It was around 4 a.m. when the shriek of ambulance sirens sounded just outside of our hotel room, and I desperately hoped that Jude would not wake up; then I wondered whether visiting a favored Eastern European sex tourism capital on a Saturday night was really the world’s best idea.  Jude did not wake up, but noises from revelers (mostly British, mostly male, and all two-sheets-to-the-wind) continued pretty much until we woke up some four hours later.  (Patrick—not woken by the ambulance or the lads— woke up early the next morning to go for a run, and when he returned, around 8 a.m., he reported that he had seen as many other runners as people drinking from open containers: exactly five of each.)

Tallinn, Estonia, is a beautiful place full of lots of 14th and 15th century architecture.  Tallinn’s Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is a small medieval fortress town with cobblestone streets, beautiful churches, and lots of charm.  Tallinn is also home to Skype and is the joint European Capital of Culture for 2011, along with Turku, Finland.  We enjoyed two and a half days in Tallinn, exploring the Old Town and eating good food at stellar prices.  Especially noteworthy was Von Krahli Aed, where we ate dinner on our first night.  The traditional Estonian food was delicious and the price was right, especially after the high prices we had just experienced in Russia and Finland.

During our stay, we learned that Tallinn has turned into the “it” place to have your “stag do” (bachelor party).  With increased flights from the UK, Tallinn had a reported 1.2 million visitors last year (and a city population of around 415,000 people).  Apparently many of these stag dos are themed – we saw British men dressed as a mariachi band, and another man dressed in a neon-green bathrobe holding a cane capped with a large fake emerald.  Classy!

Was Tallinn good for a kid?  Yes, with so much other bad behavior going on, Jude’s barely raised an eyebrow.  Also, we kept different hours than most of the partiers, so our interactions with them were fairly minimal.  The fortress and churches provided a lot of entertainment, and Patrick’s mom taught Jude “church” and “steeple,” which he repeated often.  Kadriorg Park is a short tram ride from the Old Town, and, in addition to providing places of interest for adults (palace, park, statue commemorating ship wreck, etc.), it has a first-rate playground.

ALL PICTURES FROM TALLINN, ESTONIA: here

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