Tallin's Old Town is one of the best preserved and intact medieval cities in Europe, we are told; and it's listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It reminds me a bit of Czesky Kromlov in Austria, one of Rick Steve's "hidden gems"; with it's tiny winding cobbled streets and picturesque city square. Of course. Every city back then had a city square.
We have driven to / or by some of the major historical sites, like this once-winter-palace, which now houses their governmental and officiant offices.
The grounds and nearby park are quite lovely.
And this smallish, unassuming building where Peter the Great would come to stay with his wife Catherine the 1st. It still houses some original furnishings from back-in-the-day, I was quite surprised they haven't been sacked from here long ago.
This overlook provides us with a view of the town, and the lay of the land. They've done a good job of not "building over" their heritage. Not to be said about every Old Town, for sure.
Now we are dropped at Old Town itself, and we will meander on foot from here. I'm appreciative that the weather is nice, we have a sunny day to stroll as opposed to hauling umbrella's around.
It's quaint ~
It's charming, with all it's old wooden shutters and heavy doors.
It's just the sort of place we would love to spend a day or two just sniffing around the nooks and cranny's. But, alas, we only have a few hours.
We visit some shops where hand-made goods are made and sold.
Where colorful threads and yarns
Are turned into colorful quilts and dolls.
I spot an apothecary ~ I visited one in Beijing, so I'm interested to take a peek inside. Especially since it's been here since 1422!
Plus -- I need Zyrtec! Somewhere along the way I have lost the brand new bottle that I needed to get through the trip. My allergies are severe enough that I cannot live a single day without Zyrtec, it seems. And I'm so grateful! She speaks English, and she has Zyrtec-- I'm saved!
We stop at a very unusual church.
Lutheran, this one, very dark inside, with old family crests nearly obliterating the walls. Sort of foreboding, if you ask me. I do love their version of the church pews, though. Chest high compartments contain the pews, with a door on each end. I guess once you're there, they don't want you to get away so easily. We saw this style frequently throughout Northern Europe, but this was a first for me.
Outside you can get your snacks from the "Gourmet Monk", whomever that might be; most of which were roasted nuts of various types.
Every medieval town has it's castle........however this one's not open to the public. Unless you count the souvenir shop.
Which I do not.
Super crowded with all those pesky cruiseliners.
I hate contributing to this crush of tourists.
It's just not our style.
Still, it's one that one can be charmed should they choose to be.
So I choose to be.
Little shops down in deep basements with steep staircases.
Where you must Mind Your Head!
Glass blowers and painters and knit shops.
We stop for a sample of the local specialty liqueur (sweet dessert wine). I have enjoyed trying the Lemon Cello of the Imalfi Coast, the Green Apple Grappa of rural Tuscany, the different regional Saki's in the different regions of Japan (surprisingly different from each other); even the Cobra whiskey in Laos (yes, cured with an actual cobra -- or scorpion, if you prefer). So I must sample the Estonian liqueur, (especially 'cause I missed the food in this county!)
It's totally lovely. Just wonderful. A little sweet, a little hint of vanilla. I want to take a bottle home. But of course there are strict liquor restrictions and tariffs aboard the cruisline. Of course.
And, I'm dismayed, as always, to see how willing we are to share our obscenely high obesity statistics with the rest of the world.
Finally, we are "released" for some "free time" in the city square.
I feel like I might be in kindergarten. Is it recess time now???
What we absolutely know, once we've escaped her grasp, is that we will not have a chance to try any of it. I am totally peeved. Just ask Mr. C. My one day in Estonia, I do not get to try Estonian food. Tour groups just frustrate the heck out of me.