When preparing my Tallinn trip I read about the Estonian Air Museum and I immediately knew I had to visit, I'm very fond of history. It turned out to be the highlight of my 4 day visit to the Estonian capital.
My visit took place on 28/10/2011, a dry sunny day, after a rainy period, in autumn time. Me and my friend used one of the sightseeing buses (blue line, from Viru) to get from the Old Town to the museum. We were literally dropped off at the gate, with a couple of others.
Our entrance and audio guide were free, 'cause we had bought the Tallinn Card (discount pass) earlier. We decided to browse the little tourist shop and visitor's center later, 'cause we only had 3 hours till our next (and last) bus. We both used the restroom in the shop and went on our way, with the map we had received and our audio guide.
The audio guide was really good: simple, informative, easy to use, funny and well spoken (English version). The only thing I struggled with was holding it up to my ear, 'cause I was carrying lots of things. I would have preferred a headphone. Taking pictures while holding the audio guide to my ear without dropping something wasn't easy.
The map (and info panels) indicated the numbers for the audio tour and by that, the route we had to follow through the museum. Unfortunately my audio guide ran out of batteries when I was little over halfway in the official tour, on 3/4 of our tour as we had skipped some things for lack of time. The lady in the visitor's center had told us to come back when our batteries went dead, but as we were on the other side of the museum that wasn't an option.
The museum is actually located in a forest like park, bordering on the sea. The people who we got off the bus with started their tour earlier than we did. We only saw them once during our visit. That immediately illustrates the solitude of the experience, which I absolutely loved. There were only a handful of people in the park and as it is quite large we were all alone most of the time. It was very peaceful and it added to the atmosphere.
As we were visiting in autumn the color spectrum was absolutely magnificent. The trees had all sorts of shades of green, brown, yellow, orange and pink, the sun sometimes trickled through setting fire to the forest. Combined with the lack of visitors I daresay autumn is one of the best times to visit the Estonian Open Air Museum.
The only downside to that is that all the houses (except three, in our case) are closed. However, we already spent 3 hours here, and we didn’t have enough time. If all of the houses would have been open we probably needed 2 days to visit all!
Personally I didn’t mind not being able to enter the houses. You get a pretty good idea of what life must have been like just by walking around (and listening to the audio guide, which I recommend).
We enjoyed one of the large swings, part of the Estonian folklore, so we couldn’t resist trying it ourselves. Unfortunately there was no one around to capture our enthusiastic swinging.
The view over the sea was lovely, especially (here we go again) with those colored trees overhanging the small cliffs.
At the end of our visit we had a drink in the tavern, one of the three houses open for visitors. Upon stepping in I was immediately transported back in time, great experience.
The visitor’s center at the entrance was fine. The young woman who helped us was very kind, helpful and spoke English well. The shop sold pretty much the same things that you can find in the Old Town of Tallinn, but it’s a nice extra.
We appreciated being able to use the toilets as the area outside the park looked deserted. There are several toilets in the park as well!
If I ever come to Tallinn again I would happily visit the Estonian Air Museum again. Summer is no doubt more fun, with the open houses and the Estonians dressed up, but I would definitely not hesitate to go in autumn again. A dry sunny autumn day like we had is just perfect!
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