Cutie-pie Tallinn

Trip Start Jun 08, 2009
Trip End Jun 22, 2009

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Flag of Estonia  ,
Thursday, June 18, 2009

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day (finally!) And another surprise today was how much we loved little Estonia!

Today's excursion started with a short tour of the city on the bus. We stopped at the original town square where they have a couple of old churches and the country’s parliament building. Did you know that Tallinn is the world’s oldest capital? It has been the capital for almost 1,100 years?

These fascinating facts as well as others were presented by our tour guide, Siret. She also shared (which I will also share with you now) that Skype was invented in Estonia. Estonia leads the world in DNA technology and research. Also, about 90% of the nation’s pet population has a microchip tag.

And with that trivia to bolster our intellects, we headed to Rekevere (it sounds really cool when you pronounce it out loud and roll the "R"s). This is a small medieval town in the countryside. Here we visited a castle for a short tour. The castle itself was pretty interesting. Among the things to see and do at the castle included a stupid torture chamber exhibit, traditional medieval weapons, and just generally exploring the castle. This was the real cool part!

Bernie, as she always is apt to do, made some new friends with some of the local kids that was there on a trip. Of course the kid that was drawn to her was the worst behaving kid – cutting lines, stealing hats, and if I wasn’t mistaken, made the international hand sign for “I’m gonna pop a cap in your ass.”

The stop also included a real, honest to goodness authentic Estonian lunch. No boiled chicken here! Our Estonian lunch consisted of a crab and raisin pie (sounds a lot worse than it tastes), mashed peas, something with barley, sauerkraut and roasted pork. Also (for an additional charge of course) was a mead beer they brew there using a recipe over 700 years old.

After lunch we went to a vodka distillery museum. Here at the museum we tried some Estonian vodka and learned that after a shot of vodka you take a bite of a bread and butter pickle. The pickle cuts the strong flavor of the vodka. After a quick walk around of the museum (it didn’t take much), Siret asked for volunteers. Of course Bernie and I volunteered (what could be bad about volunteering at a vodka museum?). The volunteers were gathered over for a vodka tasting where Bernie and I were on the panel! We tried 5 different vodkas, including some Estonian and other countries of origin. We are now “connoisseurs of vodka”, thanks to this experience! We even have a certificate to prove it.

The distillery museum made Steph think… If she wants to have a back up plan to her new career as a inlaid floor restorer, she is opening a small distillery (like the 277 vodka distilleries in Estonia as some point). It’s a fall back plan really during the off season for palace floor restorations.

After the museum (or “muuseum” in Estonian), we headed back to Tallinn to meet the ship. As we pulled back into the cruise terminal, there was another surprise. The H.M.S. Illustrious, a small British aircraft carrier, had just docked. How cool is that!? I’ve posted pictures.

Tomorrow is a day at sea, followed by our final port stop in Oslo, Norway. We love hearing from everyone and getting comments. We read all of them, even if we can’t respond to all.

See you soon!

Bernie’s Highlights: I loved the whole country!
Bernie’s Lowlights: We weren’t there long enough.

Steph’s Highlights: The lunch experience was exactly what I wanted all along this trip.
Steph’s Lowlights: Paying $3 for what turned out to be a shot glass of wine!

Rebecca’s Highlights: The castle was cool. I played in a castle today!
Rebecca’s Lowlights: I can’t even think of one today!
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