08.30.2010 - 08.30.2010
We were up and at breakfast before the ship docked. From our window seat in the dining room, we could watch the entire docking procedure. Landing instructions were given to our group in a lounge before 10 a.m. Then we followed our guide down to the pier and out to the bus.
Tallinn is a beautiful, well-preserved city from the Middle Ages. The upper Old Town is still encircled by high limestone walls, with several gateways flanked by round towers at various parts of the city. Our first stop was at the Russian Orthodox church. It was filled with many religious icons (pictures of Jesus, Mary and many saints) covered with silver and gold foil. The second stop was at the grand Lutheran cathedral. (The vast majority of Estonians are Lutheran.) Our final stop was near the top of the Old Town where we could look down below on the Lower Town. Yes, we also had the opportunity to shop. And shop.
Back aboard the bus, we were taken to Kadriorg Palace, a former summer palace of Peter the Great (a Russian tsar). The palace now serves a museum and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. After that tour, we boarded the bus once again to go back to the ship.
As it turned out, we didn't go back to the ship just then, however. Someone clued us into a restaurant in Old Town called Olde Hansa. This is an incredible 500 year old café that still uses candle light instead of electric lights, and the menu is out of the 1400s. Elaine had chicken in fig sauce and vegetables; Susie ordered the pork with turnips, cabbage, and barley with pine nuts; and John ate the bear/elk/wild boar sausages with lingon berry sauce and turnips. And for refreshments the ladies had spiced wine and John had dark beer with herbs. All very unique.
With lunch finished, a taxi returned us to the pier. We shopped around at the local dockside merchants for a bit and got back on our ship. We had just enough time for a short nap — I could get used to that — before dinner. John and Susie ate in the dining room as a celebratory anniversary dinner, while Elaine rested up a bit more and ate lighter fare on her own.
We all met up later to go to the ship's musical/dancing show based on Broadway tunes. That was over at 10 p.m., but tonight we lose one more hour, so 10 became 11 in an instant...So that means it's time to hit the hay. Our St. Petersburg tour starts early tomorrow.