16th August, 2019
Tallinn port is approached from the north and is normally well in view for at least an hour before actually arriving there. There is an interesting mix in the skyline between the fairy-tale old city’s church spires vs the more modern high-rise buildings slightly further to the west. Thankfully, they are separated at a sensible distance, with the relatively few visible modern buildings being built well away from the old city walls.
It was a glorious morning, and the weather forecast for the day was for sunshine and highs in the mid 20’s – perfect Baltic summer weather. The beautiful old city, just a 15-minute walk (or a complimentary shuttle ride) from the port, boasts UNESCO World Heritage Site status – and quite rightly so, in my lowly opinion anyway. Superbly preserved, the medieval town boats winding cobbled streets, watchtowers, graceful spires and red gabled roofs; an ideal setting for a Hollywood historical film I would have thought.
Tours today capitalised on Tallinn old & new – with plenty offering visits to medieval & ex-Soviet parts alike, along with more modern highlights such as the Olympic sailing & water-sports centre in nearby Pirita.
In a nice surprise extra for our guests, we decided to stay overnight here too (for our onward passage to Klaipeda had flexibility to be shortened) as this city really does come alive in the evening time. I therefore took the opportunity to wander ashore and see the sights myself that evening, along with our Cruise Composer Jemma.
It was a delightful wander around the old walled city, and after an hour or so we elected to sit down in a little bar on one of the cobbled side streets to enjoy a well-deserved local refreshment. A warm evening, we talked the time away whilst observing locals & holidaymakers alike roaming around with cameras and Friday evening entertainment on their minds.
At this stage, I became hungry and so it was decided to move on to find a suitable local restaurant to dine in; although I couldn’t help but notice the delightful wafts of garlic & spices swirling around where we were sitting at the time. As we left, we realised that we had not been sat at a local bar but instead at a little Indian restaurant (which had clearly in hindsight subconsciously fuelled my hunger…).
We wandered around perusing menus all over the town and they all seemed tempting – steaks, pizzas, local stews in abundance – but in the back of my mind I still had that smell of Indian spices whirling around…
And so it was that, as the sun set over a medieval town in an ex-Soviet state in high northern latitudes, I enjoyed a delicious prawn tikka-balti with garlic, chilli & coriander naan bread whilst the cruise composer tucked into her more traditionally Estonian spicy Lamb Saag…
Captain Kim Tanner
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