Judix2 travels to USOpen, Estonia & Poland travel blog


Front of Alexander Nevski Cathedral

Back of the Cathedral

Town Hall & Town Square

The old Wall & Vendor stalls

Old Pharmacy

September 4 - Our First day in Tallinn, a UNESCO World Heritage site, we explore the medieval city with its old walled cobblestone streets. It has a current population of 400,000, obviously not all live within the old part of town. Our plans are to first find breakfast, find the local grocery to stock the kitchen and then do a free walking tour to become acquainted with the area. Found this lovely little Cafe just across the street for the most fluffy omelettes ever. They were served with a light spring/summer green salad and no bread. Found the grocery store, stocked up and were set for the day to further explore. Now it's time to catch up with the local guide for the tour which meets in front of McDonald's! The free guides say they will accept coins, a beer or paper if you so choose. Jaanikka, our guide, was born and raised in Tallinn, explains that the crowds are a little lighter as this is the end of the season, but we are not buying it as we had seen 3 cruise ships in port! We start our walk along some of the remaining old wall filled with vendors selling their wares hoping to avoid some of the many tourists. Some of the highlights of the walk were St. Catherine's Passage (the most picturesque of old town's lanes now filled with workshops of local artists); town hall square (holds annual Christmas market and filled with restaurants); Tallinn Town Hall; Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral; Town Hall Pharmacy (the oldest still functioning pharmacy in the world - 1442); Holy Spirit Lutheran Church (13th Gothic church - the oldest in Tallinn); Toompea Castle (home of Estonia's parliament) and a couple of viewing platforms for photo ops. Some interesting facts from our guide: the Eastonian language is closest to Finnish, not Russian nor German; Finland is 80 miles across the Baltic (thus many cruise ships and daily ferries); 90-95% of Estonian homes and hotels have saunas; although there are many churchs here the Estonians are predominantly non-religious. The Estonians gathered publicly in 1986 and 1991 by hundreds of thousands in an effort to end decades of Soviet occupation. These gatherings included singing traditional songs which were part of their culture. Protests were not allowed by the communist regime but they accepted and encouraged cultural activities. These singing gatherings to gain their independence became known as the Singing Revolution! After our walking tour we continued to explore the town and decided to have some dinner at Olde Hansa here they dress in medieval attire and serve food in medieval looking dishes. We each had wild mushroom soup and split baked portobello mushrooms - delicious! Then it was back to the apartment to watch a little tennis before retiring for the night! - JC

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