Friday, April 18, 2014
We enjoyed a wonderful four-day adventure on the Princess Anastasia, starting with St. Petersburg, and followed by double quick-time salutes to three capital cities: Helsinki, Stockholm, and Tallinn. Now we are recovering our land legs here in Estonia and are due to return to Siauliai tomorrow morning.
In Helsinki, the highlight was a visit with Terhi Molsa, head of the Fulbright Commission in Finland, and her deputy, Johanna Lahti. The photo at the top of this post, showing Terhi seated between Jane and Ken, was taken by Johanna.
The highlight of our whirlwind visit to Stockholm was the Royal Palace in the Gamla Stan. After our tour of the museums, we stumbled onto the changing of the guard, which was quite an elaborate and colorful ceremony (see photo #2, above).
In Tallinn we're staying at the Bern Hotel, which has an elevator built by a company called Schindler. Sorry, but one of us finds puns irresistible; the other does a lot of groaning.
We had a delightful dinner last night at a Tallinn restaurant called Ribe. We shared a delicious trout appetizer that was like nothing we had ever eaten before; clearly, there is a real talent in charge of this kitchen. For our main courses, Jane ordered the lamb, and Ken had the duck. No pictures for the foodies, but afterwards Ken got a shot of the outside of the restaurant (see photo #3, above).
Today we spent most of the day wandering around the city, which is lovely (see photo #4), and which we had first visited on a cold November day in 2006. On that occasion, Jane bought a hand-knitted sweater from a vendor in the stalls tucked under the inside of the city wall. Today, Jane tried to sell a few sweaters for her successor (see photo #5), but the Chinese tourists were having none of it.
There’s no shortage of photo ops in this picturesque city. Photo #6 shows Jane in front of the colorful door at the House of Blackheads, a guild that was prominent in all of the cities of the Hanseatic League. Finally, photo #7 shows Ken in front of the Estonian parliament building.
Tomorrow's a travel day. Sunday is Easter. Then it's back to work Monday morning.