Tallinn Bricks, Biscuits and Yarn

Flour factory, built by one of the Rotermanns in the mid nineteenth century.

Old Gasworks Tower, part of the Tallinn Power Plant (now known as Kultuurikatel – which means “cauldron of culture”) built in 1948. This is a view from inside the chute which ran coal to and from the main rooms inside (chute pictured below)…

…and this is the view from Linahall.

Linahall itself boasts some fine 1980s brickwork, which has been adorned with spray paint so that walking around it feels a bit like living in a Manga cartoon at times.

The birds like it!

The old medieval walls of Tallinn are made of bricks too, but perhaps more striking are the neat rows of earthenware tiles which cover all the gate towers in neat cones.

Walking around the walls, one notices the variety of tiles on roofs…

…many tiles…

…many, many tiles…

Rather more modern are these black, swiss-cheese effect bricks used in the Rotterman district, perhaps to distinguish the newer buildings from the older, industrial architecture of the area.

Re: Biscuits, I was rather taken with this stall at the Balti-Jaam market in Tallinn, where one can buy all kinds of novelty biscuits.

I was assisted by Kaisa in acquiring tasty fare from this stall, as Kaisa speaks enough Russian to say “4 of these please,” which is more than I know. For 62 cents, I got some shaped like mobile phones;

some featuring simply the word “MARIA,” and somehow deeply remeniscent in typeface and biscuit-style of the biscuits I have seen whilst browsing the Huntley & Palmer biscuit back-catalogues online; and some featuring times tables!

There were so many other amazing confections in Tallinn that I confess I did not investigate the biscuits much further than this.

Re: Wool, in Tallinn one simply cannot move without encountering knitted goods and nearly every shop sells “VILL” (Estonian for WOOL.) It is hard with language barriers and when one is so obviously an enthusiastic knitting tourist to uncover much in the way of real truth or in-depth knowledge about such wool or knitted goods. I feel I touched only the very lightest layers of the deep woollen traditions of Estonia in my time there, and cannot pretend to have discovered much beyond the fact that THERE IS WOOL EVERYWHERE!

There is a very talented designer based in Tallinn who has a knitted bicycle in her shop window, and garments inside which excitingly fuse contemporary cuts and designs with elements of traditional Estonian folkwear. I spoke with her for long enough to learn that many so-called “Estonian wools” (like “Scottish Cashmere“) are not in fact from Estonia at all. However, conflictingly, the lady in the wonderful wool shop I found in Müürivahe in the Old Town (which immediately became my favourite) proudly told me that everything I was buying from her was 100% Estonian Vill. I intend to apply for a residency next year in rural Estonia where there are some local wool producers, and where in-depth woollen lore can be gleaned. But for now I came home with these things, more of which soon.

5 Responses to Tallinn Bricks, Biscuits and Yarn

  1. colleen says:

    Such wonderful textures here! Those Maria biscuits are most definitely very similar to Marie biscuits, and have prompted an intense desire here to taste one again. As for those times tables biscuits – a work of genius. And what about the Swiss Cheese bricks???

    Looking forward to the Vill tales.

  2. Caro says:

    Looks amazing. Loving the tiles! I love those roofscapes you get in tiled places. Beautiful.

  3. Jo Spittler says:

    The mittens are great! And what brick finds, too. It is amazing what one sees when one is tuned into a certain topic. Others might have never noticed all this like you did. It is always a shame when things like wool, sights, buildings, places etc etc are “misused” for purposes of tourism / commercial reasons, all the better that you found some 100% local vill.

    The language sounds much like Finnish, doesn’t it?

    I flew there numerous times in my life before my daughter as an air hostess, but always straight back again, I would have loved to get off the plane. The people were always so friendly as passengers.

  4. Annie says:

    Amazing photographs as ever, thank you.

    PS I so far can’t find the sketchbook with the old brick photos 🙁 Still looking though!

  5. Pingback: Lagom

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