I'm visiting a series of locations in the Baltic Republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. They're all lovely and I've uploaded a lot of photos.
Here's what I've found in Estonia.
Tallin's Old Town is a delight - medieval architecture including churches, guild halls, museums, a giant square surrounded by dozens of interesting restaurants, and the bastions of a once fortified city.
Strolling around a Medieval City has one downer and that's the impact on knees from the cobblestones, but at least one of them doesn't seem to mind.
The Old Town is completely pedestrianized and getting outside into the New Town is easy with great bus and tram access. Perhaps the major aha I get when I'm outside the U.S. is how dependent we are on our cars. When you have excellent public transport getting along without the car is a breeze.
I won't go into all the different museums or sites I visited. One did stand out and since it's a common feature of all the Baltics I'll mention the Occupation Museum.
First the Soviets (1940), the the Nazis (1941), and again the Soviets (1945->1991) occupied each of the Baltic Republics and it wasn't pretty in any case. Tens of thousands of people were displaced, some to live out most of their lives in Siberia. Others were exterminated.
An older gentleman at the City Museum of Tallinn related how the Russians sent the Estonian troops to fight on their Western Front during WWII. The Nazis, not to be outdone, conscripted 38,000 young men between the ages of 17 and 19 and sent them to fight on the Eastern Front. Right. They set it up so the Estonians fought against each other.
A good day traveling often involves tears. You're bound to run into some example of man's inhumanity to man just about wherever you go. Perhaps you just tend to notice it more as a visitor.
There were some good meals at places like the Pig’s Trotters and coffee at the “Sweet Tooth.” The only issue I have with Tallinn is that at times the Old Town seems a bit too much like a Disney set.
Outside, in the New Town it's much more modern than I'd expected. I visited the
Tsarist Summer Palace and an enclosing park and found a great little coffee house at the park's entrance. Still searching for that perfect cup of espresso.