Thursday's Child: Tallinn, Estonia

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Some of our best memories on holidays have been the city tours we’ve taken, either as part of a group or on our own.  This month, I’m going to share some of my favourite city destinations and what we saw there.

Tallinn, Estonia was a port on a Scandinavian cruise.  We visited it immediately after spending two very full days in St. Petersburg, Russia, and we were happy to take a relaxed tour with the help of a guide book.



Visitors to the city are greeted by the Tallinn Town Wall.  It’s one of the best existing medieval walls that still remain in Europe: nearly two kilometres of wall still exist, and about half the number of original towers. For that reason, and because it is such a well-preserved medieval city, it has been given World Heritage Centre designation by UNESCO.  


The most sensational part of the city was the scene from the Patkuli viewing platform.  With a panorama including St. Olav’s church, the towers, and the city roofs, it's one of the loveliest views in Europe.


Views of the town square and the city from Tallinn Town Hall Tower were pretty great, too. Looking into the square, it wasn't hard to believe that merchants have been selling their wares there for hundreds of years.  It took a little more imagination to picture the knights that held tournaments in the centre of town to win honours.  In fact, it was a group of knights that led the bid to build the city walls in the fourteenth century to protect Tallinn from neighbouring Toompea. 


Tallinn is the birthplace of marzipan, and we enjoyed watching a local expert practice her talents.  She told us that during the Soviet era, most artistry was banned, but the local officials turned a blind eye in exchange for an occasional delicacy.  I’ve written elsewhere about the marzipan museum and its fantastic exhibits.


Speaking of local food, we had a great Estonian lunch at Hell Hunt (it sounds ferocious, but actually translates as “Gentle Wolf”).  Garlic bread made from rye is an Estonian specialty.


St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a stunning Russian Orthodox cathedral, built to honour a military hero of the thirteenth century.


And Andrew did his best to hunt down the Blue Jays' box scores in that well-known Estonian sports publication, Eesti Paevaleht.


24 comments:

Ruth said...

I loved Tallinn too, and have many of the same photos. One thing we were surprised to learn was that Tallinn was the inspiration for the design of "Far Far Away" in Shrek!

Angie Schneider said...

A very beautiful place...I would love to visit and try the garlic rye bread!

Daniela Grimburg said...

Stunning pictures, great cultural heritage and beautiful sights.
I had no idea that this was the birthplace of marzipan, one of my favorite treats :)
Thank you Beth for sharing this interesting trip with us!

Valerie said...

Oh, marzipan...Thank you, Tallinn!
Beautiful photos, Beth. I love cities that have stood the test of time.

And now I'm craving rye garlic bread! :D

Roz Corieri Paige said...

Thanks for the photo tour. I've visited St. Petersburg and remember all of the beauty. I'd love to take a Scandinavian trip some day too! Beautiful photos Beth!
Roz

Roz Corieri Paige said...

Thanks for the photo tour. I've visited St. Petersburg and remember all of the beauty. I'd love to take a Scandinavian trip some day too! Beautiful photos Beth!
Roz

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome pictures. Would love to see the medieval walls.

Velva said...

Beautiful. As always, thanks for sharing it with us.

Velva

Juliana Levine said...

Great Pictures Beth, since I have never been there, I really appreciate the "tour".
Hope you are enjoying your week :D

Kittie Howard said...

Gorgeous photos, Beth! Shared the laptop with hub so we could go down Memory Lane together. Oh, but we loved our visit to Tallinn. But didn't know it was the home of marzipan -- what a delightful surprise and interesting back story.

We're back from Normandy and can't thank you enough for sharing your experiences. I'll be in touch later as I brought you a little thank you from Juno Beach.

Beth said...

Kittie, I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip to Normandy! You are so kind - honestly, your thanks are all I need. (And isn't Tallinn lovely?)

Barbara said...

The birthplace of marzipan? Fascinating! Great info, great photos. Would love some rye garlic bread!

yummychunklet said...

Love marzipan! Yay!

Gloria Baker said...

The pictures are stunning Beth!!
and I love marzipan!

Chris Scheuer said...

The birthplace of marzipan, how interesting! Beautiful photos!

Amy said...

Wow - what a wonderful place to visit and your photos are lovely!

Patty Price said...

Beautiful and interesting part of the world to visit! Inspiring photos and post-I hope to visit Estonia one day and try the marzipan ;)

Caroline Taylor said...

Sounds and looks like a great place, lovely pictures.

bakewithjill.com said...

Lovely! I've seen Tallinn pop up on a lot of cruise itineraries and have wondered about it. It looks like it would be a great stop!

Jemi Fraser said...

So pretty!! Like a fairy tale come to life :)

Amy said...

those are gorgeous pictures of the city. And the marzipan are just lovely and adorable. What a great experience you had to watch the experts at work. :) Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend.

Guru Uru said...

Mmm Marzipan is beautiful :D
Just like the country!

Cheers
CCU

Liz Berg said...

I want to travel with you, Beth! Another wonderful destination.

cquek said...

oh yes i love to travel with you too...

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