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Journal #43 - Estonia

Snow-capped grey stone towers lining medieval street with lights and coat-wearing pedestrians
Old Town Tallinn by Mrs. Wanderer

Tere from Estonia! 

We arrived here in the winter and were both thrilled with the new landscape while simultaneously frozen stiff. Despite the cold, most of our time was spent outside walking through the snowy Christmas Markets and quaint old-town sections of the capital. This was the first time either of us had visited any of the Baltic states and we were energized to get out and see everything we could.

Red and white ferry with metal boarding ramp
Baltic Sea Ferry by Mr. Wanderer

We began with a ferry. Mr. Wanderer and I boarded the boat in Finland and crossed the Baltic Sea – which in the middle of this polar season reflected such a dark blue hue that it almost appeared black. We had been cold during our visit to Helsinki, but something about those wind patterns made our arrival in Tallinn frigid. I thought my face would turn to stone just walking into town to hunt down our hotel.  

Wooden stall with hanging cauldrons of food and wreaths with lights for decor
Steaming Christmas Market Stall by Mr. Wanderer

We were able though (after bundling up in layers from tip to tail) to investigate Tallinn’s Old Town. There were beautiful structures including Epping Tower and St. Olaf’s Church. We were charmed by the Town Hall Square, particularly its festooning which added spirit to the lively Christmas Market happening in the center. There were wooden stalls roasting sausages and sauerkraut while passing out cups of mead and other spiked beverages.  

Stone tavern with wooden fire place and other clay and whicker bibs and bobs
Tallinn Tavern by Mrs. Wanderer

It was around this area that we found a tavern/restaurant equipped with ladies speaking “old-time-y" and calling the guests out for being a “witch” if they were caught using magic devices (such as a cell phone or flashlight). Here we were served in wooden bowls elbow-to-elbow with our fellow patrons, helping to keep each other warm. The crackling fire and low ceilings made the whole experience feel like we took a step back in time.  

Snow-dusted church with black onion domes and stained glass
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral by Mrs. Wanderer

Much of our visit to Tallinn had that effect. We felt allured by the quaint nature of the whole town and loved our time spent weaving through the streets. Our final activity here was attending a professional basketball game. We caught a match between a team from Estonia and one from Latvia, which was perfect for us. It was relatively small-scale, closer in fan volume to a high school game from back home; but, it was fun to cheer on the players and see a different part of town along the way. 

Two adult mens basketball teams on the court for tip-off
Estonian Basketball by Mr. Wanderer

Not wanting to lose some of the magic experienced here, we did not venture too far for our next stop. Plus we wanted to take full advantage of owning coats and hats while we have them. Our next nation was home to the first patent of riveted work pants (what we now call blue jeans). Any guesses where we are off to next? 

Pink building with white trimming next to a wintry garden
Estonian Parliament by Mrs. Wanderer