Sun comes for Independence Day


Important day for Estonian and long day for me. The country has celebrated its Independence from the Russian Empire. I was in the Parliament at the morning to see the flag raising and I stayed for the Parade.

Estonian flag in the Parliament

Estonian flag in the Parliament

Early meeting on Vabaduse Valjak

Rising of the flag in the parliament

Two years, it has been two years I came in Tallinn the first time. Since then I never really stop comparing my current life with what I was doing before. I am not an Erasmus student any more but I keep on participating and animating the association. It gives a special feeling.

In 2010 I attends the Independence Day for my first time, and I remember how hard it was: winter morning by -30°C … I will never forget. But this year it have been also hard, not in the same way due to the warm winter we have, but because of my lack of sleep. I arrived from Tartu at midnight and had many thing to do before going to sleep. Knowing I must woke up before 6am I was really thinking if I can go or not. But I said to friends that I will catch the trolleybus of 6:20.

We had to meet the ESN group on the Freedom square at 7am and surprisingly nobody was there, we joined a group of Estonian students on Raekoja Plats and follow them to the Parliament. The weather forecast screen shown a nice -15°C, I smiled.

Estonian flag raised in early morning

Estonian flag raised in early morning

Many people came and the Parliament courtyard rapidly became crowded. They started the play the national anthem while on the Hermann tower the flag was raised. Note that Estonian don’t applaud after the anthem. After was some speech and again instrumental music and singing. We all got a paper with lyrics but we were not able to sing any single line! It was 8am and children, elderly, students, Estonian and foreigners were there all together. So nice.

Free tea in the Students House

After the ceremony we left the parliament with difficulties, the gate was not design for that much of people trying to get out at the same time but we did. Even if we haven’t found the ESN group we decided to go for tea in their office, maybe somebody will be there to let us in. If at first nobody answered our rings, after 5 minutes someone came at the windows and another opened the doors, we were about to leave for the Mad Murphy’s.

In the Students House

In the Students House

The tutors have organised some typical Estonian dance, and I shown how good I am for it (irony inside). We were not much more than twenty students, and when people decided to leave I preferred to stay in the city in that first shiny morning of the year to walk alone before the parade.

The old town of Tallinn is wonderful

Walking along the city walls

I was really happy to see Tallinn as it is the most beautiful: in the morning light, blue sky and fresh air. I didn’t meet many tourists and that was nice. I didn’t been in the old town for a while and I was surprised to see streets free from snow, it was like my last spring, around may, if it doesn’t snow before, we are going to have a awesome spring!

Medieval wall on the north side

Medieval wall on the north side and Monastery Gate

Beside crossing the centre and see places with a new eyes (Roheline market), I chose to walk along the city wall, I don’t really know them and from outside the old town it is nice to see. I have been on the Towers’ Square from where we have the best view on the walls. A large and snowy area close to nine towers between the breakthrough of Suurtüki street and the Monastery Gate!


With that nice sky I wanted to see the city from above and walk to Toompea, I used the Patkuli stairs that Erasmus students have to count every semester. For those who wonder, there are exactly 157 steps 😉 The principal sightsee was occupied by tourists, I can understand why.

The main seesight point of Toompea

The main sightsee point of Toompea

Parade from Toompea

I read that a parade was taking place on the Freedom square at 12:00 and I realized that we haven’t seen it last time… but we had an excuse: it was really cold! I was on the square a bit early and decided to eat in McDonalds (don’t judge me). From the windows we saw tanks passing. They were all the way from Viru Gate until Vabaduse Valjak! Crazy.

Independence Day in Tallinn

Independence Day in Tallinn

When I went back to the square I became unhappy. I left it empty and I saw it super crowded. It was hard to walk and impossible to find a good place from where I could see all the army and parade 🙁 I stayed on the hill and the snow was freezing my feet, not a good sensation. I don’t speak Estonian then I didn’t understand what the groups of soldiers represent exactly, but I saw they had aircraft, at least five!

In the crowd I recognized one of the Polish students, I follow him and find the group. The parade ended and we we moved to a café to get warmer. After that most of them went to the Academic Hostel and I stayed with three (including our lovely Korean) who wanted to make photos of the town.

Tour with Poles

Linnahall and Baltic Sea

I proposed them to go to the sea side, on the huge soviet construction next the ferry terminals. The Linnahall is closed since a long time but not its roof which gives a good view on the sea and on the city. Covered by snow the stairs were hard to climb for some of us and dangerous to walk down. I actually sledge most often. We had there some childish game: who can jump the furthest (I lost) and who can slide the fastest on the handrails (I lost here also).  This place confirmed to be one of my favourite spot in the city.

Viru from the Linnahall

Viru from the Linnahall

Chocolate and Design quarter of Tallinn

None of the Poles knew or been in the new fancy district of the Estonian capital. Close to the Linnahall it was a good reason to visit it. The district is really beautiful with all its interesting buildings, but what there pleased the most my friends? The Kalev’s shop! We had more time in the chocolate house than in the rest of Rotermann. I had some nice good souvenir there, having fun on the playground with my friend during some snowy morning. This playground has been transport to another part of the quarter to built a new building instead.

Rotterman district

Rotermann quarter and its last construction (center)

Viru centre

Last moment in city, we visit the Radisson Blu hotel for its nice terrace and café. The view on Tallinn is pretty awesome, and for free. They took many photos but I can’t, my camera’s battery dropped after an intensive morning. It meant the end of this long day for me and we could joined Mustamae for a peaceful afternoon.

Photographing Tallinn

Photographing Tallinn

Guillaume Speurt

Guillaume Speurt

French settled in Estonia, I have spent my last years in the Baltic States. I love photography and travelling in Eastern and Central Europe, I write this blog to relate my experiences.
Guillaume Speurt

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