A Travellerspoint blog

Aiming for Fat Margaret

Shopping on the Dock in Tallinn and a Pedicap Ride


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2009 Baltic Cruise & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

14 June 2009

We are to be in Tallinn today. We went up to the dining room for breakfast and B had A poached egg on corned beef hash

A poached egg on corned beef hash


and I had oatmeal, but this time they didn't supply raisins and brown sugar - only bananas. As we were having breakfast B spotted a lighthouse and I tried to take a picture from the dining room. Afterwards I went out and took photos from the deck.
Vahemadal which is on the northwestern approach

Vahemadal which is on the northwestern approach


In Estonian madal is a shoal or bank. This lighthouse is located on a shoal on the northwestern approach to Tallinn harbor, about 3 km (2 mi) north of the Valjasaar peninsula. This lighthouse is an octagonal pyramidal steel tower with double gallery but no lantern, mounted on a pyramidal concrete base. The tower also has a fog whistle, which operates in all weather. Upper half of tower painted white, lower half red; gallery rails are also red. Accessible only by boat
large_4525923-Vahemadal_Estonia.jpg
Seagull with ships at the dock behind him

Seagull with ships at the dock behind him


The town looks very pretty from the water.
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Seven Seas Voyager

Seven Seas Voyager


was already at the dock and there was another docking area for ferries
Green ferry

Green ferry


We saw one coming in. It was very cold and windy.
Tallink ferry

Tallink ferry


There are regular TALLINK ferry boats that shuttle between Tallinn and Helsinki. The TALL in the name comes from Tallinn, and the LINK part is a contraction of HeLsINKi. Actually Tallink Silja world offers passengers access to the entire Baltic Sea Region. Routes connect all year round Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia. M/S Princess Maria is a modern passenger ferry built in Finland and can accommodate up to 1638 passengers and 395 vehicles. Passengers of all nationalities traveling on Princess Maria can enjoy St. Petersburg for 72 hours without a Russian visa.
Baltic Princess

Baltic Princess


The ferry line operator is St. Peterline. Another of their trips is the Baltic Sea Capitals Round Trip Cruise (Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallinn). And of course there is the Tallink Shuttle from Helsinki to Tallinn.

Most of the reviews I read said that the old town was best thing to see and the cheapest way to see the Old Town is on foot. But it is not easy to do that if you are mobility impaired. There is a way around the steps, but there are still cobblestones.
4578172-narrow_cobbled_street_Tallinn.jpgNarrow cobblestone street

Narrow cobblestone street


Walking on an uneven surface is very hard for me, and since I am out of shape, climbing is also difficult. I do not like to climb (or go down) steps as it is hard on my knees. Almost all the ship tours were by bus or they were walking tours. I didn't want to walk, and I didn't think that I would see much from a bus. So I had bought the round trip shuttle ticket to town, which both the port lecturer and the cruise director said was $8.00 for round trip, but which had $10.00 printed on it. I was only charged $8.00. Although it wasn't mentioned in the ship inofrmation stuff, there is a hopon-hopoff bus for Tallinn which is parked near the docks.
Hop on Hop off Bus

Hop on Hop off Bus


There are also city buses and trolley cars.
4542623-Sightseeing_Bus_Tallinn.jpgCity Bus?

City Bus?

Trolley Cars

Trolley Cars


And, as I found out, - taxis.
Taxi waiting for pedestrian

Taxi waiting for pedestrian


I thought that there were no vehicles that could go into Old Town, which turned out not to be strictly true. Taxis are one of the few vehicles that can get around the old town and that would have been an alternate to what we did. Interestingly, I find that the rates are not uniform - each company sets their own rates. This is what the Tallinn webpage says about taxis: Taxis can be hailed on the street..They can also be found queuing up at taxi stands in front of larger hotels and some major intersections.....
Taxi stand on the street

Taxi stand on the street


Each taxi's rates are posted on a yellow sticker on the car's right rear window. The cost usually consists of a base fare (starting fare) plus a per-kilometre fare. It is illegal for the driver to smoke or to allow others to smoke in the taxi.
Taxi door

Taxi door


It is always a good idea to make sure the taxi’s meter is turned on. In all registered taxis, a white, plastic operator’s card with the driver’s photo and name is attached to the middle of the dashboard. If you do not see this card, you may be in an unregistered taxi. The driver is not allowed to ask for more than what is on the meter. The driver must be paid in euros. A few taxis also accept payment by bank card.

