It’s the small things sometimes when you are traveling and one of those small things is a really good free breakfast. Needless to say we stuffed ourselves! But we had a big day planned so needed the energy.
We opened the door to a blanket of snow covering everything and it still pouring from the sky. Goodbye Autumn and hello Winter by the looks of it. It was so magical with the old medieval buildings and the snow. We got some great shots. But after about an hour the novelty wore off as our feet were getting wet and snow was blowing right in our eyes.
We first walked around old town visiting some churches and the castle walls. The churches although lovely from the outside don’t have the same grandure inside as the Russian Orthodox churches. The St Mary’s Cathedral was interesting as it had the Estonian noble houses coat of arms all over the walls. I was expecting painted shields with the coast of arms on them but instead they were giant 3D metal coats of arms.
Next we went to Keik in the Kok (hehehe) which is a defense castle around the outer wall. There are Bastion passages that run between Keik in the Kok and other fortresses around the wall so troops could be dispersed where needed in times of war. We decided to do the tour of these underground tunnels to see what they were like. This tour was the worst we have ever been on. The guy was a complete drip who couldn’t string three coherent words together but took great delight in attempting to do so 3 or for times for one description. It’s amazing how a delivery can make or break the absorption of information. Anyway at least we were out of the cold for an hour. What we did take out of the tour was that the tunnels were used as bomb shelters during the war and homeless lived down there for years until they cleaned them out in the early 00’s for tours.
We then headed to the Occupation museum which was very interesting and informative. It took you through Estonia’s history from just before the Second World War to their Independence from USSR in the early 90’s. So The USSR invades in 1940 during the Second World War. They apparently signed a secrect pact before the start of the Second World War with Hitler outlining their future border and Estonia fell on the USSR side of that line. They held power for a year before Nazi Germany conquers (they reneged on the deal) for a little over a year before losing the territory as their hold on the war weakens. The USSR resume power and Estonia is ruled by them for 50 years. As the USSR power weakens, the people push for independence in the late 80’s as they are not happy with The USSR forcing them to speak Russian and their mining of minerals up north. Independence is granted in the 90’s when the USSR is disbanded. What was really moving was their uprising without any army. Marches were held and thousands upon thousands of people came out in force to show their support, knowing that if the USSR could they would crush their insubordination with violence. Also that these people are still alive as it happened so recently. But they got their fairy tale ending and independence was granted.
We then decided that we should try and have a sauna as they are what to do this neck of the woods. Apparently some locals may go in naked and some are mixed sex so we were a little apprehensive. Or there are Uni sex ones but that would mean we were going in alone. But we discovered for a tenner more we could hire our own private sauna which we did. No surprises here but it was hot! We needn’t have worried about the nakedness thing as it was a modern one with public pools attached so i don’t think anyone would have been going in naked. But our private room was nice and a great relax. Though not the super traditional wooden building in the wilderness we were after.
After that we headed out for some elk soup and a flagon of beer and cider from a medieval restaurant and the collapsed in exhaustion into bed! Tallinn has been an unexpected gem in the trip. After 50 years of Russian occupation they have still managed to keep their own identity which I think is more Nordic than Russian. The people are more friendly and we have discovered they are very witty with a very wickedly dry sense of humor. S
So enchanting with the snow.
If you look closely there is a snowball coming right for my head! Luckily I have the reflexes of a cat and ducked just in time!
Amazing streets and buildings.
The Square… again. So far you have seen it without snow, At night and with snow.
The Orthodox Church.
One of the churches.
No it’s not cold at all…..