Tuesday, September 17, 2019
We got a note that said they would paint our balcony while we’re out. But they didn’t. They did take our little table, though.
Estonia the high was 52F
The Official Tour Description:
You will be met by your guide right at the cruise ship pier, and the bus transfer takes you to Upper Old Town. During this 15 minute drive you can admire beautiful parks surrounding Old Town and have a look to the 13th century medieval Toompea Castle standing high above the ground at Toompea hill.
Our walking tour starts from Upper Old Town. You will see the Estonian Parliament and make a visit to Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. You will stroll through the narrow cobble-stoned lanes to meet the oldest church in Tallinn – Dome Church (Virgin Mary Cathedral) and experience the magnificent panoramic views from Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform.
From Upper Old Town, you will descend to much livelier Lower Old Town. There you will see gothic style merchant houses and the Town Wall with its beautiful towers, St Nickolas Church and Holy Ghost Church. The tour continues to the historical city center – Town Hall Square where the 15th century Town Hall and one the oldest pharmacies in the world can be seen.
Walk through St Catherine’s Passage and admire the private studios of the local artists. The tour ends at the Viru Gate and after that, you will have 2 hours of free time to have lunch and to do some shopping. At the scheduled time, the bus will take you back from the city center to the port.
While eating breakfast, we saw a couple from the show last night, the ones from Boston.
Off the boat, met up with tour guide Maaruy (sp?). She said we could call her Mary. She has her masters in language translation. We had really good earphones so we could hear her all over. She was very knowledgeable and had Scandinavian grandparents who told her all about the history of Estonia and the various countries that went to war to rule them.
The territory of Estonia has been inhabited since at least 9,000 B.C. Ancient Estonians were some of the last European pagans to be Christianized, following the Livonian Crusade in the 13th century.
After centuries of successive rule by Germans, Danes, Swedes, Poles and Russians, a distinct Estonian national identity began to emerge in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This culminated in independence from Russia in 1920 after a brief War of Independence at the end of World War I. Initially democratic, subsequent to the Great Depression, Estonia was governed by authoritarian rule since 1934 during the Era of Silence.
During World War II (1939–1945), Estonia was repeatedly contested and occupied by the Soviet Union and Germany, ultimately being incorporated into the former. After the loss of its de facto independence, Estonia’s de jure state continuity was preserved by diplomatic representatives and the government-in-exile.
In 1987 the peaceful Singing Revolution began against Soviet rule, resulting in the restoration of de facto independence on 20 August 1991.
Estonia means Little Denmark
We went first to the Old town, which was on a hill, then the new town. The streets were cobblestones and some that were just plain stones.
These were interesting in the Danish King’s Garden. Mary said that at Halloween, they put scary eyes inside to freak out the kids.
The Danish King’s Garden is just next to Toompea, on the slope facing St. Nicholas Church. According to an old legend, this is the spot where a flag descended from the sky during Danish invasion; this flag turned the course of the battle in favor of King Valdemar II. Later, the flag became the national flag of Denmark.
I liked this bas-relief by Voldemar Panso on the wall of EAMT School of Performing Arts at Toom-Kooli 4, from summer 2011
We went to the Olde Hansa for pastries and coffee. 1 sweet with apple and 1 unidentified meat. It was medieval built, with no artificial lighting. Waiter pointy shoes. The bathroom had no running water but jugs of water to tilt and a little bowl of soap.
From their website (not made in medieval times!)
Here we live according to the old Hanseatic customs, which are expressed in every act and every little detail of the servants, the current dwellers of the house. Everything that you see, hear, taste or touch, has been made by the role models of 15th century, so the traveling visitor entering the house will find themselves in the wheel of time, led by ordinary servant folks as their guides to complete your medieval experience.
Here, at Olde Hansa restaurant we are dedicated to bring you all the wonders of medieval kitchen and spirits what drinkmasters have created.
The three floors of the Olde Hansa, with its 300 seats, are a dining spot worth discovering, any mural, furniture or other detail is related to an exciting story or purpose.
We stopped at a Remi grocery store so that Tom could get some aspirin. They didn’t have any so Tom got a hat and socks, instead.
I have not a clue what this was but I think it was in front of a restaurant.
