Thursday, April 24, 2008

Heading Home

It was Bryan and Jennifer's last day. On our way to the airport we made a quick stop at the sweater market in the old town wall for a final purchase.

Then it was on to the airport where the cousins said a fond farewell after a great week together.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More Travels

We drove from Narva to Tartu, where everyone got to pretend they were wearing traditional Estonian clothes.

At the monument to the two Wildes, Eduard and Oscar.

At the old Tartu University observatory.

On the "Bridge of Sighs" near the ruins of the Dome Church.
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Peter looked pretty good on the bridge!

At the top of Jaani Kirik (St. John's Church) where you could see much of Tartu.

At the statue of the kissing students in front of Tartu's town hall.

Inside the windmill restaurant in Adavere.
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The restaurant is built inside an old windmill, and you can to to the very top and look out at the countryside.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Puka Eestis (Vacation in Estonia)

Today we took in the sights outside of Tallinn. Our first stop was the city of Rakvere, home of one of the best preserved castles in Estonia.

Unfortunately, the castle grounds do not open until 1 May, but one of the workers left an entrance door open (behind Elizabeth) and so we innocently went in and got a glimpse of the inside before being told we had to leave.

Even from the outside, the Rakvere Castle is impressive.

There are many nooks, crannies and passageways to explore.

We walked all around the outside of the castle.

Elizabeth, Peter and Evelyn on one of the Rakvere Castle walls.

From Rakvere, we headed to Narva. We picked up Elizabeth's friend Sofia (daughter of the Narva corps officers), and headed to the Narva Castle, which not only is a beautiful castle but also houses a museum.

From the observation deck at the very top you can look across the Narva River into Russia. On the other side of the river is a Russian castle that was built to oppose the Narva Castle during Livonian times.

Jen, Chris and Bryan inside the Narva Castle.

Outside of the castle, with Russia to their backs.

Exploring some of the ruins on the castle grounds.

On the grounds of Narva Castle, Lenin points the way back to Russia.

Monday, April 21, 2008

First Day of Vacation

Today is the first day of our two-week-long vacation. We spent much of the day taking in more of the sights with Bryan and Jen.

We had lunch at a restaurant Chris found with his friends called Eat. They serve palmenid, which are Russian dumplings, and are filled with things like minced pork, minced turkey, spinach or potato. They ar really tasty and everyone loved them.

A close-up view of Peter's palmenid.

After lunch, we went to the Museum of the Occupation of Estonia, which looks at the years when the Soviets, then the Nazis, and then again the Soviets took over the country. It is a moving experience to see all that happened.
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Also at the museum, Bhudist monks were creating a sand mandala. It was interesting to see the care and detale they put into their art.

In front of Pikk Hermann (Tall Herman), the tower next to the parlament building where the Estonian flag is proudly flown.

Back at home, they played a board game we got at the Kalev chocolate store where you travel around Estonia collecting things, and the more chocolate you eat the stronger you are!
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another Day in Tallinn

Today, Jen & Bryan joined us at the corps, helping out in the band and hanging out with our young people. By mid-afternoon, we were ready to take in a few more sights in Tallinn. We went to the Nunna, Sauna and Kuldjala Towers, which are medieval towers that are part of the original city walls. The three towers are connected by a walkway that stands about three storys high. It is a great example of architecture of the time. For description of the towers, click here.

We were joined by a bunch of friends from the corps, which added to the fun. Here we are in Nunna tower, which is one of the larger towers.

Walking between the towers, you could look over the railings on the inner city wall, or look through the small openings on the outer city wall, which you could imagine soldiers peering through when the city was under seige.

A the top of Sauna Tower, the smallest of the three, you could see the interior of the red tile roof that is part of Old Town Tallinn's character. We could only fit Chris, Jen, Elizabeth, Keit, Priit, Bryan and Peter.
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Kuldjala Tower was the biggest of the three. From the very top you had a clear view of Old Town. The interior gave you a good look at the ancient stone work.

Our group on the walkway connecting the towers.

A closer view of our group: Kristi, Michael, Elizabeth, Keit, Bryan, Priit, Evelyn, Peter (peeking through the railing), Chris and Jen.

You went in to and out of the tower through this small doorway.
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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Day in Tallinn

We spent the day in Tallinn with Bryan & Jen. We visited a Middle Ages market that was set up in Raekoja Plats (Town Hall Square), walked through the sweater market in the old town wall, explored some of the interesting hidden spots like St. Catherine's Passage and walked through Viru Keskus (okay, this is a big shopping mall)--and this was all before lunch. After lunch, we headed to Oleviste Kirik (St. Olev's Church) to go up to the viewing platform. The church is behind the kids and the viewing platform goes around the building by the short spires you can see near the top.

It was a long walk up a narrow and winding stairway with 257 steps (Jen counted!).

They were exhausted and had to stop at this resting place half-way up.

But the view at the top was worth it!
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