Pirita Promenaad and Beach
Pirita is one of the biggest suburban areas in Tallinn and it spreads along the city’s Eastern coastline. It continues East-wards from the Kadriorg district, which means that it is a very wealthy area with amazingly beautiful and colourful private houses from huge manor-like houses to wooden “replicas” of small castles with turrets and towers. There also lies the Kadriorg Palace and the gorgeous parks surrounding it. The area is well worth a visit, but because it is on the opposite side of the city from the Old Town 90% of the tourists never visit the area. I am not complaining though. It is much nicer to go for walks there when you don’t have to dodge photographing tourists every other step. The weird part is how between two of the richest districts there is the poorest and the most horrendous district in Tallinn: Lasnamäki. It is the “Russian district” where you do not want to venture. I had to get my ID card from a police station there and that was quite enough of Lasnamäki for me.
The area that intrigues me the most in Pirita is the beach and the promenade that goes along it. Tallinn has many sandy beaches but Pirita is the biggest one. It goes all along the coastline all the way to Viimsi and my favourite restaurant, NOA. This area literally draws me to it. If I’m having a bad day at work I spend my lunch hour to walk to the Pirita beach just around the corner and listen to the waves for a minute or two. Nothing calms you down like the sound and the smell of salty sea. In the evening or during weekend if I have nothing to do I get my running gear on and walk along the Pirita promenade sometimes for many more kilometers than I planned to. It is just such an invigorating place that sometimes instead of walking I even break to a jog, which is unheard of for me for years. The sea and the beautiful views have that effect on me though, I just go nuts. And as I once texted my family on one of these occasions “When the surroundings are like this even the laziest person goes jogging… gladly!” On Saturday mornings in the want of air I can just go and sit on the huge rocks close to the harbour and watch the cruise ships come and go. Who needs yoga and happiness-courses when you have all that!?
If you’re not interested in walking back and forth aimlessly the Pirita Promenaad offers some sights as well. There are all sorts of modern sculptures along the way and also a hideous concrete structure that competes with the Linnahall for the mantle of the Ugliest Construction in Tallinn: Maarjamäe War Memorial. Just huge bulks of concrete thrown in a heap to form a… I don’t even know what the whole idea has been in the first place. It offers a view to the sea, definitely… But surely the pillar was enough of a memorial. Also across the road right opposite the Memorial there is something that was apparently meant to serve as a bus stop, alos built by the Soviets. Two big concrete slabs supporting one more thick concrete slab. And where the bus would have stopped they built a concrete wall between the stop and the bus… I’m not quite sure if the Soviets meant for people to climb over the wall to get on the bus or just walk a few hundred meters to get around it but on the other hand I don’t know if I really want to understand what went on in a Communist architect’s head.
For me Pirita Promenaad is a blessing. I don't know if I would have managed to get through this past six months here as "gracefully" as I have if I didn't have the sea and such perfect walking (and running) routes so close to me. Fact is that green colour, aka forest and park surroundings, lowers stress levels immediately and significantly. Add the smell and the sound of the sea to that and you've got the most relaxed person with the quickest cure for professional break-downs. Yesterday I went for a walk along the Promenaad even though it was raining! The sea truly makes me go nuts.