We like walled cities, especially old walled cities. We were excited to explore this old walled city, which was new to us. Since we had upgraded our rooms, which included free use of the gym Dale got up and used the gym that morning before we went down to breakfast on the second floor. We were happy to see that the breakfast was certainly worth the upgrade. They had muesli, they also had oatmeal. They also had typical European breakfast foods, breads, cheese, cold meats. They had yogurt, fruit, eggs of all types including soft and hard boiled plus omlets to order. It was much better than we expected. The oatmeal was soupy enough that I didn’t need to add milk to it. Since I was getting a cold I was glad that we could start off the day with an easily procured breakfast.
We talked to the concierge and got an idea of what to do that day. After purchasing our Tallinn cards at the hotel, we started off with a mini-bus tour of the city. The bus met us at the hotel at ten-fifteen. There were only three other people on the tour which was great. We went to a bunch of sites around the city including the area where the royal residences were. The place that was the most interesting to me was the song festival grounds. They have a big national song festival every five years. This is what helped the people retain their nationalism during the many years of occupation by other countries. It is a great story. We had watched the video about it before we came on the trip.
Here we are at the singing grounds, it was cold. The amphitheater holds 30,000 people. Every five years a festival is held here. The next one is this year in July. All 30,000 sing together for one hour.
The weather was getting kind of bad when we stopped the bus part of the tour and started the walking part of the tour inside the walls of the old town. I had a rain jacket on with a hood which kept me dry but I was so cold. When I got cold my nose would be completely stuffed up so I couldn’t breath. We would go in somewhere and I would start to warm up a bit and I could breath again. After the tour ended we walked around the old town and looked in some of the shops and found a place to eat dinner. It wasn’t all that good, but at least it was expensive. We walked back to the hotel in the rain. We were tired, cold, wet and footsore, but we were still enjoying ourselves.
Views in old town. The first is St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Then view from the high point in old town. An open square in old town.
We really wanted to save our feet the next day so the concierge suggested that we ride the hop on hop off bus. We wanted to go to the open air museum which was outside of the town and the hop on hop off bus was the easiest way to get there. She told us that we would have to pay ten euros to ride the bus. We checked out of the hotel and put our luggage into the locked luggage room while we toured. We walked to the bus stop which was just outside the city wall and showed them our Tallinn card and to our surprise we didn’t have to pay for the bus at all.
The open air museum. I love the thatched roofs.
Luckily for us it was a much nicer day, cold but with blue skies. The bus took us out to the museum and we noticed that buses came only once an hour so we would have to pay attention to the time so we wouldn’t miss the bus. We got the audio guides which came free with our Tallinn card as well as entrance to the museum.
We loved the museum, there were some of the displays that had people in period dress doing typical work. One of the most interesting was the women who were working with fibers. They had wool, but I think they also grow flax in this area. They told us about using natural dyes and had bags of things that they use to dye the wool. If they wanted to make something dark blue they had to use indigo which was imported. The woman there assumed that it was imported from the USA because that is where denim comes from. I had to tell her that indigo dye comes from tropical plants and that denim cloth was first produced in Nime, France. It was originally called serge de Nime and was shortened to denim. She told how they produced a lighter shade of blue by mixing indigo with urine. It made a lovely sky blue color which would stink if it got wet. We walked all over the museum and went into several exhibits. Another interesting one was the school. The teacher’s accommodations were part of the school house. They had it set up with period furnishings. It was really fun. They also had a store that was set up with things to sell. We bought some local chocolate there that featured wrappings that were from an earlier part of the twentieth century.
We were getting really tired and decided that we didn’t want to miss the bus so we headed back to the entrance where we shopped in the little souvenir shop as we waited for our bus back to the hotel. We knew we were done for the day. We could have seen a lot more if we had bicycles to ride between the displays. The bus took us around to the rest of the sites which we viewed from the comfort of our seats. When we got off the bus we walked towards the hotel and then found a Stockmans where we bought food for our late lunch and then dinner and breakfast on the ferry we would be taking to Stockholm that night. We sat in some comfortable chairs at the hotel while we waited a bit until it was time to take a taxi to the ferry terminal.
Since we weren’t going to the buffet on the ship checking in was easy and fast. We boarded a the ship, it felt like you were going on a cruise, they even had photographers at the beginning of the gangway. The boat had a band that was playing Brazilian music as we boarded, at least that was what was advertised. We took the elevator to deck nine and found our room in the middle section the ship. As soon as we sailed away we checked out the supermarket where they sold cigarettes, booze and chocolate. I was looking for travel packets of tissues because of my dripping nose but, alas, they didn’t have them in a small pack just packs of twenty or so. We hooked onto the ships WiFi and checked out our email etc. I was so tired that I could hardly walk. We went back to our room and ate some of our food. I changed and lay down. I didn’t intend on falling asleep right then but I did. I woke up at one and then again at four and was awake for good. I got to watch as we sailed through the Swedish archipelago. I didn’t want Dale to miss it so I woke him up so he could see. I knew he would thank me for it. We took quite a few pictures, it was very beautiful. We were surrounded by many islands some large enough to be inhabited, but many were just big rocks in the water. We showered and had breakfast and Dale and I went out on deck. It was cold outside and we were hanging out with the smokers so we came back in. We got some more snacks in the supermarket and then came back into our rooms.
Janet looking at the Swedish archipelago from our ferry room.
Some of the thousands of islands as we approached Stockholm.
We loved Estonia, it’s a shame that I got sick and that it rained, I’m sure we would have done more things there. Estonian people refer to anything from their country as Estii. Estii food and Estii handcrafts etc. I would like to visit Estonia again someday and see some of the countryside. I would also love to walk around the old town again when it is warmer and not raining.