Monday, May 28, 2012

Tallinn, in all it's first day glory

6am found us ILP girls bleary, slightly scary looking (well, at least me) and stumbling off the bus into Tallinn, Estonia!!! We headed to the hostel first, dropped off our stuff, and headed into the city!! As ready as we were to start seeing the city, the city apparently wasn't too ready for us.  People live much more laid back lifestyles here, and nothing in the Baltic States is ever open before 10am.  So, we ended up taking refuge in a little tiny cafe where we got some hot chocolate and had our fortunes told by Madam Zelda (aka - Areil's gypsy alter ego)
Madam Zelda, controlling and foretelling the fates of the future, armed with nothing more than a deck of cards.
Elise, being a mystic gypsy princess
 After the rest of Tallinn deciding to get their rears in gear, we started our sight seeing splurge!!  Little explanation of Tallinn - it's similar to Vilnius, except strangely medieval themed and very touristy. 
Apparently, people in Tallinn are generally pretty superstitious, and believed that the devil used to have a wedding every year somewhere in the world, and that one such wedding was once held in Tallinn.  The story starts out with a strange man who came into town, checked into this hotel, and went up to his room.  A while later, the hotel staff heard a party going on, even though no one else had gone upstairs but this man.  The owner sent a bell boy upstairs to investigate, but the boy never came back.  He sent a maid up to check as well, but she never returned either. Finally, the owner crept upstairs, looked through the window, and saw the devil's wedding going on.  After the townspeople found out, they told the hotel owner that had had two choices - close down his hotel,or completely brick up the room where the devil's wedding had been held.  Now, if you look closely in this picture, you'll notice that the owner chose the later option, and the top left window is actually fake since the owner bricked over everything in that room.
And this here is called "Cats Well".  Why, you may ask? Simple.  After the incident with the devil's wedding occurred, the people warded off bad luck by sacrificing cats in this well, since that's obviously the first thing you would do to ward off such evil.
Oh, this is a gem.  There was a building in Tallinn that was once used as woman's housing, and there was this guy in the building across the street who apparently was renowned for creeping on these girls through the window.  Apparently, he was so well known for this little habit, that they put up a creeper statue in his honor on top of the window of the building he'd creep out of.  Hurray for weirdos.
Church of St. Nicholas
Beautiful painting depicting the crucifixion, which was housed in St. Nicholas
Floor stones in St. Nicholas
I really liked this painting - you can't see it very well in the picture, but it depicts Adam and Eve, the star of David, and the crucifixion of Christ all in one painting.  It was a beautiful combination, and reminded me of our Father's Plan of Happiness, which helps explain where we came from and our purpose in this life (HERE)
This is amazing - it's a painting titled "The Dance of Death", and pictures Death (characterized as skeletons) dancing with various characters ranging from the Pope and King to a peasant child. From what I understand, this painting was commissioned during the Black Plague, and was meant as a statement of the equality of men in death.  
This one's for Carissa - we were exploring a little vintage bookstore in Tallinn, and I found  a copy of Brian Jacques!! It may not be Redwall, but it was still pretty exciting :)
Oh, you know.  Just a bear playing an accordion.
A street re-purposed as an art gallery - people would hang their paintings on this wall and sell them to people as they'd walk by.
Not sure where it originated, but this church is said to be cursed, and is consequently always under construction. 
Back of the construction-cursed church :)
This lovely chap was chilling out on a street corner armed with reindeer horns and a guitar, and serenaded us as we walked by. 
Shrek was also friends with the reindeer guitar man.  They shared a street.
 After was had wandered around the city a bit, we finally got to where we were heading - the town wall!! This is an old wall that originally circled around Tallinn, but now is located in Old Town.
Sideways tree by the Town Wall

Archery woman at the town wall.

After we had finished looking around the town wall, we all ended up stretching out on the grass and taking a power nap. Turns out, it's pretty tiring to stay up on a bus all night, then walk around a city for a couple hours :) 

After we had wandered around the city a little bit more, we grabbed some lunch from a tiny glorious medieval restaurant run by the Jillian Michaels of cookery.  She's crazy.  For example, she got on one couples case for not bringing their own spoons to eat with, and made them sing a Estonian song to earn their silverware.  Probably pretty embarrassing for them, but pretty entertaining for us :)  Anyway, after we had finished our delicious medieval meal of elk strew and meat pies, we headed to the hostel to prep ourselves for THE OPERA!! Janese was awesome and organized going to La Traviata (not sure if it's really grammatically necessary to put that in italics... but it seems much fancier than regular font, and operas seem worthy of fancy text) which I'm not going to explain plotwise, so if you want to read about it, click HERE.
The opera house!! See? Definitely fancy and italics worthy.
Bailey and I at the opera.
All of us girls (photo courtesy of the lovey couple in front of us)
The opera was awesome!! First one I've been too, and I actually really enjoyed it.  I'll admit, there were a couple moments when I would relax into the music, close my eyes to enjoy the peaceful sound of her voice, and then immediately have my ears melted by the triple-high-extra-loud-G that she whipped out of nowhere.  Still, it was a beautiful opera! Loved it, and I feel extra cultured now.

1 comment:

  1. I've been to that opera house! It was to see a ballet...and I can't, at the moment, remember which one. But it's beautiful. (Although I tend to think the opera house in Riga is more beautiful--and I've heard it's a miniature of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.) I had forgotten that artists' street, but seeing the pic reminded me that I've been there. And, I loved the story of the devil's wedding and sacrificing cats. Never heard those before!