40 mins. in both cases. Supermarkets are usually quite crowded as well, regardless of the hour of the day.
- LIKE: In many places with services people speak English. So far I used the bank, electronic appliances shops, R-kiosk (Yes, I know it’s shopping, but approach here is different) and Internet/TV company. No problems with English at all :) The quality of the services is also very good (I am very happy with my mobile phone and mobile internet, quality of the landline Internet, TV, my bank rates etc.)
- NO-LIKE: Prices. Services in Tallinn seem to be quite expensive. I mean – 15 euro for a haircut is not horrible, though in Warsaw you can get it for 7-8. TV/Internet are also around twice as expensive as in Warsaw. Also utilities are higher than in Warsaw.
5. Public transport
- LIKE: It’s free of charge for residents. At the same time – its quality is not bad and if it’s delayed – it’s like 5 minutes max. (unless we have a blizzard or we have a blizzard and rush hour at the same time – then it can be more). Not so super crowded when I usually go to work (between 8.00 and 9.00 or 12.00 an 13.00)
- NO-LIKE: It’s free of charge for residents. So it can be super-crowded at rush hours and sometimes it’s not comfortable. Some buses and, especially, trams number 1 and 2 seems to be small and there are a lot of people inside for a few stops. Some of the buses and trams are not heated during winter (because it simply does not work). There are 2 more “technical” no-likes: 1. You can find bus, tram and trolley with the same number. This can be confusing to some. 2. Sometimes there are 4 and more stops with the same name in the same area (Warsaw solved it by adding the number to the name, e.g. Dworzec Centralny 03 and Dworzec Centralny 06).
- LIKE: There was an article some time ago saying that Estonia is no. 1 in Europe for expats. Understandable – companies pay well and salary to price relation is really all right. There are a lot of new start-ups too, and some already established ones.
- NO-LIKE: The atmosphere in the office is weird sometimes (maybe I am unlucky though). People are usually very silent and every time you want to say something, you feel like disturbing. People also seem not to like any random jokes. I am thinking of changing my workplace because of that.
I concentrated on 6 elements of life, I bet there will be more in the future. Nevertheless, these 6 gives you some view of Tallinn. It’s really a normal city. I am sure there would be more to do in spring and summer. Also: living in Tallinn is not super stressful. You might need some time though to get used to a different culture. I think that 3 months is enough for a start and I already passed that period. How will it go further? We will see :)
Have a good week ahead!