On an extremely miserable day, we toured around Estonia's capital city Tallin. Staying within the old city walls, and with the streets completely to ourselves, I couldn't help but think what it must have been like to live there during the 13th century. Listed as on of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the oldest capital city in Northern Europe, you really feel the medieval period. The outer walls of the city are still standing and the density of the old city on the map reinforces that this time once actually existed, not just in fantasy stories of good versus evil, of feuding kings, chivalrous knights, and toiling serfs.
In 1050 the first fortress was built, and Tallin first appeared on a map in 1154. Throughout history it has been an important port for trade between Russia and Scandinavia. It became the target for the expansion of the Teutonic Knights and the Kingdom of Denmark during the period of Northern Crusades at the beginning of the 13th Century. Over the centuries it has been sold, stolen, and turned over to many different countries and religions, and it has been referred to by many different names : Qalaven, Reval, Lyndanisse, Колывань, Rääveli, and Rafala. Today it welcomes Finns and tourists who enjoy the affordable liquor, linens and wool items.
We had the most delicious lunch of fish soup, roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and bread in a basement pub that we stumbled upon. We wanted to try Ill Draakon, a medieval restaurant with no electricity and medieval prices, but the line up was out the door. That day they were serving elk soup + meat or veg pastie for 3€!