Blogs from Estonia, Europe

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Europe » Estonia September 3rd 2019

or Trans-Siberian Adventure – Prelude 2: Estonia (and a bit of Finland) If you were to plan a trip to the Baltic Countries, I would suggest Estonia. It has jumped to the top of our favourite Baltic countries list and from it you could always visit the others anyway. We arrived in Tallinn on an overnight bus from Lithuania and were consequently knackered on arrival at an ungodly 06:55 – even the bus station café was not yet open. Bags went into lockers and we commenced zombie-like wandering. Even through bleary eyes, under grey skies and with transit vans everywhere supplying the shops and restaurants before most tourists wake up, we could see that Tallinn was lovely. Strolling through pretty cobbled streets and squares, past numerous churches, alongside the medieval city walls, can easily ... read more
Town Walls, Tallinn
Kolga, Lahemaa National Park
Rummu

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn August 28th 2019

I walked some more in the medieval portions of Tallinn this morning. I walked by the parliament building and looked in the Russian Orthodox church across the square. There was a service going on in the church when I was there with incense and a men’s choir and many parishioners. My guidebook says that it’s OK to visit the church during services, but I felt awkward doing so. (No photos are allowed inside, service or not.) I left the church and a little later I came to a nice viewpoint that looks out over the medieval center of town. It was crowded with tour groups and I had to (figuratively) elbow my way to the railing to get a picture. In the afternoon I visited the Estonian National Art Museum called Kumu. They have displays of ... read more
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Europe » Estonia » Tallinn August 27th 2019

Today I arrived in Tallin, Estonia after crossing the Baltic in the overnight ship. Tallinn’s best feature is its medieval Old Town and I wandered around there today. I saw the hotel called The Three Sisters and, of course, had to take a photo for Maggie and Carol and Diane. I visited the museum of Estonian History and learned a bit more about this corner of the world. In the Middle Ages it was dominated by the German traders of the Hanseatic League. After WWII it was occupied by the USSR, but then staged a successful - and bloodless - revolution to gain its independence when the Soviet Union fell. Today it is a part of NATO and the European Union and is a modern, foward-thinking country, even if most of us Americans couldn’t find it ... read more
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Europe » Estonia » Tallinn August 19th 2019

Yesterday, Kieran flew into Helsinki & joined us for dinner, he plans to shadow our tour for the next 9 days by arranging his own transport & accommodation. Sunday we left Scandinavia behind & boarded a morning ferry for a 3 hr trip to Tallinn, capital of Estonia. On arrival we checked into the Tallink Express Hotel for a 2 night stay before an orientation walk around the World Heritage listed city. It’s immediately obvious to see why the city is now considered the best preserved medieval city in Northern Europe with the surrounding skyline dominated by Gothic spired churches, grand merchant houses, barns and warehouses along winding cobblestone streets. The major sites were the largely intact 13th-century old town buildings, walls & observation towers, the town hall & spire & the Toompea Castle, where Parliament ... read more
Narrow street view
Old city walls
Old city walls

Europe » Estonia July 12th 2019

12 July 2019 We had a drive around the peninsular to the south of the island and then along part of the west coast.... read more
It gets to a point!
A group of what I think were probably shags we were watching as we ate our lunch
For about 30k we drove along a beautiful gravel coastal road. It got the van filthy, but it was worth it!

Europe » Estonia July 11th 2019

11 July 2019 Today was spent visiting its castle and the other sights of picturesque Kuressaare.... read more
One of the bridges over the castle’s fine moat
They were preparing the castle grounds for an opera festival to be held later in the month
A memorial on the wall to the 90 people killed in the castle grounds by the Red Army in 1941

Europe » Estonia July 10th 2019

10 July 2019 Saaremaa is the largest Estonian island and we had a 25 minute ferry ride to visit it. Our campsite was outside. Our campsite is outside the island’s largest town, and on the way there we took a few diversions to visit a large meteor crater at Kaali, a collection of windmills at Angia and Karja’s 14th-century Lutheran Church.... read more
Saaremaa is a very flat island and because these mills were on a slight rise they had a plentiful supply of wind
St Catherine’s Lutheran Church
This carving on the side of the church of Christ being crucified with the good and bad thieves is unusual

Europe » Estonia July 9th 2019

09 July 2019 We had a fun start to the day when the Haapsalu Tourist train picked us up from the campsite and took us around the town sights. Then it was a look at the ruined 16th century castle and its museum and a walk back along the streets lined with timber buildings. In the evening some of us went on a cycle ride to a nearby ex Soviet air force base.... read more
The castle access has recently been improved leading to the top of the walls
The town’s St Nicholas Cathedral is attached to the castle
Roy, one of our party who is an organist,  was allowed to test the acoustics in the cathedral

Europe » Estonia July 8th 2019

08 July 2019 We drove 90k south west to Estonian’s west coast and the resort of Haapsal, located on a series of lagoons. On the way, we stopped off at Estonia’s Open Air Museum, which is a collection of farmsteads and other buildings, mainly from the late 19th century, moved to a country park just outside Tallin from various parts of the Country.... read more
One of the thatched farmsteads
A fire station. The tower is used for drying the hoses
The park is on the coast and these are a couple of huts used for drying fishermen’s nets

Europe » Estonia July 7th 2019

7 July 2019 The final day of Tallinn’s musical festival when for nearly nine hours, in a purpose built amphitheatre, a choir of over 20,000 entertained a crowd exceeding 100,000 with a range of Estonian songs. It only takes place every five years We walked to the event, planning to see the last few hours when the choir is at its largest. To begin with we were quite depressed because there seemed to be no room available to sit on the huge grass bank which overlooks the stadium. But after about 15 minutes we noticed a couple leaving and tripping over numerous legs we got there first and secured our place. Then followed a unique experience as the songs reflecting Estonian’s love of their homeland made the crowd become increasingly passionate in their support of the ... read more
As we arrived, the choir only filled half of the amphitheatre
This Estonian gentleman, whilst feeding us strawberries from his garden, explained the meaning and words of the songs
The man on our left had the largest Estonian flag in the audience




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