After I got settled in last night, I went to bed round 9:00. I woke up feeling so refreshed, and I thought surely it had to be 4 or 5 something. Negative. It was 1:00. I laid there for hours, and I finally drifted off right when it was time to get up again.
I walked around a lot today. According to my phone, I walked 30,030 steps and 11.3 miles. I can believe. I did this walk that was in my guidebook, and I did some backtracking when things caught my eye, which means I saw somethings twice.
I have begun posting pictures. You will see duplicates from the pictures I took yesterday during my random walking when I got 18,223 steps but part of those was airport. I will share the link once I am able to save to my share site. In the meantime, here are some.
The areas I explored were Toompea and Old Town. Toompea is where the feudal nobility lived when the Germans occupied. The area basically overlooks Old Town.
I used Viru Gate to get in, which is where the walk was supposed to end. I made my way up to the first stop and saw St. Nicholas’s Church on the way up. The church was damaged in 1944 by Soviet bombers and a fire in 1980. It has been restored and is now a museum. Since it’s Monday, the museums were closed. There is a tree behind the church (it survived the bombings and fire) that is believed to be 340 to 350 years old.
The walk officially began in Freedom Square, which is a plaza. It was completed in 2009. The plaza is located outside of the former town gates. There are remains of the former town gates there covered under glass. During the summer, they have concerts there, and it is popular with skateboarders. There is also a church there, St. John’s Lutheran Church, but it, like a lot of places, is being renovated.
I then went to Harjumagi because I assumed it was Linda Hills. I discovered it wasn’t when I was walking down and saw the sign.
I ventured off the walk and went to Kiek in de Kok, which is a cannon tower built in 1475. It was damaged during the Livonian War, and according to my guidebook, nine of Ivan the Terrible’s cannonballs are still embedded in the walls. But it’s still standing. I take that as a metaphor for whatever life has brought me or you. We are still standing!
At this point in time, I went a little ahead of the tour and visited the Danish’s Kings garden.
To get back on track, I backtracked and went to Linda Hills, which has Linden Trees that are 250 years old. The hill was named after the wife of an Estonian leader who is greatly respected.
Then saw the Toompea Castle, which is now Estonia’s parliament. Catherine the Great converted the old castle into a palace.
Next stop was Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral. The ceilings were so high, but photos were not allowed inside. I am always impressed how reverent some people are in the sanctuary. I then went to St. Mary’s Lutheran Cathedral, but it was closed. It was originally Catholic, but now it’s Lutheran. It was founded in 1233 but completed in the 15th century.
Then to two lookouts with great views of the city. Funny story, I would later climb up to one thinking it was something different. I was like wait a minute; I have been here before. I was too tired to laugh and down I went.
I went through various gates. The first was Short Leg Gate Tower, which is believed to be haunted. Then Long Leg Gate Tower. Saw views of the Lower Town Wall. Went around and around to Fat Margaret, which was a cannon tower that protected the entrance to Old Town, and through the Great Coast Gate.
St. Olaf’s Church is closed for renovations.
Saw a former KGB headquarters. People who questioned the Russian leadership were tortured there.
Saw the Brotherhood of the Blackheads. Their patron was St. Maurice, who was an African-born Roman soldier. Saw St. Olaf’s Guide Hall, St Canute’s Guild Hall and Great Guild Hall. When I say saw, I mean from the outside.
Then to the Holy Spirit Church, which was closed. I wanted to see the altarpiece, which dates back to 1483.
I went to Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats). I love the old squares. This one reminded me of Bruges by the colors and the building shapes. It has been the heart of the city since the 11th century. Some of the building date back to the 15th to 17th centuries. Tallinn’s town hall was completed in 1404 and is believed to be the only surviving Gothic town hall in Northern Europe. I think seeing the Christmas Market would be epic. I can also imagine markets and concerts during the summer.
Oh. I also saw St. Catherine’s Cloister. The monastery was founded in 1246, but it was set on fire by Lutherans in 1524. It was partially restored in 1954. St. Peter and St. Paul’s Catholic Cathedral was closed, but I was able to see St. Nicholas’ Orthodox Church, again no pictures.
Then back to the hotel for a short break.
I then took a tram to Kadriorg Park. It was so beautiful with its fall colors and fallen leaves. While I was walking, some were jogging or making their way home after work. Peter the Great commissioned the park and the Kadriorg Palace for his wife, Catherine I, between 1718 and 1736. It was used for their summer residence. The palace is now a museum. The former kitchen is also a museum. Saw the presidential palace and a cottage Peter I used while the palace was being built. It was such a nice park, but darkness was falling. I ended up walking back. It wasn’t that far.
It is not as cold as I thought it would be. It rained some yesterday, but it was tolerable. Today there was little rain. I am not the only off-season traveler here. In fact, I saw a tour being done by Viking Cruises.
Tallinn is a UNESCO listed capital. Estonia has been occupied by the Danish, Swedish, Russians, Germans and then the Russians again. They officially became independent in 1991 and joined the EU in 2004.
The city and population are small, and I hear that it’s crazy when you have five cruises docked.
I am debating traveling during the shoulder season. There is less light, but there are also less crowds and it’s more affordable.
Edits when I get home!