After I listened to the port lecture several times (it was played in a continuous loop on one of the ship TV channels), I decided that I wanted to go to Old Town and see the Fat Margaret Tower which is now a Maritime Museum, St. Olafs Church and Alex Nevesky Cathedral. When we got off the ship, there was some confusion because apparently my card had B.'s photo on it.

I knew before I came that the Estonian kronor (The word kroon, meaning "crown", is related to the Swedish krona and Norwegian krone and to the Latin word corona) was different from the Danish krone that we had been using, so I knew we would have to get some money if we wanted to shop in Tallin. However, it was Sunday which I did not take into account. We got off the ship, and as I usually do, I was carrying one credit card, one card to use in an ATM and a small amount of cash in US dollars.
Kiosks at the dock

Kiosks at the dock


We just missed the shuttle, so we walked down the row of shops first. I got a $20 bill cashed - half Estonian kronor and half Russian rubles. For $10, I got 100 kronor. For the other $10, I got about 310 rubles. B found a fleece hat that she liked so we bought that.
Estonian hat

Estonian hat


I have heard that one reason that cruise ships don't leave from Estonia is because the airport is not able to handle the luggage of cruise ship pax. Do bring warm clothes and sturdy walking shoes. Even though it was mid June, my granddaughter did not have enough warm clothing to wear. I was wearing a thermal hood, a turtleneck and a lined raincoat (it was overcast and looked like rain). She's wearing one of the only two pairs of long pants that she brought with her for a 3 week trip.

I hoped they would drop us off at Fat Margaret as that was right near the docks. But no - they took us around one of the roads with streetcars in the middle and dropped us there. I had no idea where we were. So we started walking towards the spires that we could see above town. B was taking closeup pictures of pigeons and sparrows and flowers.
4578174-pothole_past_the_pigeon_Tallinn.jpgPigeons on the cobblestones

Pigeons on the cobblestones


Grandaughter photographing flowers in the park

Grandaughter photographing flowers in the park

DSCN0682.JPGDSCN0700.JPG
Face on a light?

Face on a light?


We got to some kind of park that had a fountain with three naked boys sitting on top
large_8c3a91d0-703f-11e9-bb7f-b3db2fe24c56.JPGUmbrellas for the rain

Umbrellas for the rain


and also a bust of Dostojesvski.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Fyodor Dostoyevsky


This bust of Fyodor Dostoyevsky was a gift from the city of Moscow to the city of Tallinn. The pedestal has an engraving in Russian and Estonian which of course we could not read.
4550893-Fyodor_Dostoyevsky_Tallinn.jpgFyodor Dostoyevsky

Fyodor Dostoyevsky


I identified it from this web page which says ..this bust of Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky epicts him as a man perhaps in his fifties, with a long beard, sunken cheeks and a serious appearance. The work appears to be bronze and a little larger than life-sized. It is set on a marble pedestal which is about 7 feet tall. The sculptor is Valeri Jevdokimov and is dated as having been unveiled 31 May /2002.
We went through a car park
Car park

Car park


and turned up a street.
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Street in Tallinn

Street in Tallinn


4578846-Sign_on_the_window_Tallinn.jpg Sign on the window and People entering a shop

Sign on the window and People entering a shop

Tower over the roofs of town

Tower over the roofs of town


There are lots of little shops in Tallin. We saw this shop and took pictures because of the door knocker.
4578844-Woodpecker_handle_Tallinn.jpgWoodpecker door knocker

Woodpecker door knocker


I haven't been in to shop because I'm kind of an anti-shopper and I can't stand very long without pain. So shopping isn't my thing. All the websites for this shop or other ships are in Estonian and I just can't tell much from the translations. You will have to actually go and look. We ended up by the city wall where there were two towers and a market - the Viru Gate.
Tower

Tower


Viru Gate

Viru Gate


There was also a McDonalds.
McDonalds

McDonalds


We saw several shops along the city wall which appeared to be selling flowers, food and souvenirs.
Shops

Shops


4578869-More_market_stalls_Tallinn.jpgMarket stalls

Market stalls


Unfortunately, my back was too painful for me to walk over and look at their wares. Maybe they would have had some things I would have liked to buy or maybe it would have been just touristy stuff.
Past the gate

