Tallin

We left Warnemünde late in the evening in rain and windy conditions, which had been par for the course for our time in this port. Great to look forward to a full day at sea, NOT.

Next morning awoke to a fine outlook with calm sea conditions, and this is the Baltic Sea.

Now that is calm Sea of glass

I guess you take what you get. The day continued to improve as it went on, with the sea like glass toward the end of the day. We even managed to have a barbeque for lunch. The fine weather, hot sun and lack of wind almost made up for the boredom, but still not quite. Sheesh some people are hard to satisfy!!!!!!

Sunset in the baltic sea  Sunset in the Baltic

So after a lovely day, and a great sunset, as well as putting our clocks forward one hour, it was off to sleep looking forward to a land day in the morning.

Morning dawned calm, overcast, with a hint of rain, until I figured that the water running down the Observation Lounge windows was in fact the window cleaning system spraying water over the windows!!  In fact the morning continued to improve over the next couple of hours until it was time to disembark at eight thirty.

Arrival Arrival in Tallin

Now for a change we had actually done some homework on the city of Tallin, particularly we were looking for wifi connection, and had almost a plan of action from the moment we disembarked. We have watched the boards go up outside reception with the next days offerings to those who are part of package tours. It finally clicked that if we took a photo of the maps (reception will not give out maps as you are supposed to buy a guided tour from them!), downloaded the map onto the iPad, we could then zoom in on the maps and utilise them throughout the day. The same for the guide books available in the library, we just photograph maps we need and then put them on the iPad!

Map of Tallin Map of Tallin

Within fifty metres off the ship we found that there were a host of stalls set up offering all sorts of goods, mostly locally made. But also there was a set of stand up bar type leaners under a canopy advertising free wifi. And so it was. And it worked. And we took advantage. Then decided we had best head into town.

Whilst getting to the an example of how tetrapods should be used for sea protection.  Take a look Oamaru.

Use of tetrapods

 

Off we went to board the hoho bus, first on board, everybody else walking past or going on their ship based tours, oops had we done the right thing. Well the bus did eventually fill quite quickly and we were off into Tallin.

Now which one should we use Which bus?

We thought that the second stop would place us at the top of the city in the “Old City”, a walled area, hundreds of years old. We were right, off the bus and a short climb to a beautiful church. Well worth a visit it was our first exposure to Russian Orthodox churches where there was a deep sense of reverence and an obvious regard for strict rules of behaviour. The other noticeable item was when we heard a very good choir but could not identify the source of the sound and assumed it was from some form of recording, but the affect was very impressive. Outside the church there were a number of older women obviously openly soliciting for funds, why or for whose benefit was not made clear so one must assume that they were begging on their own behalf.

Church Church at top of old town

Around the corner to a vantage point with an extremely good view out to the ship and over some interesting old buildings. You could even see the ship our ship in the background.

View from outlook point View over part of Tallin

From there we wended our way, through narrow cobbled alleys, through gated openings in the old city walls down the hill to the town square.

Down to wall gate wall gate open

 

Arrivinbg at the lower town we found ourselves in the Town Square where there was a market set up with a lot of stalls in front of the Town Hall.  This was decorated with a number of dragons set high in the front wall.

Snow and the dragons close up of a dragon

Snow and the dragons                Close up of Dragon

There we found an outdoor seating area (associated with a bar), sat down and immediately found at least five free open wifi connections. The first we tried turned out to be fast and high quality. This enabled us to upload a number of photos, get our email and generally catch up.

Full of alcohol Full of alcohol

 

After a couple of hours we moved on to further parts of the city. At this stage we were feeling rather warm as the day was improving as it went on. Next thing it started to rain, lightly to start with, but then getting somewhat harder. Thanks to Hilda and Burnie for the ponchos as they were just the thing for this eventuality. We then took the only course possible, find a covered curbside cafe, coffee, tea and roll later, found another different free wifi point and carried on until the shower passed.

Back on the hoho bus for another drive into the outskirts of Tallin, enjoyable and showed a city rebranding itself and going forward at a good pace. Then back to the ship to recharge the laptop before a final onslaught using the quay side wifi point.

A head of the rest Definite looker

General impressions of Tallin were entirely favourable, very clean, very tech savvy. All of the people we had contact with were very friendly, obliging and went out of their way to assist. It is an impressive achievement in a relatively short period since the Soviet withdrawal. It has to be the most tech savvy nation with bill payments, bus and train fares all being able to be paid using phones, they were also instrumental in the development of Skype as well as the first nation to have election voting done via the Internet.

We met a number of people on the way back to the ship who were mightily peeved that they had not realised that Estonia was so tech savvy and were ruing the fact that they had not taken advantage of it. There were also some very grumpy people moaning about the cost and the very slow internet available on the ship (US$55 for 100 minutes).

We finally got back to the ship just before time was up. We headed off to get ourselves a cuppa and on the way through the ship we came across a small bar where there was a Trivia Quiz about to start, so we perched on bar stools and the Kiwi Team of Two proceeded to win the quiz!! Well, we were first equal with another team of 5 players, but no play off required, so we were feeling quite chuffed after that.

A great day, now we are off to St Petersburg where we have organised a private tour at half the cost of the ship organised mass tours. Again, we have done our homework and engaged a tour company that came highly recommended on all the sites we visited. We will see.

Clocks go forward another hour as well.

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One Response to “Tallin”

  1. e1aine Says:

    This post was brilliant. I’m going to Tallin in September and wanted a bit of a feel for it as it wasn’t my choice – just heading out with a group of friends. Now I can’t wait.

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