2013/06/08-12: City Tourists
We rolled into the city on a Sunday afternoon, and checked into the well-appointed two bedroom apartment that T’s cousins had helped him choose. It was right in the old town. There was a claw foot tub right in our bedroom, and it even had a small sauna that we used several times!
Chris and I spent our first day learning to use the trams and buses, and navigating to a shopping centre in the new city where we bought me a replacement camera and checked out a large bike shop.
The old town is extensive, and it’s beautiful just to walk and take in views of fortifications and of church spires down narrow cobbled streets. We did a few of the numerous museums, including Kiek en de Kok tower and a tour of the bastion tunnels which are being restored.
There are a host of shops selling amber, linens, and high fashion clothing and accessories of Estonian design. The avant garde blends with medieval here, and visual treats greet the eye at every turn. Apparently the president and his wife were recently on a state visit to Canada, where his wife strutted in an extravagant wardrobe –purportedly to showcase Estonian designers. She left Laureen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister’s wife, looking very modest in contrast. Viive had complained that this consumerist display was inappropriate when 45,000 children continue to go to school hungry, mainly in rural areas. A valid complaint, we think.
Tallinn is a stopover point for cruise ships. From mid-morning to late afternoon their passengers come ashore and the streets of the old town fill, often with groups wearing stickers or labels to designate which ship they’ve come from. Suzanne went for peaceful walks early each morning. Things are quiet again in the evenings, as they all go back to their ships by late afternoon for their included dinners.
On our final day, Suzanne and I went souvenir shopping together. Suzanne bought a few amber items, and we both indulged in table linens. Flax was historically grown in Estonia and some cultivation continued until 2001; the country still processes fibre imported from Lithuania and Latvia where it is still grown. In the area near Karski, the historic Mulgi landowners became wealthy by growing flax and processing the fibre into linen.
We have put our pictures of Tallinn here.