Past the gate

Steps up into the park

Steps up into the park

large_4550994-Part_of_the_architecture_Tallinn.jpg
B went up into a park called Viruvarava magi
Map of the park

Map of the park


and took some pictures of a statue up there.
Kissing sculpture

Kissing sculpture


It is a park in Tallinn City Center which is used by many Tallinners to go in and out of the Old Town. There is a statue there, dedicated to a famous Estonian writer Anton H. Tammsaare. The park was established in 1948 on a former bombsite, and was originally called Stalin Square. After Stalin's death it was called 16th October Park, but in 1978 when the statue to Tammsaare was erected it was unofficially renamed for him. My granddaughter did not take a photo of him, but the description intrigued me, so this is what the statue looks like from the Walking Tour of Tallinn page. Tammsaare’s expression, a combination of reflectiveness, scepticism and resignation, is deeply Estonian. It is between Pärnu maantee and Estonia puiestee.
The Estonian writer Tammsaare

The Estonian writer Tammsaare


My granddaughter up in the park

My granddaughter up in the park


Meanwhile I sat on my cane and watched what was going on.
Me sitting on my cane as a pedestrian passes

Me sitting on my cane as a pedestrian passes


I saw a guy with a pedicab - he had a recumbent trike with a space for two people in the back. I want over to inquire.

He said for 350 kronor ($35) we could do an hour tour for the two of us. Sounded good to me. I told him the places we wanted to go and that I wanted to end up back where the shuttle bus was. He said he could do that. Anyway that is two options for Tallinn that are more appealing and less expensive than the ship's tours. (The HOHO bus and the pedicab)
Sightseeing train

Sightseeing train


We also saw one of those little train things like the Trolley Roger or the Conch Train. I don't know how you get to ride on one of them.
The back of our pedicab driver

The back of our pedicab driver


The pedicab driver told us which parts of the old wall were original, and which had been rebuilt. Roughly half of the original towers remain. By the 16th century, the wall had 8 gates that consisted of several towers and walls connecting them.
Gate arch

Gate arch


The main tower of a gate was always square and the barbicans were equipped with one or two small round towers.The twin towers of Viru gate, are part of the original 14th century gate system.
4550356-Viru_gate_Tallinn.jpgViru Gate

Viru Gate


Only a fraction of a previous gate structure remains. The gate entrance was composed of a large tower, walls and the existing two towers. Unfortunately the larger inner gate towers have been destroyed to provide vehicle access
4542614-Looking_out_the_other_side_Tallinn.jpgLooking out the sides

Looking out the sides


He told us about the Pub with No Name which had no name because an Irishman who couldn't speak any Estonian set the pub up and couldn't think of an Estonian name for it.
Pub with No Name

Pub with No Name


It was June 14th when we were in Tallinn, and we saw a lot of Estonian flags. The Estonian national flag is a tri-color, with three equal horizontal bands - blue, black and white.
Flag against the stone of the wall/gate

Flag against the stone of the wall/gate


These colors symbolize important qualities - blue is referred to as the color of faith, loyalty and devotion; it also reflects the qualities of the sky, sea, and lakes. Black is said to be symbolic of the dark past of suffering of the Estonian people; the traditionally black jacket of the Estonian peasant during past times. White represents the striving towards enlightenment and virtue. White is also the color of birch bark and snow, and summer nights illuminated by the midnight sun
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All of the Estonian flags had black streamers on the top of the poles. Our pedicab driver told us that this was in remembrance of the June 14, 1941 Deportations. Officially, this is the - Day of Mourning and Commemoration (Leinapäev). Estonia was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1939-1940, and the first large scale deportation of ordinary citizens was carried out by the local operational headquarters of the NKGB (the Estonian branch of the KGB). On June 14, 1941, and the following two days, between 9,254 and 10,861 people, including more than 5,000 women and over 2,500 children under 16, and 439 Jews (more than 10 percent of the Estonian Jewish population) were deported.
Estonian flag with a black streamer

Estonian flag with a black streamer


Men were generally imprisoned and most of them died in Siberian prison camps; women and children went mostly to Kirov Oblast, Novosibirsk Oblast. Hundreds were shot. Only 4,331 persons have ever returned to Estonia.
Streamer has blown out from the flag

