What I thought was a closely held secret between my long-time friend Tobin and I (okay, I told Joan) is not really a secret anymore. Tallin, Estonia is only 25 miles away from Helsinki by ferry so it’s no wonder (wander?) it has been discovered. This city, the capital of the former Soviet state of Estonia is argued to be the best preserved Medieval city in Europe. The Europeans sort of have a “meh” attitude toward these kinds of things, but they do come here to shop for cheap booze so I’m told. But leave it to the Asians (especially the Chinese) and cruise ships to completely over run the place. I wish I would have discovered it 10 years ago. Or, perhaps as my friend Tobin did…during late winter.
The ferry was interesting. It’s only two hours and Joan and I (not knowing what to expect) paid an extra 12 euros to have access to what we thought would be a seat in a café. It turned out to be a private meeting-like room with coffee and drink service with snacks. Joan thought it was the best 12 euros we spent on the entire trip but I found the people outside the room way too interesting to spend much time there.
Tallin is an enigma and has a most wonderful history. On our first day we took a guided walking tour of the old city center. I loved the tidbits of history that our excellent tour guide gave. It’s simply amazing that so much of the medieval core has survived so many invasions and wars. The Russian influence (they’re right next door and Estonia was part of the USSR) is obvious. But it pleases me that the Estonians have kept their national identity through all these, ahem, “inconveniences.” Some occupations lasted for only hours before someone else took over. Our tour guide summed it up best in describing the significance of the colors of the Estonian flag which is blue, black, and white. He said “they’ve beat us black and blue and we’ve occasionally raised the white flag.” Tour guide humor isn’t usually my thing, but that one made me chuckle.My overall take of Estonia, and particularly of Tallin, is that they’ve beaten so many odds. I give them credit for just being where they are. I’m glad I went to Scandinavia. It’s complicated for such a sparsely populated region of the world, and, in all honesty…I can’t bear being that close to the Artic circle. Will I go back? Probably not. Am I glad I went? Definitely, yes! Just look at Tallin!
The final place I left Ray’s ashes on this trip.
PS: I wrote this final post on the Surface 2 Pro (maybe 3) that I left at home. The experiment is over. It was so much easier…while I love my Android devices for most everyday stuff, Microsoft ain’t dead yet. I’m gettin’ the new one. Because this show must go on.