Tartu was pretty damn sunny. When I travelled to Tallinn 3 days later, it rained heavily. They are two contrasting Estonian cities, not particularly in terms of weather but by vibe. Tartu, being known as the main University town, is more bohemian and things seem to happen more quietly, calmly and at a slower pace. Tallinn is much larger and more cosmopolitan. I would not say that one city is more intellectual, touristy, cooler, prettier or more ESTONIAN than the other even though some people will tell you this.
I quite like these kinds of rivalries between towns and cities. When I lived in Düsseldorf there was an ongoing, not-so-serious rivalry with neighbouring city Köln. The 'Dorf’ was swankier and healthier whereas Köln was perhaps more hipster and diverse, and yet in my eyes, still very very grey.
I like this idea that people should identify with their environment, that it somehow characterises them as initially they choose to be there and then they adopt certain ways of life. I know that a lot rests on the people there and some people are not geographically based by choice, but I think we should allow places to define us, otherwise they become nothing.. an epistemological nightmare!
I guess, “Ma olen Tartu” (I am Tartu). Purely by default. I’ve been there more often, it’s smaller, so I know it better. I have great memories from Tartu. My memories of Tallinn are littered with sad departures. But of course, I’ve always arrived in Tallinn too. When I first got that bussi nummer 2 to the kesklinn (city centre) and walked up Toompea hill, or the late night in the warmth of Kuldne Lõvi (Golden Lion pub, which feels like someone’s living room) when we felt like everything was perfect - those are things that would remain in the mind of any passionate tourist in Estonia. So maybe, just a little bit, 'ma olen Tallinn’ as well!