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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

27th May, 2018

Yes another beautiful Baltic sunrise saw us embarking our pilot at the westerly approach to the Estonian port of Tallinn, early on Sunday morning (actually a little too early for a Sunday – but most passengers were still blissfully unaware of our location whilst enjoying their sleep).

This port is a favourite of mine, and houses one of the best preserved medieval cities in the region. I have been lucky enough to have explored the sights of the city before, and so today I decided to embark on one of Saga’s organised excursions, named “Back to the Soviet Era.” Only a few hours in length, this trip promised to be a bit of fun as it entailed a trip on a 50yr old Soviet built bus, whilst being immersed in propaganda and entertainment from this era.

After a leisurely breakfast I found myself joining our group of around 15 passengers, and we were escorted to a square, dumpy looking machine clearly built for practicality as opposed to comfort. Our tour guide, who was dressed as a Russian Army Sergeant, lined us up, marched us around the bus before allowing us to embark. Once aboard, we were offered ‘Russian coffee’ (I’ll leave the ingredients of this to your imagination, but to give you a clue it was straight from the bottle…) and a gherkin, to introduce us to the authentic Soviet breakfast experience.

We drove around town visiting highlights such as the city jail and various monuments to this bygone era, before eventually visiting the site of the little-known 1980 Olympic games sailing arena, just a few miles down the coast from Tallinn itself. In the meantime, our humorous guide regaled us with various facts, figures and quotes from the likes of Joseph Stalin, all in good humour of course. It was great fun, there were lots of laughs, and we all learnt a little more about the history of these Baltic states whilst under the regime and since their independence.

Back on board, it was lunch time and most passengers not enjoying another excursion elsewhere were dining outside in the sun on the aft decks, where the usual delicious BBQ grill offered fresh meat, fish & veg. The afternoon passed with not a cloud in the sky, before we set sail and headed eastward towards Russia.

After another splendid meal in the evening, entertainment tonight consisted of the very talented Dr Simon Fricker tapping furiously away at his ivory keys in the Discovery Lounge. It’s extremely hard not to be impressed by the talent of this gentleman - even if you aren’t a fan of piano music - however I found myself heading to bed early like every good boy should, in anticipation of our 05:00 pilot embarkation tomorrow morning…

Captain Kim Tanner

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

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