Favorite Quote

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel,
read only one page." St. Augustine of Hippo

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tallinn, Estonia Day 3

Another wonderful day in Tallinn!  Today my objective is to just look more closely at the things that I seem to walk by.  Check out this view.  This is what I see when my back is to our hotel.  I love it here!

And a closer look at the Great Sea Gate once I get through.  I didn't notice the cross on the gate before.

Those of you that know me pretty good, know that I have been to Boleslawiec, Poland many times shopping for Polish pottery.  One of my favorite places to shop is a small area called "The Three Sisters".  So, after I found out that these buildings here are called "The Three Sisters", I started thinking that I REALLY need to do another Polish pottery run!

This "Three Sisters"  is actually three merchant houses that merge into each other.  Their history can be traced all the back to at least 1362.  For over 600 years the owners of these houses were Guilds elders, town mayors and even members of the city magistrate.    

Here is a view looking the other direction.  The middle house has actually been turned into a 5 star hotel called (appropriately enough) The Three Sisters Hotel.  The Queen of England, the Emperor of Japan and Lennart Meri (former president of Estonia) have all stayed here.

Ron and I ate here with one of our friends one night.  The food was good (LOVED the fried brown garlic bread!!) and learned that "hell hunt" is actually Estonian for "gentle wolf".  One of our Estonian friends asked me if I believe that there could be a gentle wolf and I told her 'of course'.  We had a dog that was half Great Dane and half wolf.  He was a very gentle giant.

I did not see any Hop On Hop Off buses here in November but this little blue train was kept very busy.  It was always full every time it passed me.

This is their garlic bread.  Ron and I were introduced to this when we did an eight day tour of the Baltics back in 2006.  It is AMAZING.  The dark brown bread is fried and that is garlic on it with a garlic mayonnaise.  YUMMY!  I am very happy that Ron loves it as much as I do so I don't need to worry so much about garlic breath.

I've actually showed pictures of the town hall already, but still, I noticed things today that I have not noticed in the past.

Such as this!

And, on top of the Town hall, there is a weather vane that is called "Old Tooma" by the locals.  This one is a replica, but the original was made in 1530 and not resides in the city museum.   And, of course, there is a story to go with it.

Supposedly, there was a poor widow that lived here.  As is the case with all mothers, her pride and joy was her son Toomas.  He was very good with his bow and arrow and every year, he eagerly watched the annual archer's contest that was held in May in front of the great Sea Gate, in the Parrot's Garden.

A painted, wooden parrot was placed on a high pole, and the person who knocked the bird off its pedestal was awarded the Silver Cup of the Great Guild.  One day, before the start of the contest, little  Toomas came to the Parrot's Garden.  He had become the best archer in his age group but as his family was poor, the other kids began mocking him (as kids do even today).  Without thinking, he shot his arrow at the wooden parrot and knocked it off of its pedestal.

Instead of being awarded the title "King of the Archers" he was reprimanded and he had to return the parrot to its pole.  The news of what he had done, spread through the town and his mother was afraid that he was going to be punished.  But, as all good stories go, this is not the outcome.  The elder of the Great Guild offered Toomas a position in the town watch as an apprentice.  This was wonderful for this poor family as the Guild supplied the watchmen with clothing and food.

As the years passed little Toomas grew into a man.  He fought in the Livonian Wars and became the 'standard bearer' which was seen as a great honor.  By then he became known as Old Toomas, and since he had a mustache and dressed exactly as the warrior figure on the weather vane, the town people called the weather vane 'Old Toomas' in honor of him.

Sorry it's blurry ... the zoom isn't as good as I would like on this little camera.

And I've had some of my family members ask me what I shop for in Tallinn.  I love the sweaters, the scarves, socks, hats, wooden items and amber.  There are a lot of amber stores here in Tallinn.

And this is the Wheel Well Monument.  The first time a wheel well in Tallinn was mentioned was in 1375.   It was a functioning well however, it contained an enormous amount of limestone and could not be used for drinking.  It remained in use until the mid 19th century.

And look Ron!  Another antique store but unfortunately this one was closed.  I do plan to go back and see if I can find it opened one day this week.

Texas and now Arizona?  Am I in the US or Estonia?  :)

One of my favorite places to shop is along the town walls.  Many people sell all kinds of Estonian goods here.

 A short walk through here to get to St. Catherine's Passage.

This is St. Catherine's Passage which you can find off of the Southern wall of the St. Catherine's church.  This passage has contained medieval artisan workshops since 1995 and you can watch the masters of the St. Catherine's Guild work.  If you want to try to make stained glass items, clay figures or any other form of art, the masters are happy to take you on as an apprentice.

Part of the old wall that you can actually walk on top of.  I hope to do this one day this week.

I need to find a present for Jackson and Jaiden.  :)  I wonder if they would like a sweater something like this?

I can just feel the history of this beautiful town!

And more sweaters, gloves, hats, socks.  I really like the gloves with the reindeer.

I saw this in a window of a store and really liked it.  The store staff saw me looking at it and came out to talk to me.  She said I had VERY GOOD TASTE.  Whenever someone says that to me Ron will say "that means it's expensive".   And he is always right.  Oh well.  It was pretty.

 I really, really, really like all the medieval towers.

OK, so far we've seen a Texas canteen, an Arizona saloon and now a Georgia tavern.  I'll pretend it's referring to the state instead of the country. 

OK, enough of this day.  More later.

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