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Published: September 18th 2015
A delightful walled, cobbled street, medieval Capital City, easily explored in a day! We were off the boat by 9.00am – that was probably a mistake as it was very foggy, so no view or photos to be had for the first hour or so. but by 10.00 the fog had lifted and we were treated, yet again, to another blue sky sunny day.
Just wandered about, admiring the gabled houses and architecture, the small courtyards and narrow, cobblestone lanes, along with the grand churches and their spires! There were quite a few school parties about including a nursery group, all with their hi-viz jackets, warm hats and holding onto a rope in crocodile fashion! Very cute! Walked up to Alexander Nevsky Cathedral with its onion domes – there was a Russian Orthodox service going on, so we weren’t able to explore it fully, but noted that all the women had their heads covered with head scarves (NB for St Petersburg!!). Walked up onto a section of the old City walls with its wooden walkway and also climbed three of the watchtowers! Quite dark and steep inside and a few of the pigeons were nesting so there
was quite a bit of squawking going on!!
Walked through St Catherine’s Passage to the remaining inner chambers of Dominican Monastery, built in 1246, (Most of it had been burnt down!) where we saw the monks dormitory and the mysterious energy pillar (a lighted candle!!) in the cellar, thought to be a source of physical and spiritual health.
Looked in a few of the churches (didn’t climb the 14thC tower in St Olavs!) including the interesting small Ukranian Greek Catholic Church with lots of wooden pictures! Also had a look in the oldest, continuous-running, pharmacy in Europe, dating back to 1422. Lots of medieval remedies on the shelves including scorched hedgehog, dried toads, deers’ penis and woodlouse infusions!! This was as well as drawers full of dried herbs, still in use, I think, and lots of old bottles and tins with various ointments!
The main square (Raekoja Plats) has the best preserved Gothic Town Hall In Europe built in 1402, but the rest of the square is lined with old gothic style buildings (including the old Chemist Shop!) and cafes with their umbrellas making it a very pleasant place to wander about!
about it really! A pretty lazy day for us!! Wandered back for the bus transfer to the ship via the park walk on the outside of Toompea Castle, he original fortress built by the German Knights of the Sword in 1227, and Pikk Hermann Tower, and got back ready for the sail away at 16.30.
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