Christmas in Tallinn – Part Two

Finally, we came upon the lovely Christmas market, nestled into one of the squares with a big Christmas tree in the center and lights in every direction. Quite chilly by now, we made a beeline for the glögi stand to buy some hot spiced juice.

Woman drinking glögi at the Christmas Market.

Signs in the Christmas Market — Liisa was always frustrated that she couldn’t explain to me how cute Estonian was to the Finnish ear!

Then we tried to warm up as we sipped it slowly and wandered around the marketplace. The weather was gross (just a drizzling, cold rain) but there was still a warm glow and atmosphere at the market.

Christmas foods like sausages, chocolates and sweet breads for sale.

Carved wooden cups, plates, etc.

Not-quite-so-traditional Estonian souvenirs!

Then we came to the sweaters — and madness hit. We were cold, and suddenly the ridiculous reindeer sweaters seemed like a must have. I knew I wanted one — I would either buy it here or in Norway, and here I was sure they would be cheaper (although still not cheap).

None were small enough for me, but I tried one on and kind of liked the effect. I did however restrain myself from buying this matching hat!

To my great surprise, Liisa bought a sweater too! We decided we could be matching and look ridiculous together (plus she was pretty cold).

Off we went together, permanently marked as tourists, through more twisting alleyways. The daylight continued to fade (and we were only now getting hungry for lunch!).

St. Catherine’s Passage (Katarina Käik)

Chocolate Cafe! Of course we stopped in and had hot cocoa and truffles.

Lovely, cozy streets.

I even saw a beautiful traditional woolen outfit on the mannequin outside one of the souvenir shops. It was just my size, and it wasn’t a child mannequin, either. I just had to take a picture — even though the outfit wasn’t for sale anywhere in the store, and I didn’t have the money for a second sweater anyway.

We reached another section of the city walls, and went up for some lovely views over the city in the last of the afternoon light!

St. Olaf’s Church was the tallest building in the world from 1549 to 1625!

We were getting hungry for our packed lunches, though, and didn’t relish the thought of sitting outside in the rain to eat them. We seriously considered letting them rot in our bags while we ate in a nice cafe somewhere — but then we came upon a room in one of the towers with a table, a nice ledge to sit on, and no one else around. Perfect!

Yes, we are completely and utterly shameless!

Liisa and I always speak English to each other, and she speaks almost perfectly — so most people passing by think we are two native speakers. Sometimes this can be quite funny, especially if we happen to meet Finnish people. While we were up in the tour, a man and his daughter walked in and looked around. We both noticed they spoke Finnish, and grinned evilly at each other.

So, as they were about to leave, Liisa stood up and asked, in Finnish, “Would you like a photo together?” They were so surprised! But they were also quite happy and took her up on her offer. They were talkative, even saying, “A father daughter memory!” So cute!

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