Jewell Of The Baltics

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Aug 19, 2011

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Where I stayed
Meriton Old Town Garden Hotel

Flag of Estonia  , Harjumaa,
Saturday, August 13, 2011

On this bright Saturday, after I woke up and assembled myself, I had sort of made the temporary plan of covering every street in the old center on foot. I also wanted to take some time to do some souvenir shopping so I started off on the street directly outside of my hotel and headed straight for the highest point in the old city which sits high on a plateau overlooking the old town below and in the distance, the more modern portion.

At the first corner I came to, there was a very nice shop selling traditional gifts from the region that consists of amber goods, linen, leather, carved wooden goods and paintings.  I stopped in and bought a few postcards but I didn't want to spend all my money in one location, so I then moved on, heading up the long street, aptly named "Pikk" which means long in Estonian.  The street runs directly through the center and brought me into the central square that was already hustling and bustling with people on this amazing, sunny, cool morning.  I stopped in the square long enough to take a few pictures of the lovely facades and the morning light shadowing everything in such a way as to make photo opportunities irresistible

I was more than willing to stop often and make the day very relaxed because last night I had gone out looking for some nightlife and went out to a club called Kapp.  The club was fairly deserted on Friday night but maybe I was in too early (at my age of 47, I don't like to go out too late after midnight.)  Meanwhile, The streets were crawling with people, out strolling and carrying on. Some were taking night photos, which, I made up my mind I would do tonight instead of looking for more racy fun.

So, I stopped in some of the very adorable shops that line the picturesque streets as I made my way up the slope to the upper area of the Tallinn center.  I have always thought it better to start at the top and wind down, rather than the other way, so I do the hardest walking before my dogs start to bark.  At the top is and oval shaped plateau with some winding streets, a church with a high bell tower and view points with sweeping panoramas of the city below.  The area is also the sight of many embassies. As I made my way past the church, I thought it would be great to climb the 200 steps to the top of the bell tower and see the city from the bird's eye view!! This turned out to be an amazing choice as the morning sun was already high in the clear blue sky, making the views beyond spectacular.

From the church, I began to make ever widening circles, making my way, street by street, looking in shop windows, shopping and basically enjoying the morning, in as relaxed a way as possible.

Tallinn is celebrating its "Year of Culture" in addition to its 20th anniversary of freedom from the Soviet Union and each building is clearly labeled as to its historical significance and also, in many of the public gardens, there are displays commemorating the various stages The country went through on its road to freedom.  Amazingly, almost every building, house or restaurant has a history because the actual birth of Tallinn dates back as far as 9000 B.C.  !!!

Taking this route, I stopped in the parks and gardens along the way and simply enjoyed the spectacular views and reading all the placards, taking in the history of this wonderful place.  While I was walking leisurely through Tallinn, I couldn't help but feel a very positive energy, as if coming up through the ground, into my feet and working its way through my body.

So anyway, as I made my way down to the lower section, it was a cool morning with the sun shining brightly. The restaurants and shops were alive with energy and hoards of tourist were filling the streets.  It really seemed like everyone was smiling and saying hello as they passed. Very friendly!! Then I worked my way through the winding streets, checking them off on my map as I passed them (sometimes in these old cities, Ifind myself going up and down the same streets over again) but I took the time to notice the incredible detail of the building facades, the doors, shop signs and window displays.  It became so overwhelming that after a few short hours, I became overcome with emotion thinking about these lovely, gentle people and how they gained their freedom in such a peaceful way through the "Singing Revolution."

At this point, although I had only crossed about half of the city, I was so taken in by this place, I felt I couldn't take any more, so I ducked into a cafe and bought some pastries and soda and went into a very charming park and had a picnic lunch after which I climbed the nearly 300 steps to the highest steeple in the city.  The view was downright shocking and I shed a tear of emotion that I simply couldn't contain.  This is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen or even imagined and I kind of scolded myself because I had never even heard of Tallinn before planning this trip!

So now it was beginning to be afternoon and I decided that any more sight seeing may just kill me and I felt it was time to go to my room and cool off a bit, before heading back out to see what else the town had to show me.

Once in my room, with such a beautiful day happening outside, I simply couldn't justify staying in but I could see myself going to one of the perfectly manicured gardens and relaxing in the sun.  Unfortunately, there are events happening at every turn and I came across an opportunity to take "The tower Tour" it was only a very inexpensive ticket to get up on the city wall and walk through the various towers that make Tallinn so unique.  It was truly breathtaking and in addition, I was hearing folk music faintly wafting in the air, which I chose to follow, to where I found a very adorable children's concert being performed by local kids, with their parents, teachers and some elderly folks enthusiastically cheering them on.

I absolutely couldn't help but stop and enjoy this wonderful spectacle that was being held in one of the lovely gardens that surround Tallinn on every side.

At this point, I continued my quest to see every street in town and I continued with my circular pattern looking in every window and noticing every perfect detail of this city.  In fact, every building displays some form or another of traditional craftsmanship and the shop windows are filled with colorful displays, charming gifts and handmade goods of all kinds.  Even the shopkeepers and restaurant workers dress in traditional clothing and sort of perform by speaking in old-fashioned styles and acting out archery and other types of medieval style activities.

By about 7:00 this evening, with the sun still shining brightly against the cloudless blue sky, I started to notice my feet beginning to ache, so I have come back to my room before going out later to try and get some lovely photos of this Baltic jewell by moonlight.

It is Saturday night, so I am sure there will be plenty of activity for me to run into during my evening's enjoyment.

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