Walks: Tallinn, Estonia

The old town is the heart of Estonia's capital city, Tallinn. That Baltic jewel is an ideal place for walking. Within a compact pedestrian area, there are historic churches, defensive towers and walled fortifications. The Gothic townhall used by Hanseatic merchants dominates Raekoja Plats, the cobbled market square. On the steeple, a symbolic town guard has served for centuries as a weather vane. The omens are favourable as the sun shines.

Steep steps are called the "short leg street" and the more level route is named the "long leg way". Walk on cobbled streets through the Teutonic gate tower up to Toompea, the dome-shaped hill. The Danes built a fortress after their conquest in the 13th century. Crusaders and other invaders changed and influenced the design of the castle, now the Estonian parliament building. The national flag flies on the tall Pikk Tower. Coats of arms of Baltic and German nobles and knights garnish the Dome church, St Mary's Lutheran Cathedral. The Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral is a gaudy relic of Russian rule.

In the lower town near the Town Hall, the world's oldest pharmacy in the square includes a museum and gift shop. We quenched our thirst at Molly Malone's Irish pub before returning to the cruise ship from Tallinn's fair city.


?More www.tourism.tallinn.ee; www.visitestonia.com, www.e-travel.ie; www.gohop.ie (flights)