Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Teisipaev (tuesday)

Our first full day in Tallinn has been a thoroughly relaxing day.

We explored the Toompea region - the "Upper Town" part of the Old Town". We visited the Alexander Nevsky cathedral, wandering by the Toompea castle (now government buildings) and went inside the Kiek-in-de-Kok tower - one of the medieval fortress towers that form the remaining wall around the Old Town. The tower was super cool; four levels with a narrow and winding staircase going up to the top. It was filled with some Estonian historical objects, but mostly it was the structure that was interesting.
Street in the Old Town
We did a lot of wandering through the town, went to the Holy Spirit Church and back to the Town Square. I must explain that Tallinn is itself only a city of about 400,000 people and that the Old Town is its historical and medieval center. It is very small and everything we could possibly want to see is clustered within this area. Mainly it is the town itself, its cafes and shops that are the attraction. It is quite a nice break from Russia where we were running from one huge museum and palace to the next. Also, some of the buildings that i might like to have entered (such as the town hall itself or the St. Olaf Church) are only open from June to August.
Tallinn's Old Town Square
During our wanderings we hit three more of Tallinn's fabulous cafes. One was upstairs in a little nook (or was it a cranny?) in a rocky, medieval building, lit by candles. Another was just below ground level with super low arched ceilings, again with candles, but also sofas and seats with many cushions. We ate dinner at a cozy African restaurant - no blood sausages or head cheese for me, thank you. It was nice to have vegetables again after two weeks in Russia of eating mostly bread.

It poured rain today, until about 5. It was misty and moody this morning and we didn't mind it one bit, but by the afternoon we were cold and wet, so we retired to our room for a nap before heading out for dinner.
As we walked here to the internet cafe there was in the town square a stage set up with a band playing what i suppose is Estonian music - accordion, violin/fiddle, and assorted other instruments. It was the sort of music you want to dance around to but do not unless you are a child, or are drunk. Betty Lou particularly enjoyed the music, it reminding her of Ukrainian weddings of her childhood.
Tomorrow, more wandering and poking around antique shops and artisan studios (they are very big into textiles, wood work and felt crafts here - there are some wonderfully whimsical felt hats), and of course, more coffee. We may go to the opera if we can get tickets.
Another day winding down.
The Wandering Norths.
Dale at a monastery in Tallinn

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