Historic Baltic Republics 2018 travel blog

Agrarian Toys

Botanical Gardens

Profs' Portraits

Suspension Bridge


Walking around the C18th classical architecture cultural city including Raekoj Plats town square and its "kissing students". A visit to Toomemagi Cathedral Hill - a stronghold in C5th & C6th and now university buildings and park.

9am we met up with our guide for the next 2.5 hours: Marieka. She was very good, talked clearly and directly to us and waited for everyone to catch up when we got behind (taking too many photos !).

We walked via the river from the hotel to the town centre via the Pig (and its other half – the pork), the Town Square, the Lopsided House, the Kissing Students, up to the University and the Angel Bridge, the pub we went to last night, the Old Observatory, the Devil’s Bridge, Old Observatory in the park, Cathedral and statues in the uni area. As we walked away, she pointed out the constantly updated portraits of uni staff on one of its buildings. She suggested various places of interest we might chose to visit on our own. There is and was a lot to see !

Marieka left us near St John’s Church and we went off for a well earned coffee and cake at Café-Restaurant Werner (recommended as the best patisserie in Tartu): vegan chocolate torte and apple strudel, neither of which meet expectations so we went off to the Toy Museum, looking for the craft workshops en route (disappointingly also non-events). The Toy Museum was fascinating. It showed very clearly the class divide between wealth and agrarian families and an insight into different times.

Down to the river for a cruise where we met Gareth and Evelyn. Over a beer we enjoyed the town from a different perspective. A needed cool trip to the indoor market (good AC) followed and despite being near closing found plenty of specialist foods to engage us. Walking via the Suspension Bridge to the Botanical Gardens we viewed the very detailed and massively stocked gardens, laid out by region, before going into the carefully designed but more informal main garden with its lake and substantial rock garden. Fortunately there were thoughtfully provided seats and viewing points.

Walking back into the old town we had dinner on the pavement at Crepe, in a little side street. Chicken liver salad was good but the gin cocktail (with Fentiman’s Rose tonic) was not really to my taste. Leaving without a dessert, we sauntered back to the town square where preparations were underway for tomorrow’s celebrations (Independence Day). There was a festive mood so we people watched over (in my case) a blackberry ice cream and coconut & lime frozen yogurt before returning to the hotel.

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