June 6, 2013

getting lost

I never met a Medieval town I didn't like. Tallinn's Old Town did not disappoint. Here the streets and buildings are colorful, curving and cobblestoned. My inner Rapunzel felt happily at home. In Raekoja Plats, the town square, it really reaches a crescendo as the area is usually crawling with tourists, people dressed as wenches and pirates and rickshaw hawkers. I tried to avoid this square as much as possible, running across it quickly, ducking into one of the winding lanes that curl into or away from it. After a day of exploring on our own, my boyfriend and I took one of the free tours given by the local students. I'm not one for tour groups but this one was pretty fantastic. Two hours of walking around the antiquated hamlet covering much of what we already saw but I recommend it for the stories and nuggets of history you wouldn't learn otherwise. While exploring, two things we were told about and I regretted not seeing were passageways under the city walls and the old pharmacy, The Raeapteek which was closed the day I tried to get in. Yet in the few days we kept returning to Old Town we took in plenty, eating and drinking our way (more on that later) through the stony lanes. Some highlights and things not to be missed or forgotten... handcrafted souvenirs in Katarina Käik (Estonia is highly regarded for ceramics, woodcrafts and woolen knits), a quick tour the Fotomuuseum, climbing a tower and sipping a refreshment on the castle wall at the Dannebrog Cafe and watching the sunset on one of the viewing platforms in the Toompea neighborhood.

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