This is our second winter here. It hasn’t snowed as much as it did last year. Last year’s was one of the heaviest snowfall Stockholm witnessed in decades and boy, how we enjoyed! We look forward to the same this winter!
I am thankful the cold, dark Scandinavian winter does not depress me. Our house is only lit with fairy-lights. If we need something a little more brighter, I turn on our Christmas star light. I find the low light, both outside and inside the home, calming and slowing me down. I believe it’s nature’s way of causing us to reflect on our past and prepare us for the brighter, sunnier days ahead!
As I sit cozily on our couch and reflect on how great this year has been, my mind wanders to our one day cruise trip from Stockholm to Tallinn, Estonia. This trip was special to us because we got to enjoy it with my parents and our very close friends.
When Vj’s parents visited us, we went on a one day cruise trip from Stockholm to Helsinki, Finland. It was our very first cruise trip and we sailed to Helsinki by the Vikingline M/S Gabriella.
On our visit to Tallinn, we chose to go by the Tallink Silja Line. While comparing with the Vikingline, I must say, the Tallink Silja Line offered better levels of class and comfort. The theatre, the performances, the restaurants, duty free shops and the kids play area are all bigger and better.
As the cruise liner sets sail and embarks its voyage through Stockholm’s archipelago, standing on the deck in absolute wonder of the awesomeness that surrounds you, it no longer matters which cruise ship you are going by!
It was summer, the days were very long, so we stayed outdoor for a long time and enjoyed the company of our friends and some incredible scenery!
On the morning of 12th August 2017, we arrived in Tallinn around 10 am. As we disembarked from the ship and began our walk, our feet began to drift towards the sound of ‘Amazing Grace’ being played somewhere in the distance. We were led to a bagpiper. That was the first time I was listening to bagpipes being played. It was so very loud, but at the same time so pleasant and melodious to the ears. He was a traveller who had a couple of hours in hand before his flight took off and decided to treat Tallinn with some Scottish music!
With just a few hours in hand to explore this city, we chose the Tallinn Old Town to sight-see. Up until we arrived at the ancient tall stoned city walls, it looked like a regular modern city with apartments, supermarkets and office buildings. But the minute we stepped on to those cobbled streets into the stoned walled fortress, we were taken back in time!
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. On the map, you will be able to spot it east of Stockholm, south of Helsinki on the shore of the Gulf of Finland.
Listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tallinn is one of the best preserved medieval cities in northern Europe. St. Olaf’s Church, believed to have been built in the 12th century, is the very place we stopped at.
Sources say this church was the tallest building in the world from 1549 to 1625. It is also known to have been hit by lightening ten times and burned down completely thrice since its known existence. However, today, it stands tall and majestic, with no sign of its sad past!
This little Baltic town is slowly gaining popularity among tourists. As a result, it’s less crowded.
The enchanting architecture are a treat to the eyes.
I felt like I was walking right into a postcard!
The winding cobblestone streets brought us to the town square!
It was the liveliest part of the city. Much like the Old Town of Krakow I visited later in the month, only more petite. It’s lined up with lovely little cafes and restaurants with the Town Hall at its very center.
The Tallinn Town Hall is the oldest town hall in Scandinavia and the Baltic region!
We spent nearly an hour in the Raekoja plats, the town square, absorbing the colourful sights.
Right then, a bride-to-be and her friends walked up to us with a tray of cupcakes. People can pay any amount for the cupcake and the money will be used for the wedding. It’s an Estonian tradition said the girls. I found it to be a very unique and cute idea!
Little Krissy was absolutely fascinated by the horse pulled carriage that was stationed on the street.
As we continued our walk, we went past more churches!
There was very little to no traffic within the Old Town. So the kids enjoyed running freely on the streets.
Although we did not have the time to visit each church along the way, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral’s magnificent Russian Revival style architecture drew us in. This orthodox cathedral is Tallinn’s grandest orthodox cupola and largest cathedral.
Our final stop was at the Danish King’s Garden. It is believed that in 1219, the Danish flag supposedly fell from the sky and led the Danish army to victory over the Estonians. It is a great spot to enjoy a cup of coffee in the quaint cafe overlooking the scenic Old Town of Tallinn!
We walked back the winding street back to the Town Square watching and listening to street artists perform, in search of a restaurant.
Maharaja Restaurant is where we went. The place was poorly maintained, the toilets were stinking and the service was tardy. The food was equally disappointing. My parents were not too keen on having Indian food. So they enjoyed a fresh pizza in one of the outdoor pizzerias. I wish I had followed them!
Soon after our lunch we had to rush back to the cruise ship. I have no clue what the rest of Tallinn looks like. But the picture perfect Old Town of Tallinn won my heart in just a few hours. Definitely one of the prettiest little towns I have been to!
The cruise back home was relaxed. The excitement of being on a cruise with friends and family to visit a new country had died down. Before the Monday morning routine began, we all just wanted to sit back by the window, feel the Baltic Sea billow beneath us, unwind and recoup strength for the week that was ahead. And that’s what we did!
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