A Sign of the Times in Tallinn, Estonia

Yesterday, I talked about the Maiasmokk Café, the oldest surviving coffee shop in Tallinn. Did you notice the Featured Photo of the café window in today’s post? It features Maiasmokk’s famous marzipan and coffee. But, why are there all those kittens? It’s all about another folktale from Tallinn! But, as you check out the shop window, let’s look at the sign that will tell us we have arrived at Maiasmokk Café!

Maiasmokk Café, Tallinn, Estonia

I wrote about the history of Maiasmokk HERE, if you would like to read more about it. So, while we’re waiting for you to do that………we’ll just peek into the front window. The place is packed!

Maiasmokk Café, Tallinn, Estonia

Here is another cat! She offers the favorite Baltic Amber…….what is it with all the cats?

Cats! Tallinn, Estonia
Amber Shop in Tallinn, Estonia

There is a cat legend in Tallinn. Long ago there was a central well for the village, where strange noises could always be heard coming from the well. The townspeople thought there was a fairy living in the well and she would stop the flow of water, if she was not appeased. To get rid of the racket (they thought she was hungry), cats were dropped down the well for her to eat!

Today, local travelers have noticed all the cats to be found in Tallinn. Also noted, were all the bowls of food and water left outside the houses and in the supermarket there were rows and rows of cat food to choose from! Today, the cats are revered in Tallinn. Many, many shops featured cats: cat hats, cat socks, cat jewelry and …………cat ceramics……..

I am NOT a cat person…….but I decided I must have a cat, as a souvenir from Tallinn. Then, I found a local shop that featured local artist, Kadri Kaerma, who it seemed had designed every color and size of cat! This is the cat I chose….. it says Tallinn along the bottom, and shows the medieval tower walls with a weathervane and she has a big, big rose under her arm! Since Tallinn flower stalls are also open 24/7, seven days a week, every day of the year, I knew this was the cat for me! She represented a lot of what I had learned about Tallinn!  And she is a little flower vase to boot! She said it all! I have a slight problem though………I did not take a photo of the shop!!!!! I was so engrossed in looking at all the cats and there were fish of every size too, that I did not get a photo of the shop and it’s cute window display that drew me into the shop. The shop had a newspaper write up featuring Kadri and all the cat ceramics, (written in Estonian of course) posted with the cats and that’s how I discovered Kadri. The nice shopkeeper did not speak too much English, but enough to show me the newspaper article and the designers name. So, if you are reading this post and know what shop I was in please let me know…..many of my friends want a cat!

My Tallinn Cat, Tallinn, Estonia

But, nope, as luck would have it………  I didn’t see one cat in any street…….

Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia

I decided to look up at all the clever signs and streetlights………this was my favorite……

Street Light, Tallinn, Estonia

and then we came upon the Spicy Monk……..and I knew we were on to something……….

Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia

Walking towards the Town Square the foot traffic was picking up………..

Town Square, Tallinn, Estonia

And when we came across the Roasted Sweet Almonds that were “The Best in Town.” We knew we must try them for quality control purposes, I assure you! Ha Ha!

Roasted Sweet Almonds, Town Square, Tallinn, Estonia
Roasted Sweet Almonds, Town Square, Tallinn, Estonia

and here is the sweet girl, who sold the nuts to us……..

Roasted Sweet Almonds Town Square, Tallinn, Estonia

Let’s get a move on or we will never get to the Square! It’s filling up!

Town Square, Tallinn, Estonia
Town Square, Tallinn, Estonia

Another thing, that caught my eye as we were walking around, were the blankets on the chairs at the outdoor cafés to wrap yourself up with…….   As we got to the cooler Baltic countries these wraps got thicker and thicker. By the time we reached Oslo, the wraps were fur!

Town Square, Tallinn, Estonia

This was another outdoor café, just about every venue spilled out onto the street. It made it hard to find a particular cross in the stone, that I was looking for. Another legend, but I didn’t find it! I looked for it here……….in the newer cobblestones……around the tables…..

Town Square, Tallinn, Estonia

and I looked for it here in the old cobblestones…….

The Cobblestones of Tallinn, Estonia

The cross wasn’t here either, so I moved on from café to café.  I did admire the overturned baskets that were overhead light covers and the long, long red benches to sit on…….at the next café in Old Town……..

Perhaps, if you go to Tallinn, you can take up the hunt for the half cross, that is to be found in the old, old cobblestones. Tallinn folklore says everyone, who was sentenced to death by the Constable, was sent outside the walls for their punishment, saving the townsfolk and children from seeing all the gore. However, the Constable never told the punishment for the prisoner until he was also outside the walls. The Constable was married to the gossip, Phyllis. One day, he decided to tell Phyllis what he had deemed as punishment for a crime. Well, we all know a Phyllis, and she told everybody in town! The folks were outraged and they went to the Constable and demanded that he get down on all fours, so Phyllis could ride him three times around the square, because obviously she ruled the roost in his house! Then they killed the constable in the town square! The half cross, made from misshapen, long cobblestones, like this (t), is what I was looking for……… it is the spot where the Constable was killed. You can hear all of these folk stories in the Tallinn History Museum…..awesome!

Town Square, Tallinn, Estonia

Were these folks slurping down dragon soup?

Town Square, Tallinn, Estonia

If you did not want to sit at the table this was another seating ……..next to the caldron……..

Town Square, Tallinn, Estonia

Roaming the streets we found the Town Jail was now a Photography Museum…….

Photography Museum, Tallinn, Estonia

and the Monks might have made ale here…..

Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia

Ans this was a very interesting streetlight!

Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia

We’ve finally made it to the another town tower……

Wall Tower, Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia

and turning down this way we see where the modern city begins…….

Old Town Towers, Tallinn, Estonia

If you ask any Estonian he will tell you that during the Soviet rule of Estonia all the hotels were made from styrofoam. They were white and very similar to building blocks. And the Soviets eavesdropped on everything you said! It’s a joke, of course, but this white hotel was found with oodles of bugging devises, when it was remodeled. Just another day in the Soviet Union! How did Estonia gain its independence from the Soviet Union and how do the Estonians fare today? We’ll find out in my next post! See you there!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sheree says:

    Really enjoying your visit to Tallinn.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jo Shafer says:

    Love, love, love the cup sign!!


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