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22 April 2012 @ 01:23 pm
Tallinn, Estonia  
At the end of march I went to a conference in Tallinn, Estonia. It was actually a really good conference and I came away with lots of thoughts though I'm not really intending to blog about them since they are along the lines of "more efficient ways to generate Büchi Automata" which I suspect won't mean much to my flist. Though there was an interesting and more generally accessible talk about load balancing in the German national grid with a side order on getting more trains onto a single European train track which I may give an overview of at some point (*stares dubiously at list of "things it might be interesting to blog about" which has grow scarily long of late*)

Anyway, I actually think my boss was a little bemused by my sudden enthusiasm for foreign travel when this came up. Our group was approached by one of the attached workshops and asked if anyone would like to give a talk and he rather dubiously passed the question on and asked if anyone was interested in going. Normally I'm not terribly excited at the prospect of spending a week away from home, but I'd seen pictures of Tallinn and it looked terribly pretty.

The view from my hotel window of the baltic sea ferry terminus. OK, this is not the prettiest shot I took of Tallinn.

I indulge my obsession with photographing hotel bedrooms. Nothing as exciting as my Japanese toilet, alas.

The opening reception was held in the "Brotherhood of the Blackheads", so named because their patron saint was Saint Mauritius:

This is him. His image is all over their meeting house.

The brotherhood appears to have been a drinking club for unmarried merchants founded in the mid 14th century. I get the impression that most of the time they took the business of drinking very seriously, however on occasion they were known to defend the city. They also have the distinction of erecting the first public Christmas tree (in 1441 according to wikipedia). The brotherhood was finally liquidated in 1940 by the occupying soviet forces.

The house of the blackheads is an interesting mixture of what I think of a Georgian architecture and medieval features.

The exterior in daylight.

I got snowed on, on my way back from the reception. This is Tallinn's medieval town hall at night in the snow.

There follow mix pictures I took on an early morning walk around Tallinn's old town when I skipped one of the conference's invited talks to go snooping.

You can see an almond stall in the last of these. There were lots of these about, all manned by people in costume.

A garlic restaurant

Medieval roadworks!!! OK, roadworks with medieval almond sellers in the background.

These were everywhere, advertising knitwear.

Next to the old town is a hill, Tompea which, among other things, has the advantage of views

And interesting gutters/drainpipes.

This is the Orthodox Cathedral. I gather there was talk of demolishing it in 1928 since it was symbol of Russian oppression (Estonia was governed by Russia prior to its independence in 1918 - and again, of course, between 1940 and 1991)

There has been talk before (on ladyofastolat's LJ, I think, of the disturbing habit primary schools have of planting flowers in wellington boots, leading to forlorn and series displays of boots in school playgrounds. Estonians, it would seem, do this with slippers.

OK, views

This is what you see from Tompea if you look away from the Old Town.

The road down from Toompea.

On the final night we had a medieval banquet in the "Old Hansa" medieval restaurant. Complete with cinnamon beer which is interesting, but had grown old by the time I finished my tankard.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/66289.html.
reggietatereggietate on April 22nd, 2012 01:32 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful and interesting looking place :-)
louisedennislouisedennis on April 22nd, 2012 02:40 pm (UTC)
The Old Town is pretty incredible! It's also chock-a-bloc with interesting sounding museums and churches though I didn't have time to explore those.
lukadreaminglukadreaming on April 22nd, 2012 01:32 pm (UTC)
Nice piccies! You do get to go to some intriguing places for conferences. I must admit I'd very much like to go to Estonia.
louisedennislouisedennis on April 22nd, 2012 02:40 pm (UTC)
I'd love to go back sometime and do the sightseeing thing properly.
athene: connor smiling s3deinonychus_1 on April 22nd, 2012 01:49 pm (UTC)
Lots of exciting architechture and history there!
louisedennislouisedennis on April 22nd, 2012 02:40 pm (UTC)
It's incredibly pretty and in remarkably good condition all things considered.
fredbassettfredbassett on April 22nd, 2012 01:52 pm (UTC)
Looks lovely!!
louisedennislouisedennis on April 22nd, 2012 02:41 pm (UTC)
It was.
MysteriousAliWays: Lauren Bacall eyesmysteriousaliwz on April 22nd, 2012 04:14 pm (UTC)
Very picturesque!
louisedennislouisedennis on April 22nd, 2012 04:27 pm (UTC)
It was terribly pretty!
telperion_15: Nissyrostelperion_15 on April 22nd, 2012 04:38 pm (UTC)
It looks lovely! Although is it just me, or is the bathroom wall in your hotel room see-through?
louisedennislouisedennis on April 22nd, 2012 06:00 pm (UTC)
Oooh! it is, isn't it. I didn't notice that at the time - must be something to do with the lighting levels. Maybe this is a new hotel trend, like the weird window into the main room above the loo in Taiwan.
bunn: gardenbunn on April 22nd, 2012 09:36 pm (UTC)
Wow, pretty place!

Those slippers are strangely melancholy. I bet they need a lot of watering as well!
louisedennislouisedennis on April 23rd, 2012 08:42 am (UTC)
Probably, though I did wonder if they were more in the line of cut flowers, rather than planted ones. I didn't inspect more closely, I'm afraid.
Cordelia Delaynecordeliadelayne on April 22nd, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)
Looks like a fascinating place!
louisedennislouisedennis on April 23rd, 2012 08:42 am (UTC)
It was.
kristen_marakristen_mara on April 23rd, 2012 11:36 am (UTC)

You positioned the camera flash perfectly in the bathroom mirror to protect your secret identity *G*.

The Brotherhood sounds fascinating. I hope they reband it, after it lasted such a long time!

Beautiful place with lovely and quirky decorations.

louisedennislouisedennis on April 23rd, 2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
Their house is now used for concerts and conferences (though it was too small for ours) so I think they may be well and truly gone.