Our Baltic Trip 2016, Part 4 - Pärnu Posted on 28 Aug 10:55 , 0 comments
Our last night in Estonia was spent in Pärnu, like Haapsalu an old resort town, and still the most popular beach town in the country. Our first order of business after reaching our hotel – a small, newer place right in the old town – was finding dinner. After being ignored at one place, and turned away at another, we settled on an uncrowded Armenian restaurant. The staff was friendly, even though the food was a bit disappointing. We had hoped that it might be more authentic. The patrons in the patio did seem to be authentic Armenian families with children
Our “boutique hotel“, had a stunningly and sleekly appointed room with beautiful multi-toned grey, tan, and white décor, but it turned out to be highly impractical and somewhat uncomfortable. Having a number of guest rooms in our own house, I am keenly aware that people need vertical surfaces on which to put their own things and convenient access to fixtures. Additionally, this room faced west. Curtains open and windows closed made it an oven. Given we were still not fully time adjusted and the room contributed to our discomfort, we awakened very early the next morning with the doves and seagulls at our windows.
We took advantage of our early rising to stroll around the old town in the quiet morning, before there was any stirring amongst the human residents. Just as there were long evenings, so, too, there were long mornings starting in the wee hours. Like many of the other tourist-oriented towns we visited, Pärnu has a central core that is pedestrian only. These designated areas are often lined with picturesque older buildings, from grand churches to modest wooden houses. It was nice to have the place to ourselves, sharing it mainly with the local hooded crows, colorful relatives of our familiar black crows. A large flock of these birds had found the perfect breakfast in an overturned garbage can behind a restaurant. We took some pictures of the cheeky corbids, but the photos were a bit too blurry. This handsome fellow was found on-line at http://ournaturezone.com.
Hooded crow, the common species of crow in the Baltics
Pärnu was a trading town from ancient times, and the current old town was once enclosed in walls, built by the Swedes when they controlled the area. Only one (north) gate still remains, guarding the road to Tallinn, but much of the wide earthen rampart area is now a park which encircles the eastern part of the old town. Tiled plazas outline where the projecting bastions once were. It was a very illustrative way to incorporate the memory of the fortifications into the modern town.
The morning light was beautiful, especially on the old buildings and churches. I think that it is in this town that I became fascinated by brick buildings against blue skies and the ornate architecture of Orthodox churches. I’ll share some of these here and try to restrain myself from enthusiastically showing off page after page of churches and the tops of building.
Orthodox church, Pärnu
St. Catherine's Orthodox Church, Pärnu
Brick facade, Pärnu
Brick facade and blue sky, Pärnu
Of course, as in almost all the towns and squares in the Baltic countries in which we traveled, there were great public displays of flowers in Parnu.
Street flowers, Pärnu old town
After our walk, we had a lovely breakfast in the restaurant associated with our hotel. The hostess had a PERFECT Australian accent which I mistook as an Australian background. No, seems she was there as a student for a few years; she was an Estonian. We bid Pärnu goodbye, headed for the coast road and were FINALLY on our way to Latvia!