Thursday, 4 September 2014
04.09.2014 - 04.09.2014
The sky was totally overcast as I started my walk around the exercise track on deck 18. As we approached Tallinn we were enveloped in a thick fog, not an auspicious start to a port day. We assembled in the Theatre for the 09:15 start of our tour of the Upper Old Town. The young lady who was our guide provided a continuous narration as we drove to our drop-off location.
With multiple ship's tours, some local tour operators and tours from another ship in port the area was soon massively congested. Eventually our group was able to gain a small degree of separation. The guide was frequented confronted with the need to account for all her charges, some of whom were notoriously slow at arriving at the agreed meeting points.
There is a rich history of architecture, some very very old, some 19th century and also some built during the Soviet era. Our guide was most informative but I lack the ability to retain much of it. By about 10:30 the fog had burnt off and the sun was making a valiant effort to break through. Back on the coach and we were driven through a variety of neighbourhoods ranging from historic wooden buildings in parkland settings to the Soviet Era drab concrete tower blocks. These old towers present a growing problem for the City Administration, they were built with a designed life of only 25 years, they are well beyond that and require extensive renovation.
The population of Estonia is a mere 1.5 million and about 1/3 live in and around Tallinn. School attendance is compulsory from age 7 and from Grade 3 English is taught to all students. The 'first' three-year university degree is free. Study at university beyond that is paid for by the student. Along our way back to the Wharf we stopped at the site of the Sailing Regatta for the Russian Olympics this provided a distant panoramic view of the port in general and our ship in particular.
We were told that one measure of how far Estonia has progressed since independence from Russia is the number of ferries to Helsinki. Soviet Era -one per month "Why would you want to leave the Soviet Paradise ??" to currently one every hour !!
Back on board for a late lunch and a few more photos as the afternoon clouds increased. Back in the cabin to record the events of the day so far and review the 110 photos captured today.
Spent time reading and adjusting to the time change- ie. we both had a nap !! There was some delay in departure as the ship's administration tried to track down two individuals, eventually resolved and we sailed off at 17:15. Off to dinner and afterwards the show in the Theatre. Three young men singing mainly Spanish and Latin songs. The volume appeared a little too loud despite the size of the venue.
After the show we returned to the cabin spending some time planning tomorrow's visit to St Petersburg, Russia and finalising this brief report. Clocks go forward another hour tonight and we have an early start in the morning.
Today's photo is an image captured from the Royal Princess and attempts to provide a view of the Medieval Section of Tallinn., see http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-09-04.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony