Friday, 6 June 2014

Week 5 – Latvia and Estonia

Week 5 – Latvia and Estonia
Crossed border into Latvia, couldn't find much difference in (our sixth) new country until read tourist pamphlets. Forget churches, museums, monuments, options for Tookums are:
  • Former fields of Horticultural Centre
  • Winter Compass Collection
  • Pharmacy in the Municipal Council House
  • The Maize Maze
  • The thickest wild pear tree in Latvia
Totally spoilt for choice!! But our personal favourite is the Enclosures for Domestic Animals adapted to Wildlife (dogs to dingoes? pigs to boars? Tarzan??)

Riga was beautiful with its Art Nouveau buildings. Walked the market square, read the river’s legend, had to wait for 11.00am official start to breakfast - how very Continental!





Riga's Cathedral restoration was magnificent. European churches are full of war statues, crests, memorials and paintings of battles and victims - this one had knights in armour.

Stylised characteristics would not be acceptable today....

Into Estonia - 7th country. Through Tartu, university town, more modern than capital, full of young energetic people cycling and rollerblading everywhere. Estonia is so flat, personal wheels make sense. Signs are becoming more readable, more vowels, Nordic influence.

Drove out to Narva up to Russian border, river in midst of town. Visited Orthodox Church of Resurrection, almost only building left intact following WWII.  Walked through Hermann castle, pretty setting on hill, ruins of Victoria bastion, fort, old moat. Despite strong Russian influence we see in ex-Soviet states (language, churches, positive stories on tours) some places are more parochial/ independent. Lenin was removed out back next to toilets.....

Different audience than in real life....

Detoured to look at Valaste waterfall, falling down limestone cliffs 60mts above sea level.


Arrived Tallinn. Found ourselves in midst of Old Town Days festival, drank aromatic spiced beer/wine alongside medieval game feast. Explored shops of amber, linen and wool. Sat in free concerts, drummers, dancers. Of all spires, could only find one church to enter - record!

Look into my eyes.. no my other eyes....


Camped at Kivi Talu “caravan park”, more a Scandi man's paradise -sauna, solarium, hot tub, pub, photos of monkeys smoking, carved wooden mermaid on pond…but only one (unisex) shower in whole place! 
Tallinn Harbour

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