As I sail the Baltic Sea today, I thought I would share a little of my visit to Tallinn, Estonia this week. The old town is a Unesco World Heritage Site, where the locals do a great job of depicting life in medieval times when the city was founded.
As we entered the cobblestoned streets, we felt like we were somehow wandering through streets of an earlier time. Despite skipping the organized tour, and my lack of pre-trip reading, we stumbled upon lots of history on our own. As we entered the wall of the old town, we came across an old gunpowder storage building whiched housed an exhibit on the history of communism in the country.
The St Olaf’s Church, with it’s symbolic steeple, was our next stop. There we discovered for a nominal fee you can climb the tower. With little information in English, except the warnings that you are responsible for your own safety, we decided to give it a go. As we entered the narrow stone spiral staircase, I almost turned around. But I made my way up the 232 steps to a wonderful viewing platform that circled the tower.
As we strolled through the streets like lost tourists, I started snapping photos of unique architectural doors on churches and buildings. These doors seemed to call out to me, and I was curious what life behind the doors was like.
After walking around, we sat down for a coffee in the Town Square. It was a great place to watch people, and the wait staff around the square were all dressed in period costumes. I liked to imagine what life on the Square would have been like in the 15th century.
‘The old apothecary, or Raeapteek, in operation since the early 1400’s was our next stop. There is still a dispensary operating in this building, but half of it is is a dedicated museum. We spent some time looking at the historical compounding tools and medications and then watched a short video on the history. I was interested in the current practice of pharmacy in the apothecary, and how it compares to our practice in North America, but there was really nobody to answer my questions.
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was easy to find in the Upper Town. We did not visit inside this Russian Orthodox Church, but the outside domes were picture worthy.
Of course we had to sample some pepper schnapps, in true medieval style. We followed the almost cult-like instructions of the young man in period costume before downing the drink. We may have looked like the dumb tourist, but we were inside protected from the downpour outside!
If it wasn’t raining so hard, I think we would have explored more. But we opted to head back to the ship. Do you have any recommendations for a visit to Tallinn?