Monday July 26th
The region of Tallinn was settled by the Finno-Ugric people around 2,500 B.C.
Around 800 A.D. Estonian Vikings began trade in the area between the east and west. By the 10th century, Tallinn was known as a port and market place among Scandinavian and Russian merchants. In 1219 the Danes conquered the area and set their own castle on Toompea [Castle Hill]. The Estonians called it Taani linn which is Estonian for “Danish Town”.
In the 19th century Russia acknowledged the independence of the Estonian Republic and Tallinn became the capital of the country, however in 1940 it was annexed to the Soviet Union.
Finally the independent Estonia was established in 1991 and Tallinn became the official capital of the country.
The current population is 400,000 and the local currency is the Estonian Kroon [EEK]
I went for my customary walk on deck 10 just as we were entering the port of Tallinn where we docked at around 9.30 am alongside another ship from the Royal Caribbean line that had berthed a short while earlier, blocking our view of Tallinn from the “Magic”!
After breakfast at Topsider`s we met up with Doug, Michelle & Dani at Studio Sea on deck 4 from where we set off on our “Old Town Walking Tour” at 10.30 am.
We took the bus for the very short trip to the old town, a distance of only a mile or so away from the ship and our guide gave us some details of Estonia in general, and Tallinn in particular, along the way.
We got off the bus adjacent to the wall surrounding the old town to begin our tour.
Our first stop was at the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral which by “old town” standards was a fairly new building as it was built in 1900. Sadly photography was not permitted inside the cathedral although the ship`s photographer was at hand outside the main entrance.
Our tour continued along the narrow cobbled streets to where we entered the Dome Church which was built in the 13th century, and in this instance non flash photography was allowed inside.
We then meandered through the narrow cobbled streets of the old town and there was a great photo opportunity at every turn. I remarked to Doug at one stage “This would be a fantastic place if only there weren`t any tourists around!” as we sought out areas devoid of people and cars to photograph.
We were taken to a part of the town which gave us some great panoramic shots of the general area and noticed that a tv crew were filming and interviewing a young man and lady. Our guide told us that they were among the Estonian entrants for the Eurovision Song Contest and that a tv programme was being made about them.
The medieval old town area of Tallinn was certainly one of the highlights of our various excursions ashore and it really is hard to believe how old the place is because the buildings all appear to be in such a great state of repair, parts of it really resemble a film set.
We were back on board the ship by 2.00 pm where we had a snack lunch before soaking up the sun on deck 10.
At around 4.00 pm, the Royal Caribbean ship began to set sail, sounding his horn as it departed from the dockside as many of the passengers on both ships waved at each other.
The “Magic” responded with a single blast of the ship`s horn and this was followed by 2 further blasts of the horn from the other ship.
Not to be outdone, we gave them a blast of “When you wish upon a star” amid loads of cheers from both sets of passengers, and the other ship remained silent thereafter!
We set sail at 5.00 pm and soon it was time to get ready for dinner at Parrot Cay and this evening was Pirate`s Night which our table companions were really looking forward to.
We were told however that the usual on board firework display would not be taking place because they were deemed to be a pollution risk by the relevant authorities! This seemed very odd especially as we had passed through a huge oil slick on the seas only a couple of days ago, but I guess that rules are rules!
Over dinner, Doug told us that he and his family had booked their 2011 cruise on the Disney Dream. They had wanted to arrange this cruise to coincide with the one that we, along with Tom [our very own catrancher], had booked, however the date of our cruise coincided with Dani`s final exams at school so they had opted for the next immediate sailing so that at least they could catch up with us for a while when we were all to be in Florida next year.
To add to the disappointment of it all, as there had been a light rain shower at 8.45 pm [which lasted only 15 minutes or so], the Pirate`s Party was to take place in the Atrium instead of outside on deck 9. This came as a huge disappointment to all and I really felt sorry for all the folks who had gone “to town” by purchasing all of their pirate gear just for this one night and for the first time cruisers who had heard all of the hype about the party.
DCL tried to do their best in putting on a show although all three deck levels around the Atrium were packed so unless you had arrived early, it was hard to get a good view.
As tonight was Tim`s night off, we headed towards Rockin` Bar “D”, but did a hasty u-turn at the entrance when we saw that it was Karaoke Night in there!
We therefore settled for a nightcap and a chat with Pio in Cove Café which was deserted, but nevertheless a good end to the day.
An extra hour in bed was on the cards as there was a note in our stateroom reminding us to turn back our clocks by 1 hour tonight before retiring.
Tomorrow it`s Stockholm.