Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday August 29, 2015

Talinn, Estonia today. Lovely weather -- cool (upper 60's) with sun and clouds. Private guide today from Saku Travel. Her name was Marie and she was charming, friendly and knowledgeable. We met at 9:00 and proceeded to do a walking tour of the old town. Talinn still has a lot of its old town walls and towers. Also, the old town includes cobbled streets, medieval buildings, the Parliament building, an interesting Lutheran Church, a Russian Orthodox Church, embassies, shops (with better than average merchandise) and a lovely cafe where we stopped for a Viennese coffee (espresso with chocolate and whipped cream) and a local specialty sweet. 

View of Talinn from Boat
With tour guide Marie
Old street -- very atmospheric 
More typical street scene
Original city watch towers
Fantastic shot Russell!
Russian Orthodox Church 

After our walking trip we were joined by Juri with the company van for a driving tour outside the city. We saw a charming park filled with locals enjoying an end-of-summer festival. Also, local houses, the Presidential Palace and garden, a nunnery complete with ruins of a church, people jogging by the water and just generally doing what people do on a Saturday afternoon in late summer. We stopped for lunch at Noa, a chic waterside restaurant with a view (distant) of Talinn, old and new.

Amphitheater where Estonians hold a choral singing festival every five years. Up to 30,000 singers and over 100,000 spectators!
Hopped into lap of this statue and promptly split my pants! Thanks a lot Mr. Viennese Coffee!
View from lunch restaurant 

My impression of the country was very favorable. It seemed much more prosperous than I imagined that it would be. Marie told me about the country's e-voting which has been active for ten plus years . She also said that Estonia has a reputation as the Silicon Valley of this area because there are so many Internet businesses (the founders of Skype were from Estonia). It's a progressive country that's really accomplished a lot since becoming independent. 

Bread box and wooden butter spreaders
Dessert -- why not I've already split my pants!

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