The City gate walls as they looked in 2014
The oldest sections of Tallinn’s city wall were built in the 13th century. During the next three centuries, it became one of the largest and strongest defense systems in entire Northern Europe.
More than half of the magnificent defense system has been preserved as a city wall – this includes 1.85 km of the wall, 26 defense towers, 2 gates and fragments of two front gates.
The Patkuli viewing platform is a good place for examining the city wall, and a number of towers are open for visitors.
This is a part of the wall that still remains. Behind it is a hotel. Our guide said that the hotel’s every other floor contained KGB in the past.
Kadriorg Palace is a Petrine Baroque palace built for Catherine I of Russia by Peter the Great in Tallinn, Estonia. Both the Estonian and the German name for the palace means “Catherine’s valley”. It was built after the Great Northern War for Nicola Michetti’s designs by Gaetano Chiaveri and Mikhail Zemtsov. The palace currently houses the Kadriorg Art Museum, a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia, displaying foreign art from the 16th to 20th centuries. The KUMU branch of the museum, showing Estonian art from the 18th century onwards is located nearby in the park
In the summer they hold concerts. The orchestra (or other performers, I think) is taken by boat to this lovely island bandstand.
Below, the ruins of the Pirita Convent look pretty good from this side. The history of the ruins rising above the banks of the Pirita River date back to 1407, when the largest nunnery in Old Livonia was founded here. The convent that got its name from St. Birgitta, who founded the mother convent in Sweden, survived in its original form until 1577, when the forces of Ivan the Terrible destroyed it.
At the end of the last century, several extensive excavation and conservation projects took place on the premises of the medieval convent.
The massive façade, walls, cellars and graveyard have survived until the present.
The beautiful ensemble of ruins, a popular concert venue in the summer, is managed by the sisters of the Bridgettine Order.
Seaside Sculpture on the promenade and view of the ferry port in the far distance
Next was Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. I only knew of Alexander Nevsky from the opera by Sergei Prokofiev
Our guide told us about all Nevsky’s wonderful works. Luckily, there’s a video for that, too!
The cathedral is richly decorated and has eleven bells cast in Saint Petersburg, the largest of which weighs about 16 tons, more than the other ten combined. It has three altars, with the northern altar dedicated to Vladimir I and the southern to St. Sergius of Radonezh.
The base of the building is Finnish granite. In the five onion domes, gilded iron crosses are seen. Inside are three gilded, carved wooden iconostases, along with four icon boxes. The icons of the iconostasis and icon boxes were painted in St. Petersburg on copper and zinc plates. The windows are decorated with stained glass.
The Estonian Song Festival is one of the largest amateur choral events in the world, a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It is held every five years in July on the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds simultaneously with the Estonian Dance Festival.
Gustav Ernesaks (1908-1993) was an Estonian composer and choir leader who wrote himself into the history pages with his songs. ‘Mu isamaa on minu arm’ became the unofficial anthem of Estonians during the Soviet era, and Ernesaks was one of the driving forces behind the national song festival – as well as its general manager.
This monument at Tallinn’s Song Festival Grounds was unveiled during the opening concert of the 24th National Song Festival on 3 July 2004.
Our guide’s father was part of this revolution. The Singing Revolution lasted over four years, with various protests and acts of defiance. In 1991, as Soviet tanks attempted to stop the progress towards independence, the Supreme Soviet of Estonia together with the Congress of Estonia proclaimed the restoration of the independent state of Estonia and repudiated Soviet legislation. People acted as human shields to protect radio and TV stations from the Soviet tanks. Through these actions, Estonia regained its independence without any bloodshed.
Independence was declared on the late evening of 20 August 1991, after an agreement between different political parties was reached. The next morning Soviet troops, according to Estonian TV, attempted to storm Tallinn TV Tower but were unsuccessful. The Communist hardliners’ coup attempt failed amidst mass pro-democracy demonstrations in Moscow led by Boris Yeltsin.
On 22 August 1991, Iceland became the first nation to recognize the newly restored independence of Estonia.
On the bus driving back to the ship, we also saw an old Soviet-era neighborhood
We walked 3.5 miles
At the terminal shops on way to ship we bought 2 T-shirts and warm mittens for me.
It was a Caribbean night at dinner but no roti or flying fish like we get in Barbados. Oh, well!
I’m testing something with these slideshows. The first was made on my computer and the images came out as stills.
This second one uses the same images but uses the “Live Photos” on the phone. Thoughts about which is better? I like the Live Photo version.
It seems like the computer version has way more pictures since it’s 4:55 and the Live Photo version is only 1:37. Interesting.
The iMovie version (below) is 5:56 but no live videos, either.
Maybe for the future, I’ll make 2 videos. A shorter one with Live Photos and a longer one with more picture stills.
I liked Tallinn. Our guide (from SPB Tours) was extremely knowledgeable and showed us around the Old Town. She had an excellent set of headphones/receivers so we could hear her from quite far away. We had 2 different pastries (apple and meat), along with coffee, tea, whatever in this medieval restaurant that had no artificial lighting. In the restroom, the water was poured from a jug to wash hands. The wait staff was dressed for the time period as well. Very fun. The history of Estonia was very interesting. We ended up walking 3.5 miles on this tour.
During Michael’s workout, I wrote part 1 of today’s post. When he arrived at the hotel, we set out for Tribeca Park on our search for the Sing For Hope pianos.
We found it!
Then, we Ubered (is that a word?) to Michael’s apartment for us to practice a bit. We dropped by Duane Reade, a relative of Walgreens, for some munchies and actually practiced – finally!
From there, we got another Uber and headed to the Lincoln Center complex. Our plan was to eat at the same restaurant we’d found before we saw The Marriage of Figaro at The Met.
When we got there, there was some sort of upscale street fair on the grounds. It turned out to be the American Crafts Festival.
We walked through that to find the next S4H piano, which we located in the Charles B Benson Grove. Yamaha grand. There was a woman playing ragtime and a long line of folks who wanted to play. Turned out the woman played clubs around the city and was using this event to advertise.
Off we went to the restaurant to find it closed for 2 months renovation. The next place reservations only so we went back to the Lincoln Center and had sandwiches in their coffee shop. Not bad!
We went to our pre-program Mozart lecture given by Joelle Wallach. Very interesting!
Then, into Avery Fisher Hall to hear an all-Mozart program including:
Piano Concerto No. 21
Symphony No. 38, Prague
Piano Concerto No. 20
Here’s a review of the exact same performance that we attended! The same program had been performed on Wednesday.
Review from the New York Times: New York Philharmonic Gives Mozart His Due
As the festival continues to evolve in directions that have less and less to do with its namesake, the Philharmonic, perhaps sensing an opportunity, offers a Mozart program of its own this week: the “Prague” Symphony and the Piano Concertos No. 20, in D minor, and No. 21, in C, with Jeffrey Kahane as guest conductor and soloist.
The “Prague” must be every opera lover’s favorite Mozart symphony. Composed in Vienna in 1786 and evidently given its premiere in Prague early the next year, it is a virtual caldron of tunes more or less shared with “Le Nozze di Figaro” (1786) and “Don Giovanni” (1787).
More than that, the symphony, played before intermission, evokes the moods and characters of those operas, especially “Don Giovanni.” Mr. Kahane treated all of that a bit matter-of-factly at Wednesday evening’s performance, with little lingering to search out lascivious byplay in dark recesses or to limn a bumbling Leporello.
So it came as a delightful surprise, after intermission, when Mr. Kahane injected the condemnatory sequence of rising and falling scales from “Don Giovanni” into his own cadenza for the first movement of the D minor Concerto. His playing was deft and virtuosic in both concertos, though his fast tempos in the outer movements of the C major resulted in some blurred scalar passages and a slightly hectic feel at times.
You might have feared a certain weightiness from the Philharmonic in Mozart, but Mr. Kahane generally drew stylish playing from a reduced band of 40 or so. The strings had a pliant quality, and the woodwinds were especially fine.
The program was fantastic but we wondered why it was Concerto-Symphony-Intermission-Concerto. With that type of programming, it started with the piano on stage, then moved out, then moved back during the intermission for the final concerto.
A quick stop at Duane Reade for night time snacks than an Uber home. We went right by the cruise terminal on our way to the hotel.
Tomorrow’s a busy day with Steinway Hall then boarding the cruise ship. I may not finish writing these until we get home, depending on WiFi and other activities – but I’ll take good notes 🙂