Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Room with a View 3: The Cathedral in Tallin, Estonia

"Aleksander Nevski Katedraal"
Old Town, Tallin, Estonia

This is the view from our windows on the third floof of Hotel Barons. The cathedral was built in the early 20th century by the Russians living in Estonia. I love the onion domes, the multiple crosses, and the framing by rooftops across our narrow street, Suur-Karja. Bob and I climbed up to see the cathedral yesterday after arriving by overnight ferry from Stockholm. The Old Town section of Estonia has been lovingly restored since the country gained independence from the USSR in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union. The area is, of course, a picture postcard and filled during the day with large tour groups from cruise ships, great for the local economy.

The city was a medieval stronghold of the Baltic trading world, and the old town section within a city wall with 26 intact watch towers is the best preserved Nordic city from that time. It's our first visit to a Baltic country and one formerly under Soviet rule.

Today we took a 14K tour by bicycle with a local bike shop. We had an enjoyable 2 hours touring outside Old Town. We got to see neighborhoods, the beach filled with local families on this amazingly clear and very warm day, Peter the
Great's Estonian palace and gardens, the President's home, museums, monuments, and the 1980 Olympics sailing center. The area appears prosperous, and there are many large opens spaces and parks, a very liveable city.

Later we took the local tram and visited the Kumu Art Museum, completed in 2006, and is truly a beautiful building. It was interesting to see the art collections from three distinct periods of Estonian history: before WWII, the Soviet era, and recent modern art. Unfortunately, not much remains of the art prior to the last century and the collection was largely destroyed during WWII.

Tomorrow we take the 2-hour express boat to Helsinki, Finland for the final few days of our grand tour of Scandinavia. Happily all the complex bookings I made worked beautifully, and the one error I made worked out well. The Internet is an amazing way to book your own self-tour.


Watercolorist said...

What a lovely painting. Talk about picture postcard. I love the colors you used. You certainly have been active while on holiday and it has been interesting following your journey.

PAMO said...

Gorgeous painting!! I love it. I'm glad your planning has worked out well. You are so organized and smart- I'm not a bit surprised. Looking forward to your next post. Isn't it great that we get to follow along when you're in a whole other part of the world. That still blows me away. Thanks for sharing!

hwfarber said...

You know how to pick the rooms with a view. This is a beautiful painting.

Mary Paquet said...

Friends, thanks for following the journey. This is likely the most ambitious trip we'll take on our own. Because it's costly in time and money to get to this area of world from California, we figured we would not have a second chance to visit and wanted to make the most of it. Very interesting, and now I am mentally ready to go home -- but first, Finland!

I've been pleased with my choice of accommodations and lucked out on view rooms, Hallie. I found some good bargains using city packages or the internet deals -- important because it's comparable to staying in NYC most of the trip. Because we travel by public transportation, I select hotels for convenience to the sights. The travel writer, Rick Steves, writes the best books on Europe for independent travelers. Ours is looking well worn at this point.

I will try to do one more piece before we leave for home.

AutumnLeaves said...

Mary, I am so enjoying this trip with you and hearing about these distant lands. I love this watercolor; such a unique viewpoint, for sure. I immediately thought the church looked Russian in origin and was happy to see that I was right! (I do so love being right; it happens so rarely around here! LOLOL) Beautiful colors and well handled perspective. What a view to wake to each morning!!

Peggy Stermer-Cox said...

Hi Mary, I'm enjoying your travels! This is a particularly lovely painting. It looks like you enjoyed studying the buildings and shapes! Have fun in Finland!

Mary Paquet said...

Hi, Peggy. Thanks for checking in. You will see that we are winding up our tour and head out soon for the airport. I have lots of material for painting in my studio, including lots of great shapes.

Margaret Ryall said...

Oh Mary, I was there and it is so beautiful. There's nothing like travel to get the creative juices flowing.