The Estonian Parliament buildings

The Estonian Parliament buildings

Tues 5 July - Crossing the Gulf of Finland

We had chosen the Linda Line fast cat for the crossing from Helsinki to Tallinn, as being quicker and cheaper than the big steamers. Its departure point from Helsinki was just a short walk from the Lilla Roberts hotel.

After we had checked in we noticed that all crossings scheduled for later in the day (after ours, that is) were cancelled, but didn't think too much about it. But all was soon revealed - there were storms and rough seas forecast, which is not unusual, I gather.

We bounced and rolled around a bit, but nothing too much for inveterate sailors like us. We were, however, almost an hour late getting into Tallinn (the timetable allows 1h 40m), and there was no sign of the car that was supposed to meet us, but a quick phone call to our hotel (Vodafone roaming was fantastic throughout our trip), we caught a taxi and in no time at all we were checking in to the historic Three Sisters hotel, a fascinating renovation of merchant houses originating in the 14th century.

By the way, the Linda Line terminus in Tallinn was originally built as the base for the Yachting events during the Moscow Olympics in 1980, Moscow of course not having open water, and Estonia at that time being effectively under Russian control. It was an ugly, desolate concrete structure!

Wed 6 July - Tallinn

This morning we explored the Old Town, including a lovely and informative museum; and this afternoon visited the Kadriorg Palace

Unfortunately this is where I somehow managed to reset my camera to the lowest quality/size for my images.  It was a couple of days before I realised what had happened, and corrected it.

Kadriorg Palace was built 1718-25 by Peter the Great of Russia for his wife Catherine.  It was extensively rebuilt in the 19th century, and now serves as an art gallery, although the palace and grounds are of much greater interest than its art works.

Thur 7 July - Back to Finland

A travelling day, but not before meeting this sweet little baby at breakfast.

Our journey was a flight back to Helsinki, where we connected with one to Kuopio.  Security going out of Tallinn airport was unusual, with two guys taking me into a side room and requiring me to drop my trousers so that they could inspect the scars which would prove my claim to have artificial hip joints.  Any other airport would rely on its x-ray equipment, but not Tallinn, for some reason.

Otherwise our trip was uneventful, and we arrived at Kuopio in a downpour, which fortunately passed quickly, in time for us to negotiate our first bit of driving on the right, from the airport to the lakeside Scandic Hotel.

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