Saturday 5 to Monday 7 August
Our track record for travelling in the Balkans just got worse when we arrived in Tallinn. It was pouring!
We had booked an apartment with a washing machine – true luxury after washing smalls in a tiny sink or under the shower.
Negotiating our way to the apartment turned out to be one of our greatest challenges. In our Renault with red French number plates, that always attract attention, we were twisting and turning amongst crowds of umbrella shielding tourists in the rain. As it turns out our apartment was right beside one of the tourist hotspots – the outlook over the roofs of the old town of Tallinn.
We were too early to book into our apartment, but with the parking spot procured, we ventured out for a walk, and got caught in a massive downpour. Here we found gargoyles doing their very best to drench the tourists. There was nothing we could do except take shelter under an awning and get wet from the water bouncing off the cobblestones. What a Summer!
The apartment was lovely, once we had dragged our cases up two steep sets of stairs. It was an attic with lots of room, most of it unusable under the angled roof. But the washing machine worked and before long the apartment looked like a Chinese laundry.
The rain eased so we ventured into the old town again and found a delightful restaurant with live music and an amazing menu – just what we needed to lift our damp spirits.
Rain pelted all night, and into the morning. Finally at 11:30 it seemed clear enough to venture out. We had gone a couple of streets, not even hit the old town and the rain started again. It was Sunday so we popped into the nearest cafe for a cup of coffee. The rain kept up so coffee became lunch.
Fortunately the rain stopped in the afternoon and we had time to do a quick tour of the old town – the lovely Market Square, Viru Gates and the Flower Market, some churches and ramparts. In a way to lift spirits, a band was playing in the Market Square and an older lady was dancing – such a happy sight.
After our big lunch, we bought deli food for a light dinner and watched the rain tumble down over the gutters, way into the night.
We were up early next morning, to sit in a queue for two hours to board the ferry to Helsinki. The two hour journey was packed with entertainment – a band, a magician and a lone singer. There were cabins, shops, a restaurant, numerous cafes and poker machines tucked into every spare corner.
And while the weather seemed to be clearing in Tallinn, we found more rain in Helsinki. What a summer!