I have just gotten back from a weeklong trip in Krakow, Poland. Now I have time to continue blogging about our trip with my relatives, July 2016.

Let me tell you about the afternoon visit in the old town of Pärnu.

Pärnu is often referred to as Estonia’s summer capital. When we were there, we concentrated on the old town and its beach. (Check my blog about the beach in this link: “Evening at Pärnu beach”)

What we saw? Old buildings, pastel-coloured wooden houses and villas which, according to the book Eyewitness travel, are from the late 19th century.

The Old Town is centered around the pedestrianized Rüütli Street. We walked through parks and leafy streets, but once we saw Rüütli, we just stayed on that street – everything that needs to be seen is there.

It’s a long street with lots of boutiques and small stands selling souvenirs. This was where aunt’s search for ambers started. Already there, she started buying amber accessories like mad. My cousin and I preferred to take it easy. Although she couldn’t control herself by the time we reached Desigual store which had sale on certain items. So while they were busy buying ambers and clothes at Desigual, Marcus and I walked further down towards the town hall.

The town hall is described as a neo-classical building, erected in 1797. It used to be a wealthy merchant’s house. Later, it became the governor’s house, and in 1839 became a town hall.

In front of it is the Rüütli square, where we saw a folk dance performance. Marcus mentioned that the beat and melody sounded Russian.

I sighed, wishing that Sweden (the country where we are permanently based) can show off more of its old dances and traditions. Although I have to admit that the Swedish folk dance seems rather pale, compared to those in the Baltic region.

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Photo: Jeanina Santiago

At the end of the show, the dancers gathered and sang happy birthday to a male member. They stood in line to hug him. Each person who greeted got a candy. So my cousin, aunt, hubby and Tuwa stood also in the line  and greeted him a happy birthday. Of course they got their candies, too. I hugged him, too, but not for the candy – but because he was kinda cute. Wink, wink!

Here’s a youtubelink to a six-minute video showing some of the dance numbers: “Estonian folk dance”.

We also went inside Elizabeth’s church and enjoyed an early rehearsal for the concert that evening. We wanted to see it, but Tuwa is at an age where she doesn’t like long classical concerts yet. If there’s any concert she can bear listen to, it’s that of her culture school, where students like her play instruments. She plays a violin herself. A beginner. 🙂

Elizabeth’s church, or Eliisabeti kirik, is the largest protestant church in Pärnu. It’s renowned for its organ, said to be one of the best in the country. The church is described as a local baroque architecture. It was founded as a Lutheran church in 1747 by the Russian Empress Elizabeth.

The Desigual dresses they bought from Estonia.

The Desigual dresses they bought from Estonia.

We also saw St Catherine’s church, built in 1768 for the Pärnu garrison during the reign of Catherine the Great (also called the Catherinian era, which is considered the golden age of the Russian empire. Catherine the Great was the most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia).

I would like to learn more about Russia. My mother wants to see it in 2018.

PS Speaking of Estonia – the Luik triplets are popular Estonians right now while the Olympic heat in Rio is on.