Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Estonia: Tallin

The only word I can use to describe Tallin is charming. I hate to keep referring to these places as charming but there really isn’t anything more accurate. Delightful, attractive, appealing, and pleasant, yes, they are all of those things, but there’s more to it than that. When you feel like you’re trapped in a fairy tale, what other word sums it all up better than “charming?”

I really fell in love with Estonia. The people there have a fulsome allegiance to their country that is strong and effusive without being angry or overbearing. Estonia is currently a free country but it has fought a long battle to get there.

One thing I learned that really grabbed my attention is the fact that 90% of Estonians do not consider faith in a high being a part of their everyday lives. The churches in the community are sparse. The people celebrate Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter but the emphasis is on the secular side of the holiday and focuses on gift giving and family traditions.

I escorted a tour of Tallin that took us all over the city. Here's our ship from across the harbor. 

The tour ended with a nice long stop in Old Town Tallin. This is where you really begin to feel like you’re in another world in another time. The cobbled streets span the entire city. I spent time ducking into tiny shops selling everything from fur to fruit to souvenirs to old maps; a blend of local charm and touristy scrap. The Russian influence on this town is present in a huge Russian Orthodox church at the top of Old Town. 

And the Catholic Church in town. 

A little further into the heart of Old Town is a beautiful spot overlooking the city where many people sat sipping Honey Beer or hot cider in a quaint little café. I warmed my hands with a paper cone full of freshly roasted almonds coated in a delicious mixture of spices and sugar. I still can’t decide if they tasted better or smelled better. They were so nice!

At the end of the tour I was almost sad to go back to the ship. I wish I had more time to spend in Old Town with Ron. Maybe next year. 

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