Monday, November 13, 2017

Scandinavia #9

Tallinn, Estonia

Cruising to Estonia
We sailed for Tallinn, Estonia overnight and hit a storm. We were rockin’ and rollin’ all night. We woke up to a dark, cloudy, rainy morning and dreaded the 2 km (almost a mile) walk to the old town. 

Then we heard the PA system announce there would be a shuttle bus provided for those who wanted to explore Tallinn on their own. You gotta love Oceania Cruises. (They take the pain out of almost everything.)

A day in Estonia
 Tallinn, is the capital of Estonia. I call the "Fairy Tale City". This is a country we knew nothing about, absolutely nothing.

It started to rain just as we got into town and ducked into the Tallinn City Museum. Since the rain was coming down heavily, we decided to pay $3 and stay for awhile. The town apparently has been a settlement since 1300 BC! The town was named and built on a hill as a fortress in 1100AD. It is a definite medieval city. The towers, fortress, and castle still stand as well as the homes of the rich from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Old Town
The bus dropped us off at a park and we walked three blocks to Old Town. We turned the corner and saw high grass-covered earthen walls on our left with a long flower market lining the street at the base of the ancient wall. Ahead was the medieval gate to the old city with tall stone towers capped by clay tiled conical (cone-shaped) roofs on either side. We felt like we'd been transported to the days of Knights and Vikings, except this was the real deal. Not of fake Hollywood recreations. We wandered further and found street after street of fantasy-like scenes.

Walking through Old Town was like walking through a fairy tale:  Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, etc. A few narrow streets took us past several embassies of foreign nations.  We were amazed that the city has been so well preserved and rebuilt after so many invasions  We came across the town square lined with colorful outdoor cafes and restaurants. We stopped and had hot chocolate at an outdoor, covered café surrounded by ancient brick buildings. We stayed about an hour just enjoying the view of the square. It is such a beautiful, quaint, charming city. I hope to come back to Tallinn some day.

As the ship left the dock that night and sailed north, the fog rolled in. From the sea, we could see the castle towers on the hill with the fog staying close to the ground. It looked like the town was floating on a cloud.

Last night of the cruise
Tonight is the last night of the cruise before we disembarked in Stockholm tomorrow morning. There was a farewell party in the top deck lounge with full-length windows. The sky was black with a half-moon shining bright and trailing its light along the choppy sea. It was a magnificent sight.

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