Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 3: Tallinn, Estonia

Tom and I wanted to go somewhere outside Tallinn for a day, and decided on the city of Tartu.  Tartu is the second largest city on Estonia, with 100,000 people, and is a major university town.  Now, the story of how we got to Tartu involves an almost, accidental trip to Helsinki, Finland.

In order to get to Tartu we had to catch a tram to the main bus station for a two and a half hour bus trip.  Easier said than done.  After getting one what we thought was the correct tram and getting off at what we thought was the correct stop, and walking in what we though was the correct direction, Tom and I realised that we were lost, and far from the bus station.  Once we figured this out we got on another tram, thinking it was in the right direction, it was not.  Long story short: we ended up by the harbour, near the ferry terminal to Stockholm and Helsinki.  Helsinki is two and a half hours away and about 20 euros each way.

"Let's just go to Helsinki." Said Tom, clearly exasperated by the whole ordeal (We had already decided that I was not allowed to hold the map anymore).  I thought about it for a few seconds and decided to do it.  Why not?  I would go to a country I haven't been to before and have a cool story about how I got there.  Then I remembered that my passport was in the hostel.  CURSES!!!!

We ended up at the bus station in time to get the bus; Helsinki next time.

Lunch in a restaurant with a mirrored ceiling.
After we had lunch we walked up the hill to look at the old town area.  Tartu's cathedral was built sometime in the 13th century.  In the mid-16th century the cathedral began its slow decline until the 1760s when it was mostly destroyed and the roof used as a cannon position for the then-occupying Swedish forces.  In 1802 Tsar Alexandr I order the re-founding of the University of Dorpat (a German speaking university) in Tartu.  The ruins of the cathedral were used to house the new university's library.  A three story library was built in the quire (central/east end) of the cathedral.  In 1981 the old library was converted into the University of Tartu Museum, and the building was extended east into the chancel to accommodate the new library.  Everything west of the crossing is still ruins.  

The east end, housing the library.

This is a sculpture in the front of the building.  It reminds me of a game pieces from Sorry.

The ruined end of the cathedral.

Looking out the west door of the nave.


This is me doing the pose mom always does in pictures.  It is supposed to make you look skinnier.

'Owning' Tartu.  A la Emily.

"Where's Emily?"

Looking east towards the library/museum.  This is the south aisle of the cathedral.  

Tom and I.  We were so far north that the sun was setting at about 3pm.

Apparently I was doing something naughty, and had to be told off.  

This is called the stone of sacrifice.  Pagan Estonians used to bring offers here for the gods.  It is right next to the cathedral ruins.  

No caption needed.

This made me think of mom and grandma.  They both collect rooster stuff.

The church of St John the Baptist.

This is the face Tom makes when I see another church.

The seal of the city of Tartu.

Random, derelict orthodox church.

The leaning building of Tartu.  The building is actually leaning quite a bit, but it is hard to tell in this picture.  I have never been to Pisa, but if I do go there some day I will take a similar picture.  

I think Tom might be in love with this woman.  What will he do when he finds out she can never return his affection?

We got back to Tallinn (after almost missing what could have been the last bus, and I met what could be the only Estonian who does not speak English) for our planned night of drunkenness.  

Absinthe.  Life choices?

Flaming absinthe.  Worse life choices?

We found this American themed bar, but we could not stay.    I will say that the person who owns and/or manages this bar has clearly never been to America.
We had a great time, and neither of us was hung over the next day.  HOORAY!!!!

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