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Among My Souvenirs

Stories of the road

A Pleasant Surprise

On our Scandinavian tour a stop was scheduled for Tallinn, Estonia. The cruise ship offered a few shore excursions but several of us just decide to leave the ship with map in hand and explore. And although I may have missed all the history of the place, what I received instead was a wonderful day filled with memories of a quaint little medieval town that I enjoyed immensely.

Tallinn, Estonia was first found on a map in the year 1124, later becoming an official town in the year 1248. It is the capital city of Estonia on the Baltic Sea and the country’s cultural hub. It retains its walled, cobblestoned Old Town, home to cafes and shops, as well as Kiek in de Kök, a 15th-century defensive tower. Its Gothic Town Hall, built in the 13th century and with a 64m-high tower, sits in historic Tallinn’s main square.

Estonia has had a “colorful” history parked as she is on the edge of the oftentimes brutally cold Baltic Sea that is a combination of saltwater and a large percentage of fresh water from the rivers that flow into her. Although less salty than pure ocean water, it really is not drinkable. Fortunately, there is plenty of fresh water inland.

She is surrounded by strong and hostile neighbors often being a pawn between Russia (later Soviet Union) and Germany. Estonia regained independence in 1991 in the course of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and joined the European Union and NATO in 2004.

We loved Tallinn! From the port we rode the hop-on, hop-off bus to the top of the hill with its sweeping vistas of the Baltic, the port and the city itself. From there, we slowly made our way into the town center, stopping to peak in little shops and churches along the way until we eventually ended in Freedom Square.

Gratefully, the day was sunny with a touch of cool sea air. We found an outdoor café and a pleasant waitress before heading back to our assigned stop to hop back on the bus and return to the ship. Tallinn is one of those places where you become enchanted, surprised and grateful you took the time to stop and walk and enjoy all she had to offer.