Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tallinn, Estonia

16 July 2015

Our tour of Tallinn in Estonia started with a one and a half hour bus tour around town. We saw lots of "typical" homes from the coach, and then got out of the coach and walked down to see the Palace in Catherine's Valley (Catherinethal in German, the palace is known as the Kadriorg Palace in Estonian). The palace was built by Peter the Great for his wife Catherine I (who is NOT Catherine the Great - she came later and also happened to be married to a Peter).

Our next stop was the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.  Every five years a massive crowd attend the Estonia Song Festival here, and in between it is used for concerts by visiting artists, like Rod Stewart and Madonna. The locals are obviously very proud of it, but I thought it was unimpressive - though the pictures of the crowds there make me glad I was not there at those times. The most fun bit of being there was seeing our cruise liner at the dock in the distance. It was one of six there that day, meaning that 10,000 extra tourists were wandering around Tallinn.

Song Festival venue with our cruise ship in background

The coach then dropped us off and our guide walked us into the Upper Town. Tallinn had, even in medieval times, an upper town and a lower town. One of them (I've forgotten which) was part of the Hanseatic League, and the other was governed as part of the normal government in force at that time. Estonia first got it independence in 1918 after the First World War. Before that it had been ruled by Sweden, Denmark and Russia at different times.

The first thing we looked at was the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Very Picturesque, but unfortunately covered in scaffolding. Photos were not permitted inside.

Then we walked though more of the upper town until we came to a viewing platform overlooking the lower town.

The Danish King's Garden

The Danish King's Garden

We walked down a steep path to the lower town, where the Town Hall is situated.  In front of that were the markets.  We were given 25 minutes to find somewhere to have lunch, order it, have it delivered and eat it! Miraculously, we managed it.  We actually had lunch in a Russian Restaurant, Troika, which seems to be part of a chain of restaurants.  The food was very good!

Market Square

Bear at Troika Restaurant

Then it was a few more stops before heading back to the boat. One was a pharmacy dating back to 1422 - Europe's oldest.  It currently sells modern medicines as well as having a display of old medicines and ingredients for medicines.

A Garlic Restaurant? Really?

The Pharmacy, or Apteck

Inside the Apteck

Some of the old medicines

Some of the ingredients

Some more ingredients

Handpainting the marzipan sweets

Marizpan sweets in progress

Some of the finished marzipan sweets

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