Last time I shared with you my arrival and all the tiring but necessary paperwork that followed. Since then I was able to settle down a bit. Figure out the basics of living and getting around Tallinn. So I think it’s about time to let you know something about the place where I live now. My Erasmus takes place in Tallinn, the capital as most of you probably already know. The city is home to about 400k people which makes it a little bit bigger than Brno. Actually the entire country of Estonia has about the same population as Prague. That is kind of funny for us from Czech Republic as we are mostly used to be on the other side when compared to other world cities like LA or London.
Arriving to Tallinn by plane from Oslo was kind of depressing experience. Unfortunately I don’t have useful image but the entire city looked like giant socialistic housing estate from above. Pretty gray and apartment blocks everywhere. The weather during my arrival probably didn’t help much. I just hoped I will find something brighter looking in the city later.
Fortunately I was right, at least partly. The historical city center is really nice and has well preserved medieval architecture and atmosphere. But that’s not where I live. The city center was pretty much out of budget, unless very lucky.
Obvious choice for the accommodation would be dorms at the university campus, but I found them a bit too expensive in the first place and also the spots there were gone pretty fast. I contacted the other student from my faculty that was going to Tallinn as well and we went on a hunt for some shared flat. Fast forward couple weeks and we arrived to our new home in Lasnamäe district on the eastern edge of Tallinn.
There are two things you need to know about this district. First, it’s the most populous of districts in Tallinn with around 100k people living there. The second being that most of the inhabitants are russian speaking. I discovered that myself when shopping and trying to find something and asking the shop assistants for help with words in Estonian on my phone. Sadly the assistants had no idea what those things in Estonian are.
No matter the language this district exactly fits into the image of the city that I got from the plane. That was little bit sad discovery but at least it is close to the city center and also to the sea. As you can see on the map, I live in sub department called Sikupilli.
Sikupilli and my house
There is nothing special so far about this particular part of Tallinn. It’s close to the center and close to the airport. It has small park with a little lake where it will be possible to run when weather gets better but other that that there are only apartment blocks everywhere.
In one of them we found a place to call home for next couple months. As you can see it’s nothing shiny or happy looking but it will do it’s job. Frankly it will have to. On the positive side there is mid sized grocery store right at the front door. That makes supply management simple. And that in turn makes happy myself.
Living place and flatmates
Here I live in shared apartment, where 7 people live. I share a room with Juraj, who came from my university as well and in the rest of the rooms lives one swedish guy, spanish guy and 3 sort of local people. As you can see weshare kitchen and bathrooms together. So far everything works well.
The flat itself is located at 3rd floor of the building. It’s quite old one from the soviet era with no elevator. Also one thing that really irritates me is the heating. For some reason the radiators don’t have any regulator at all. If there would be central thermostat for the apartment it would be fine, but there is none. As a result of that the heating is on max all the time and surprisingly for north of Europe I am dealing with too hot conditions more than with cold. I asked other friends here that live in private places and it seems to be quite common thing in those buildings.
About the room, I would say that there is nothing special. It is just simple room with beds, small tables and closets. Unfortunately the view from the window is quite boring as there is another apartment block right in front of ours. That’s quite difference compared to home, where I have view over the entire Labe river valley.
Nearby public space
Mostly there are apartment blocks all around with couple shopping centers in between them around here in Lasnamäe. There is quite big lake Ülemiste järv to the south, but it’s fresh water source for the city, so you can’t get close to it. On the other side there is small park with smaller lake to the north. It’s called Pae. It seems to be newly renovated when they build there the new municipality police station office. That’s the office I went to for the living place registration.
The park itself has a trail around the lake for running and cycling or skating. I haven’t seen anyone being active there so far, but that might change when spring comes into Estonia in about a month or so. From what I’ve heard there should also be swans on that lake, but so far it was frozen so they were gone elsewhere.
Further north, crossing the Laagna tee, main exit road from the city, you leave the Lasnamäe department and enter Kadriorg park. This park is much bigger and I hope it will be nice place to be out to study or relax once it’s warmer. So far I know there is small arboretum inside, but when I was there the plants were all hidden under the snow. The park leads you all the way to the sea, where you can watch the ferries arriving and leaving Tallinn port. They are taking travelers mainly to Helsinki, Stockholm or St. Petersburg.
I wasn’t sure how to aproach this post, but a lot of you wanted to know how is the living here so here it it. For those that are more interested in some trips related info I can promise it’s coming soon. I’ve been to couple places near by Tallinn to explore the nature as well as in Helsinki. In about a week some of those will be out. Until then over and out.