It was a 300 km drive from Riga to Tallinn, which took most of the day with a couple of stops. There are no Lidl stores in either Latvia or Estonia, so we stopped at a Maxima X instead (X denotes a small supermarket, XX is a large one, and XXX is a hypermarket). It was our last food shop before we cross the Baltic Sea to Helsinki. We’ve been stockpiling non-perishable food, drink (wine!) and toiletries in the van, as this tends to be very expensive in Scandinavia. We now have three very full crates in the garage, and the cupboards inside the van are bursting.
We’re now staying on a campsite in Saue, just outside Tallinn. When we pulled up we were very surprised to see about ten British vans parked up. It turned out to be an organised tour of the Baltic States, and it was great to chat to some fellow Brits. It’s quite a new site, so the facilities are good. The train station is 15 minutes walk away, and from there a 20 minute ride into the city centre costs just €2.
After four days walking around Riga, and a full day driving to Tallinn, we had a rest day yesterday. Carol did the laundry whilst I was route planning for Finland. Being able to pick up Sky News on our satellite TV, we also watched the royal wedding which was entertaining.
Today we took the train into Tallinn and spent the day in the old town. Being a port, it’s popular with the cruise ships and so the old town was very busy. One of my pet hates is the walking tours from the cruises, and it’s pretty easy to tell these from the regular walking tours by the body language: the tour guides invariably look disinterested, like they’re just going through the motions; and the people on the tour party just look bored, like they’re only doing the walk because they’ve paid for it. The guides usually carry a paddle with a number on it, so Carol and I now pick some numbers and play ‘Cruise Ship Bingo’.
With a couple of cruise ships in port, there must have been 20 or more walking tours doing the rounds so it was really busy until later in the afternoon, when they all returned to their ships. We’d already decided what we wanted to see in the old town, and managed to do this over the course of the day. Tallinn’s old town is a very pretty place.
This evening we found a great restaurant purely by chance. It was called Rataskaevu 16, and the food was superb – worthy of Masterchef we thought – and the waitress who served us gave excellent service.
Tomorrow we’ll be returning to Tallinn to visit the new town, and on Tuesday we’ll be spending the day in the bohemian Kalamaja district.