Saturday, July 30, 2016

All In for Tallinn

*I'm back home now, but I'll still be writing a few more posts about my trip.

Tallinn. Tallinn? My guess would be at least 95% of the people you know, unless you're a geography teacher or a diplomat, have no idea where Tallinn is located or anything about the city. I was in that camp until I was selected for this adventure. Tallinn is Estonia's capital that lies on its Baltic Sea coast. It's a two hour cruise ride from Helsinki. Departing the boat, you take a short walk to Old Town Tallinn. A walled city, there are two parts, Upper and Lower Town. At the top of the Upper Town, you will find the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

This cathedral was constructed during the Russian occupation of Estonia, so it wasn't exactly a hit with the local population. One of the themes of Tallinn is occupation and independence. There are other church buildings such as St. Mary's, also known as the Dome Cathedral, in the Upper Town. One of the hallmarks of touring the Baltic region is visiting massive church buildings.

Perhaps the best decision we made in Tallinn was to take the 2 hour walking tour. Our local guide, who worked for tips, was incredibly informative about the history of Estonia. We learned about the area where the origin of the Danish flag is said to have taken place. The Danes were losing a battle in Estonia when allegedly the flag drifted down from heaven which lead them to gain momentum and win.
Having a guide also leads you to spectacular views of the city. They're located in hard to find places, so it was nice to have an experienced hand to take us there.

One of the great things about Tallinn is that it is less expensive than other Baltic cities. We had a fabulous meal at the Pegasus restaurant. Roasted chicken and vegetables with some of the best bread I have ever eaten. Tallinn is also a place to load up on chocolate. Find the Kalev chocolate shop and purchase excellent bars of deliciousness for not a high price.

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