Last night kate and I were invited to the Columbus Club cocktail party for Gold members of Cruise and Maritime! It was a drinks and canapés affair which we had decided to attend, but were unofficially dreading ! It turned out to be very low key and pleasant - the officers made a point of chatting with everyone, and our dashing Greek captain was dignified and charming, he is known to the crew as Silver Fox, and indeed was every inch a potential Hollywood film star! It was a new experience to me as I don't think I have ever been a member of that sort of ‘club’ before ! A £ to speak to me now !
We docked at Port of Tallinn at 11am this morning after a sunny sail up the Baltic Sea into the harbour. I watched the pilot jump from the pilot boat from directly under my cabin window, onto our ship in a very athletic sort of way and never for a moment looking as if he might end up in the drink ! It was a flat calm cruise into the berth even though it meant a 180 degree turn so we face the correct direction for sailing out later today !
A complimentary shuttle bus took us from the terminal to the centre of Old Town and the magnificent Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. I simply love the ornate style of the Russian Orthodox churches. They sparkle and glisten and are quite mystical in their ambience. Today the great alter area was quietly filled with local folk lighting candles, saying their own private prayers and then going about their daily business. This kind of normal drop in worship I find very comforting. No great show, no large body of worship, just ordinary folk alone with their their thoughts. A monk was quietly seated in a small corner seat, again just ‘getting on with the job’ as my nun friends say !
We then walked around the Old Town - so beautiful and charming in its soul. Tiny winding passages, cobble stones in lanes a thousand years old, and buildings with the ever present pastel Hanseatic colours. We had lunch in a small cafe which looked as old as Methuselah with large stone walls and a low ceiling. The Pea Purée soup with crispy bacon was to die for and the coffee was exquisite !
We had purchased tickets for the hop on hop off tourist bus which was a boon, as we were able to see some of the sights from the comfort of a warm inside cabin - it was sunny and crisp but windy and only 12 degrees. A perfect autumnal day in a perfect fairytale city. A large statue of Rusalka is by the harbour, but I haven't yet discerned whether it is the Dvorak Opera ‘Rusalka’ or a famous Estonian legend !?
The harbour market was great as we walked back to the ship, and the crafts in embroidery and wood were gorgeous to behold. Much Juniper tree wood products were for sale which smelled heavenly and seemingly the pan stands release more scent of juniper when a hot dish is put upon one. Well I bought one, so we will see !
What a simply delightful city, long may it stay independent and safe from any type of invasion from not so cheery close neighbours !