Baltic cruise: Tallinn

Another day, another country. Today we are in Tallinn, Estonia.

Despite being quite far North and, you’d expect, quite cold, the climate was almost Mediterranean while we were there. The locals said it was freakishly hot and they never had weather like this. The sky was clear and blue and the sun was beating down.

In the port, there was a small market set up, mainly selling tourist novelties. The trademark gift seems to be palm-sized porcelain houses; some with a place to put incense so smoke comes from the chimney. But there was a large variety of different gifts, which was a refreshing change from some of the tourist markets we’d seen in other countries, where every stall had near-identical copies of precisely two varieties of gift.

This photo was taken from the dock market. You can’t really comprehend how huge these ships are until you walk between them.

MSC Ocean & MS Jewel of the Seas

It was only a short walk to reach the old town, which has a strange medieval feel and cobbled streets. For some reason, this building has a Swedish flag.

A building in Tallinn

Only a few steps away from the building above, I saw this colourful door.

A painted door

Minutes later, we reached the town square, Raekoja plats. There is a lively market here, and an imposing town hall (although behind the camera in this photo).

Tallinn square

I still can’t work out what this shop sells. Textiles, glass, ceramics, and err, schmuck?

Art shop

The old town in Tallinn is split into two halves – the upper and lower parts. You can get between the two parts in several places but the paths are quite steep. Here Edmund is walking up to the upper half.

The upper and lower towns of Tallinn

Perhaps the most impressive building we saw in Tallinn is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, an orthodox church.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

I love the cathedral’s onion domes.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

We went into the cathedral too. It was filled with lavish gold decorations and paintings but we were requested not to take photos. So you’ll have to make do with another photo of its beautiful exterior.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

A short walk brought us to St Mary’s Cathedral, a the city’s Lutheran cathedral.

St Mary’s Cathedral
St Mary’s Cathedral

Just as we had looked up into the upper town earlier on in the day, we found a viewpoint in the upper town to look over the lower town. Here you can see the new city in the background.

Tallinn’s lower old town

This view shows St Olaf’s church, and you can also see our ship in the dock.

Tallinn’s lower old town

Descending back into the lower town on our way back to the ship, we spotted some seats on the slope for fat tourists to rest on as they climb the (short) hill. My young, fit brothers apparently needed a break on the way down, though.

Between Tallinn’s upper and lower towns

After we left port it was a long journey to Oslo, and we sailed off into the sunset.

Sailing into the sunset

Oour route took us back under the Great Belt bridge (Storebæltsbroen) which joins two Danish islands. It was truly spectacular to sail under the bridge, but near impossible to capture on camera. These photos are awful, but hopefully interesting.

Storebæltsbroen

Apparently the ship was designed with this bridge in mind and passes only a couple of metres below the bridge deck! As we passed underneath, I was almost certain there would be a loud scraping noise as the Viking Crown Lounge was ripped off.

Storebæltsbroen

To be continued…

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