Swedish Clefs and Wartime Oompah


I wasn’t joking when I mentioned starting the evening with some light chamber music. I’d considered a night at the Opera – but frankly the Opera House is a bit of a trek across town. Plus the words would be in Japanese or whatever language they use for opera. I’m dead cultured, me.

So instead, it’s music without words – and two trios of musicians offering Mozart, Debussy, Chausson and Schubert in the lovely surroundings of the Swedish church. There are so many churches in Tallinn it’s easy to miss them – and this one is tucked away on one of the many side streets in the Old Town. From the back you can clearly see the traditional church structure, but from the front the entrance looks like just any other house. And the Swedes also have a church school here.

The music is beautiful, and a good antidote for what’s to come. I decide to visit Hell Hunt in Pikk Street – which, despite a notice saying “No Stag Parties” has at least two in it. They’re all good humoured though, and I also meet Jack, who’s with his mate on their first visit to Tallinn.

“Bulgaria – that’s where it’s at mate. We’ve been there several times. 45p a pint. Couldn’t believe it.”

At first, Jack doesn’t seem like the sort of man who would enjoy some light chamber music, but he’s certainly into sightseeing, however grim it might be.

“Warsaw – that’s another cheap place. We hired a taxi driver for £50 for the whole day. He took us to Auschwitz, got us out tickets, waited a couple of hours for us and then took us down a salt mine. Mind you, there’s not a lot of fanny there. Budapest – now THERE are the girls. Wouldn’t touch them myself – they’re all prostitutes.”

I leave Jack to his dark local beer and stumble across some more high culture – back at the Beer Haus.

Stick It Up Your Joompah

It must be getting close to the weekend, as the bar has laid on a live Oompah Band. And the tourists lap it up. One group spends the entire performance dancing and singing along – adding their own lyrics in between the songs. I’m happy to sample three of the local beers, each one stronger than the last.

All it all it’s got to be said that Tallin’s a great party city – if only the weather plays ball. Sights and sounds are best served up with sunshine in my opinion, so I might just have to come back during the summer. And the best thing about a midweek break? The Germans have only just arrived at the hotel – and I’m about to check out.

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