We woke up this morning to another cold, (58°) rainy day. We did not rush to breakfast but took our time hoping the rain would stop. From our balcony we could see Old Town Tallinn’s skyline with its many beautiful church steeples and storm clouds above.
Doug, Sue, Randy and I decided we would walk into town and visit lower Old Town. Last year Randy and I had taken a bus tour seeing the highlights of this beautiful town followed by a walking tour that took us up to Toompea Hill and Palace Square. We loved this beautiful medieval city so much that we vowed to return someday. Well, that someday is today. Jim and Vilma wanted to walk around the medieval town on their own. Unfortunately, Mickey was not feeling very well so she and Betty decided to remain on board as she did not want to run the risk of getting sick before we arrived in St. Petersburg.
Tallinn is Estonia’s capital located on the Baltic Sea. Tallinn’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This charming city is filled with pastel colored gabled houses, hidden courtyards, many beautiful churches, and is surrounded by stone walls dotted with imposing guard towers. Walking through the city brings to mind many fairy tales I grew up with as a child.
The first indication that we had arrived at Old Town was Fat Margaret’s Tower and the Great Coastal Gate. We walked through the gate and started our walk passing St. Olaf’s Church, St. Nicholas’s Church and the Church of the Holy Spirit.
As we walked along we stopped in two small shops. The first was a gift shop advertising a collection of amber jewelry. Some of the pieces were very beautiful and I found myself thinking about purchasing a particular necklace. I did not much to my disappointment.
The second was a marzipan shop. What caught my eye as we walked by was a delicious looking reproduction of the Town Hall all made of marzipan. We stepped in for a look and everything looked wonderful. We noticed that employees were setting up a table to teach people how to paint marzipan. Oh, if only I had more time, I thought.
We continued our walk through the streets eventually turning down a narrow alley until we came to the Town Hall Square. The square was alive with festivities. There was a large stage with entertainers singing and dancing, merchants selling various products under tents and outdoor restaurants filled with happy people enjoying local the fare.
Around the square were many shops and restaurants. We decided to walk around a bit and study the menus posted outside each to see where we would stop for a bit of lunch. As we were walking, who did we see, but Jim and Vilma sitting at an outdoor café enjoying the atmosphere and a local beer. We stopped for a while chatting and checking the menu of the restaurant.
We continued our walk and came upon a very nice young man standing in front of the Maikrahv Restaurant. He was an employee of the restaurant and was interested in what kind of food we were interested. Of course, he talked highly about his restaurant but in case we wanted to continue our search around the square, he gave us a small business card with a 10% discount if we decided to return. After walking the entire square we did indeed return.
The rain had stopped so we decided to sit outdoors enjoying a local beer, delicious food and listening to the entertainment just a few feet away. We all chose local dishes.
I chose the traditional Estonia creamy pea soup, Randy chose sausages and French fries and Doug and Sue ordered the traditional Estonian pork roast with herb potatoes, mustard and cabbage. We also ordered a local beer to wash down our food. We also had a great time talking with a young couple sitting at the next table who were traveling on a Princess cruise ship.
After lunch we continued our walk to Freedom Square to see the monument to honor the Estonian War of Independence from 1918 to 1920. This beautiful column is 23.5 m high and consists of 143 glass plates and incorporates Estonia’s most distinguished award, the Cross of Liberty. Directly across from the monument is St. John’s Church.
We returned to the Town Hall Square, turned down a side street and made our way to the upper old town. We passed many of the same sites that we saw last year.
Everywhere you look in this charming, medieval city is just beautiful and there is no doubt that we will return again. As we were walking along I spotted this great pink pig flower pot. Loved it! Actually, we saw flowers everywhere.
As Randy likes to say of Tallinn, “Tallinn is one of my most favorite places in the Baltic!”
We saw this little gull atop one of the old city walls. We felt bad as it obviously had an injured leg. We all hope it would heal and fly away.
After walking for a bit, we decided to start our return to the ship. As we walked along we stopped a few times to take pictures of Randy and Doug having fun. Randy thought it would be funny to sit next to a life-size doll on the outside of a small shop, Doug stopped to pet an electronic cat sitting on the steps of another small shop. Very funny.
Passing by a small deli and seeing all the delicious pastries in the window, we went inside the Bonaparte Deli and we were glad we did. Randy and I chose a beautiful tart while Doug and Sue ordered a dish of homemade Sea Buckthorn ice cream. The tart was absolutely delicious. Sue gave me a taste of the ice cream and I found that it had a very interesting taste.
We started our walking back to the ship exiting the Old Town through the Great Coastal Gate and walking to the pier. Once on board we showered, dressed and headed up to the Concierge Lounge for cocktails.
We were so glad to see Mickey at dinner. She said she was feeling a little better. We were all happy to hear that. After being out in the rain all day, I decided I needed comfort food for dinner. I tend to think of pasta as comfort food. I chose the Lasagna al Forno for my main dish. These baked layers of egg pasta with beef Bolognese and cream sauce was just what I needed. It was delicious but I must confess that it could have been a little warmer.
Tomorrow we arrive in St. Petersburg, Russia.