Blogs from Tallinn, Estonia, Europe - page 18


Europe » Estonia » Tallinn June 14th 2008

13 June: Today I'm getting a private tour of this town's most popular theatre company, Tallinna Linnateater (City Theatre). The company's veteran designer is my guide. It's his birthday, yet he spends an hour and a half taking me through some of the 26 (!) buildings surrounding a square that house this company's many venues, social and meeting rooms, library and offices. The main building of this large complex was first mentioned on records of the 17th century when it was first purchased and remodelled by a prominent merchant, but it didn't have its beginnings as a theatre until 1967. Since then, more than $50 million has gone into restoring the aged and war-ravaged structures to their former glory, and the various theatre spaces are amazing to behold by someone like me who comes from a ... read more
Interior design
Here's one I wouldn't mind for my living room
Garden next to Kadriorg Art Museum

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn June 14th 2008

11 June: The return trip to Tallinn, mid-day, is with a different transport company in a Mercedes mini-bus, and the fare is a bit higher, 225 Krooni instead of the previous 205 ($20). Among my fellow passengers are two young backpackers from New Zealand and Australia. I had briefly talked to both women when they, too, disembarked the bus I had travelled on a few days ago. They are staying at hostels, telling me they have a place in "Old Town" for £10 a night. I think, wow, that's the way to go when you travel in pairs and don't mind sleeping in dormitories. Then I make a quick calculation. They quoted British Pound Sterling. Valge Villa's cheapest double room only costs $4 more than a hostel if you're taking advantage of their five-night discount. While ... read more
Colours of a market
Location, location...
Lunch time with graffiti

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn June 7th 2008

I HAVE TRAVELLED by trolley bus and tram to the city centre and then walked for miles every street in the enchanted old town of Tallinn. I enjoy stepping off the tiled sidewalks onto the uneven cobblestone streets, imagining that it gets me in touch with my roots in a more immediate way. While there is some residential car traffic, as well as taxis and delivery vans, you can hear them approaching from quite far away, their tires padding across the bumpy pavement; so no danger of getting run over (touch wood... except everything is built out of rock and stone here). 6 June: IT'S FREE ADMISSION to any of the many museums in "Old Town" today. Of course I take advantage of this opportunity, visiting the Linnamuuseum (city museum) which contains seven centuries of Tallin ... read more
Applying the arts
Living history

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn June 5th 2008

5 June: THIS HAS BEEN A STRANGE DAY. At the tourist information centre I ask where I may find out about my grandparents' residence from the 1920s to '40s. They direct me to the Ministry of the Interior. I'm not admitted to see anyone in person, but the security officer in the lobby gives me a number and points to a wall phone. The woman on the other end speaks English in a halting Russian accent. She keeps asking, "Why do you want to know where your mother lived?" Don't these people have any mothers to understand my motive? Or are they afraid this foreigner will lay claim to his ancestral properties? It has happened in the past with many refugees and their children returning. Come to think of it, I could be a wealthy landowner ... read more
Northwest part of Old Town
Oleviste Kirik and fortification towers
Pews inside Oliviste church

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn June 4th 2008

4 June: FIRST FULL DAY in Tallinn, my mother's hometown. I buy a book of bus tickets at the local supermarket, then pile onto one of the trolley buses going the 3 km into "Old Town." And I do take my verbs seriously -- in spite of the busy car traffic (I have already seen one thoroughfare with six lanes each way!) the buses and trams are packed, and not just during rush hour but at 11 am and 9 pm! When I immigrated to Canada 41 years ago, my arrival in Montreal happened to coincide with Expo 67. This time I arrive in town during another big party. It's Tallinn Old Town Days this week. Outdoors concerts everywhere -- children's, folk dance/music, military and rock bands, not to speak of theatre, ballet, opera... Hey, and ... read more
Roasted almonds
Merchant houses
Viru Värav

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn June 1st 2008

When I told people that I would be visiting Tallinn on this trip, nearly everyone said the same thing. "You will love it. It is what Prague was five years ago before the tourists discovered it." Having loved Prague when I was there a few years ago, this certainly put me in the mood to see this town. I was not disappointed. The entire town is UNESCO protected and for good reason. It has mostly been spared from the ravages of many other Soviet holdings and I got a real sense of what life was like for the Eastern Europeans before the curtain had come down. To begin at the beginning, we had a delightful day. The sun was shining and the weather was warm, but not too warm. I had spent the morning on the ... read more
Parliament House
The Russian Church
The Lutheran Church

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn June 1st 2008

Absolutely beautiful. A real surprise for me. The city was almost divided by a main road so the modern & historic were kept apart. I had lunch here which was home-made pasta with fresh salmon, & a cold beer as the weather was so sunny! Visited a 'medieval torture device' museum which was surprisingly interesting, took some pictures & thanked god that I wasn't alive in them days!!!!... read more

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn May 30th 2008

Work finished so this is a short text entry. Today was spent looking around Tallinn and its immediate area. Some of the group went down to the habour, some went to an open air village to see how Estonian dwellings have changed over the ages. I have brought together the pictures staff took during the day and a few from the previous evening. Need to get to bed early tonight as we have to be up at 3.30am to start our journey home. My opologies for any type errors, my proof readers are elsewhere.... read more

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn May 29th 2008

Oh its sooo hard....yet another day of sunshine and blue skies. Luxury of not having to be on duty as it were until 9.30am. Myself Sarah and Carol were collected by our host Sylvi and strode out on a 20min walk to see a local Kindergarten. Spent some time looking at the classrooms and talking to the teachers. Found many similarities with our own system. Although children don't start a formal education until 7 the state actually heavily supports childcare in these kindergartens at a cost of 25 of your British pounds a month. No wonder parents are falling over themselves to get there children in. AND they have teachers working with each age group from 1 year old to 6 who have qualified teacher status. Their aim is to have children reading, writing and able ... read more

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn May 28th 2008

Today centred around a field trip organised for those children from a local school who had performed well in lessons, exams and in behaviour across the year. So luckily we were met once again by a bright blue clear sky. On the minibus and drove travelled for half an hour to meet the coach with the pupils. These pupils were aged from 11 to 17. Keping it brief - we went to a forest area to show us the damage done by recent forest fires. We then went on to a very interesting visit of a small vilage school. We all thought it was idyllic (See the photo of the back of the school). The school has 9 staff and wait for it......30 pupils. Admittedly they are trying to recruit more pupils. Onwards to a large ... read more
The village school.
Small village classroom.
Another classroom

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