I’m amazed how quickly you can get to know a city riding the bus. We’ve headed out in all four directions from our place on Suur Ameerika 37 and I enjoy seeing buses now with neighborhoods we’ve visited, either by choice or by accident.
Alice and I are good at planning half the time. The other half we try to wing it and then realise we should have planned it better. Live and learn! Though this is a lesson we keep learning.
The kids, even though they complain at times, “Dad, where are we going?!” I have to laugh and think a big part of me is thinking the same thing as we ride a bus to the very end of the line and then have to jump off (we wait till everyone else gets off) and grab another bus back the way we came. For some reason I assumed all buses made round trips, but not all countries do it like our fair New Zealand or in the States.
Tallinn has surprised me. We went to Kiek in de Kok today, “This massive, 38m-high cannon tower houses an extensive museum of the town’s fortifications, weapons and medieval-era life.”. The tower’s name literally means, “Peek into the Kitchen”, and it houses 850 years of Estonian history through it’s arms and armour.
What struck me was the woman who took us four aside and gave us a personal tour, complete with wonderful hand gestures that had me understanding her Estonian and broken English perfectly well, she was amazing! That’s the thing I love most is being somewhere new, wanting to learn, and having someone like this fall into our laps. She had us laughing by the end and I was so grateful I wanted to hug her.
Some things about Estonia I want to remember:
- It’s friendlier than Latvia, but I think I loved Latvia more only because it was my first foreign country in Europe
- Estonia has a quiet pride and a reserved optimisim
- Estonia is flat and beautiful, and I’ve even considered living here
- There are blueberries and raspberries everywhere; what’s not to like about that
- You can do anything here as long as you book ahead
- The Baltics are Eastern Europe but I’m all about supporting the underdog
- I’ll never forget the phrase “Viva!!” used by the two court jesters at the jousting tournament – it was so hot that day but they gave it their ALL
- Latvia revels in its rough edges, and Estonia is busy remodelling
- Estonia has a great balance between high-rise apartments and green spaces
We’re packing this weekend and then we’re off to Germany, Luxembourg, France and we’ll end up in Belgium for a house and dog sit for a month. Can’t wait.
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