TWO WORLDS VISIBLE, ONE WORLD EXPLORED
Coming into the Estonian port city of Tallinn was a real eye-opener. I had heard that Tallinn was a powerhouse of contemporary design and a manufacturing center of electronic communications products, but most of the tourist information only speaks about the beauty and history of the old city. As Regatta got closer to the port, the two faces of Tallinn became visible: to the left as we approached were gleaming glass-and-metal skyscrapers, a city as contemporary-looking as any modern metropolitan port city in the world. To the right we could see the brick walls and ancient towers of the medieval old town, the area most attractive to tourists.
Although the old town is not that far from where the ships dock, most people who set off on their own choose to hail a cab at the port. For USD $15, we were dropped off at the bottom of the hilly part of Tallinn that is the old city, with narrow cobbled streets and walkways. From there we were free to wander up to the top of Toompea, the predominant hill in Old Tallinn, to go into the churches, to admire the handiwork of the ancient towers and walls constructed to keep the original city safe from invaders. We loved looking at some of the towers with their odd names… Fat Margaret, and Kiek in de Kok, which roughly translated means “Look in the Kitchen.”
Again, the weather was magnificent, making the day completely enjoyable. I found a marvelous restaurant (Kompressor) off the beaten path that serves Estonian pancakes, elaborate omelet-like items filled with chicken or shrimp or cheese, but since they only accepted Estonian kroon (no debit or credit cards, no euros or dollars) and I had none, I had to move on. I ran into a friend from Regatta at the main square where we went to a more-touristy eatery for salad and coffee. Afterwards we shopped for some of the magnificent fabric items (linens) and sweaters that are Estonia's best souvenirs.
Back on Regatta I dropped my purchases and changed from walking clothing into tea-time clothing, getting to Horizons in time to indulge and to enjoy our final sail-away of the voyage. We were setting off for Stockholm, our last stop. Even though we would be spending the night in Stockholm and the cruise wasn't quite over, this was our last night on the sea.
I can't imagine having a better ship from which to explore the Baltic region than Regatta. It's a smaller ship with cozy nooks for reading and relaxing, with fine-dining venues, with afternoon tea and evening tapas. More than that, because of its size (684 passengers), it's easy to mingle with other passengers over drinks or at meals. The ambiance was perfect for me after busy days in port.
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