The weather pattern changed with two further days of cloud and rain  as we departed for the town of Parnu on the Estonian coast and then up to Tallinn.
The roads were in better condition and after a bit of difficulty we found our campsite “Hotel camp Salzburg”. It sounded very grand but wasn’t. Some of the English was amusing. There were many doors for the staff marked “personal”!
It was a very different set up from the usual campsites with a small forest,a rough parking area  with electricity and we were given a room in which to shower. At 15euros a night we were not complaining. The receptionist was extremely helpful albeit with no personality. Maurice did actually get a smile out of him on the third day.
The 12 degrees the following day with rain and a stiff breeze encouraged us to have a lay day and do some planning for the further phase of our trip.

A sunny day gave us an early start and we caught the ultra modern train (complete with smartly dressed conductor) to Tallinn city where we transferred to a bus directly outside the station to the “Eesti Vabaohumuuseum” Estonian Open Air Museum about twenty minutes from town. It was located in an enormous parkland and forest area called “Rocca al Mare” – most un-Estonian. The museum was fascinating with original Estonian farmhouses, tavern and school from the eighteen hundreds which had been relocated in  the sixties and seventies from their sites all over the country. Unlike Poland where they hadn’t heard that English was the international language, every plaque was in Estonian and English and laminated notes in several languages were available. The only other place we had seen this was in Gdansk at the maritime museum.

The locals working at the museum dressed in period costume and we were lucky to catch a troupe of all ages who gave performances of Estonian music,songs and dancing. They didn’t take it too seriously and teased each other and had fun themselves.  The public could wander around the farmhouses or sit and watch the singing and dancing.
The museum was situated on the Baltic sea and covered many hectares. The various styles of farming houses were dotted around the forest and park.  It was very peaceful with few locals or tourists which was surprising given the sunny Sunday.
In one such farmhouse we sat and watched a renenactment of courtship and wedding traditions which was more like a Charlie Chaplin movie with bad subtitles. It was a hoot but also interesting to watch.

Estonia was nearing their Mid Summer festivities on the 21st June which really did make us realise the differences in climate in the very northern hemisphere when referring to “mid Summer”. For us 3-16degrees during the day did not constitute Summer! We felt it should be renamed.
The only concession to Summer were the long hours of twilight and not really getting dark at all at night.

We caught the bus back to the railway station and walked into the old town which was not crowded, except for a handicrafts market in the town hall square. The old part of town, a lot of which was  hilly covered a vast area and  was surrounded by many parks and gardens with fountains and cafes.

We had not gone overboard with souvenirs on our journey firstly because we didn’t want to clutter up the house (when we eventually did go home) and secondly we could not carry large or heavy items in the van (being full already). We tended to buy one small souvenir from each country and some of them were useful – a wooden spreader knife from Latvia, A small wooden trivet from Lithuania.

Monday 16th June looked a nice day so we again set off on the train but did not realise that two cruise ships had arrived  and the old town was swarming with tourists. We actually met six Australians in a cafe and two from Perth. That makes four people that we have met from Perth in the last 2 1/2 years. We had a  recommendation from a young local for a good little restaurant which was off the tourist route and we were the only non locals eating there which was pleasant.

Tallinn was the most complete example of a medieval city that we had seen with much of it’s city wall, towers and municipal buildings still standing. Plaques on many of the houses detailed their history.

Many people in Estonia of all ages spoke some English and Estonian was softer and more lilting to listen to than the Latvian or Lithuanian and was more similar to Finnish.

The country in general appeared much more affluent than it’s baltic neighbours of Latvia and of Lithuania with modern housing and
appartment blocks and an absence of alcohol shops every few metres.

Surprising to us were many shops selling Sushi.   There was an absence of rubbish anywhere and the city and surrounding areas were all neat and tidy even though there was some graffiti.  The large supermarkets were always interesting to explore with many different foods from that which we would find at home.  A lot of the packaged goods were were writtten in Estonian and Russian with some key words in English but some choices we made were through plain guesswork.

On all our travels through Eastern Europe we have seen no wildlife (apart from a dead badger by the side of the road) even though there appeared to be many deer and elk around with all the signage to avoid hitting  them but luckily they were absent from the roads.

Three days before Mid-Summer festivities it cooled to 3 degrees with some hail so we were glad after having the van washed and obtaining another gas bottle to be leaving for Helsinki the following day for the two and a half hour trip on the Eckero ferry.   We thoroughly enjoyed our five days in Tallinn.

The Eckero ferry to Helsinki was more like a cruise ship and we enjoyed the 2 1/2 hour crossing.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.