Saturday, October 24, 2015

Scandinavian Travels - Tartu Estonia

Our next big stop in Estonia was Tartu. It's the home of the only major university in Estonia, which happens to be one of the oldest in Europe. These guys welcomed us.
Oh hi, just some nightmare fuel coming through...
Because Tartu is a  College town it is well known for being the more liberal and progressive city, a haven for artists, innovators, and entrepreneurs. It also had some really great places to drink, all nice and centrally located.
No idea what that is, but it looks dangerous!
Up on the campus is the National Museum of Estonia, in the remains of the original church for the campus.

Dem buttresses! 

A reminder that we were there just after midsummer, all this nice golden sunset glow is happening late in the evening. Like 10:30 PM. No wonder we were out so long drinking...
Screw your gargoyles, we've got DRAGONS!
Each block seemed to have a new design of concrete block, apparently placed to be a traffic and parking blockade. Thus, much of the downtown of the city was pedestrian centric.
A number of monuments are situated on the hilltop in the center or town, mostly to scientists and educators. A nice break from seeing war monuments everywhere!
This guy studied embryos and shit.
And, the old ways still live in Tartu as with much of Estonia. This is an ancient stone, rumored to be used for rituals since time immemorial. While the pre-christian rites may be forgotten, each semester students gather to burn term papers and pour out drinks on the stone. A modern sacrifice in search of knowledge.
There is, however, one particularly notable war monument which we sought out. Barclay de Tolly is an ancestor of Mr. Crafty, and a noted war hero. What is more remarkable about the monument, is that it was not erected by a victorious state or a wealthy patron. The men who served under Barclay paid for it themselves!

Our last experience in Tartu has no pictures, because none would have come out. In the perpetual twilight and nearly totally dark skies of summer, we explored the ruins of the derelict soviet airbase. Also, photos might be considered evidence... or something.

Our tour of the northlands will continue, I've got plenty of photos still to share!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Scandinavian Travels - Viljandi Castle

As part of our field trip during Craft Camp we went to Viljandi - Home to the Culture Academy with Native Craft departments.. Also, site of a super cool castle ruins!

The town was settled in the 5th century, and the first stronghold built by the 12th, captured by Livonians, Germans, Russians, Estonians, Danes etc. throughout the years. Each owner built it larger, and rings of moats surround the central square.

The largest remaining wall serves as an amphitheater backdrop for performances.

The entire site overlooks a calm meandering river.

The castle passed out of usefulness and was left to ruin, with many wall torn down for their stones. The church near the gates, however, is still in use.
It was a windy, but rather nice, day for us in Viljandi, and not a bad spot to go to school! (Wink-wink.)