Even though it’s Labor Day weekend, the weather doesn’t seem to show any indication that it’s going to cool down anytime soon- I’ve been busy getting my swim on (actually the first time this summer- shocker, right?) trying in vain to rid myself of the tan lines that developed from my recent morning jogs.
Anyways, we had a day at sea in between Berlin and our next port of Tallinn, Estonia, which led to one beautifully sunny day that involved a lot of laying out on the balcony and just dozing off to the sound of waves. Oh and me entering the “Speed Sudoku” game on the ship and winning. Although I’d like to think I’m faster than average at Sudoku, there were only 6 other people competing (including my dad, who gave up within 30 seconds) but hey, I won a free carabiner!
Tallinn was a really beautiful town, with the perfect (to me) blend of modern amenities fitting in between medieval walls and cobblestone streets. This is one of the cities where I wished we had more than an afternoon to spend- I can definitely see myself wandering around and getting lost for a few days or so. On a funny note, there were several carts on the streets than sold local food called “Gourmet Monks.” One of the specialties was marzipan, which, they told us, was made from almonds that came all the way from California. Guess I should’ve stayed home then!
We also drove out to see the Tarvanpea Castle Ruins, which was a castle that used to house Teutonic knights, among other inhabitants but now is an odd mixture of ruins, medieval faire-type events like archery and jousting, an eating area, and a really bizarre “haunted house” type deal, where they rigged up lights/sounds/animation in the torture chamber/dungeons. It started off as a normal, dank dungeon, but if you kept progressing deeper into the castle, they had these weird stuffed statues and spooky lights, and then came the full on haunted house treatment. I’m a big chicken when it comes to scary things, but I just clung to my dad and tried not to look around too much.
Lunch was delicious but because our juice attracted dozens of wasps (nobody was stung but I’m still not that fond of wasps), I spent my lunch bundled up to the neck in a fleece jacket and wincing every time a wasp flew too close. I’m not sure how “authentic” and/or “medieval” the food was, we had pork, sauerkraut, barley, and a really delicious cheesecake, which is apparently an Estonian specialty. Who knew?
They also served us vodka shots, which, I can safely say, was the smoothest hard liquor I’ve ever drunk. I am not a huge drinker or expert of vodka, but this vodka went down easily and only left a tiny warm feeling in my stomach afterwards. Again, who knew Estonians made such good vodka? I’m not sure why they served us shots before lunch (probably to get everyone good and drunk, so they would purchase souvenirs) but luckily I have a pretty high tolerance so no embarrassing stories to tell there.