Streamer has blown out from the flag


The flag days in Estonia are: Jan. 3 -- Commemoration Day of Combatants of the Estonian War of Independence; Feb. 2 -- Anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty; Feb. 24 -- Independence Day, Anniversary of the Republic of Estonia; March 14 -- Mother Tongue Day; second Sunday in May -- Mother's Day; May 9 -- Day of Europe; June 4 -- Estonian Flag Day; June 14 -- Day of Mourning (flag must be hoisted as mourning flag); June 23 -- Victory Day; June 24 -- Midsummer Day; Aug. 20 -- Day of Restoration of Independence; Sept. 1 -- Day of Knowledge; second Sunday in November -- Father's Day. Under law, the flag must be raised on flag days on the buildings of state and local government agencies and legal persons in public law. On Independence Day, Victory Day and the Day of Restoration of Independence, the Estonian flag must be displayed also on residential buildings and office buildings.
Another driver's pedicab

Another driver's pedicab


Cobblestones

Cobblestones


Since we were in the lower town when we got the pedicab, he had to take us up to the upper town to Toompea where the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was.
Street cart

Street cart


This was a lot of work for him and he had to stop talking and just pedal as hard as he could to get up there. Even though it was still quite cold, he was shedding coats and sweaters. He had to resort to tacking across the hill finally to get up to the top.
Pedestrian crossing sign

Pedestrian crossing sign


The Alex Nevsky Cathedral is is built in the Russian Orthodox style with the onion domes etc.
Alex Nevsky Cathedral

Alex Nevsky Cathedral


a 19th century building which is a little over the top in style for a 13th century medieval town.
Entrance closeup

Entrance closeup


It was begun by Russian Tsar Alexander III in 1894 on what is believed to be the grave of the mythical Estonian king Kalev. Tsar Alexander named it for Alexander Nevsky, the prince of Novgorod, who in 1242 led the Russian army to victory against the invading Germans. It is controversial because many Estonians believe the Cathedral was built in yet another attempt to Russify them.
Picture over the entrance

Picture over the entrance


We didn't go inside (for one thing, photography is not allowed inside and it was also Sunday) but I understand it is decorated with mosaics.
Bicycle food vendor

Bicycle food vendor


From there we went through some narrow streets to the overlook where Toompea Castle was. Toompea is a steep hill at the top of the old city.
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The Danes built Toompea Castle here in 1219, but nothing remains of it today.
899707234557278-One_side_of_..gs_Tallinn.jpgLooking both ways on the overlook

Looking both ways on the overlook


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The Knights of the Sword rebuilt it in the 13th century and some of their towers remain - especially Pikk Hermann (Tall Herman). We did not get a photo of Tall Herman, but when you climb the hill, you start seeing the buildings of the current Toompea Castle with the current Parliament Building of the Republic of Estonia - the Riigikogu when you are at Alexander Nevsky Cathedral which is opposite it.
My granddaughter looking out from Toopea

My granddaughter looking out from Toopea


The pedicab driver took our photo
My granddaughter and me

My granddaughter and me

Looking ahead from in the back of a pedicab

Looking ahead from in the back of a pedicab


The castle complex is made up of several parts: the west wall and the Tall Hermann tower belong to the medieval fortress of the Order of the Brothers of the Sword, the Government Administration building represents the Czarist era and is classic in style, and the building of the Riigikogu, in the castle courtyard, was built in the beginning of the 1920s.

I have identified several buildings which we saw, but did not actually visit. The Estonian Parliament meets in the Toompea Castle. Built in the 13th to the 14th centuries, the castle is situated on the steep limestone coast, 50 meters above sea level. It is very impressive.
Parliament Building Opposite Alex N Cathedral

Parliament Building Opposite Alex N Cathedral


Post Office (and my granddaughter's nose)

Post Office (and my granddaughter's nose)


The Toompea Post Office is also located in the Old Town, at Lossi plats 4, and is open Monday to Friday, 9:00 - 17:00.

In addition to the government buildings, we also saw one of the four movie theatres in town the Kino Soprus, with it's Corinthian-columned facade. It hosts the Sleepwalkers’ Student Film Festival - an integral part of the prestigious Black Nights Film Festival or Poff.
Kino Soprus - a movie theatre

Kino Soprus - a movie theatre

Estonian Academy of Arts

Estonian Academy of Arts


The Estonian Academy of Arts (Estonian: Eesti Kunstiakadeemia, EKA) is the only public university in Estonia providing higher education in art, design, architecture, media, art history and conservation.
Top of the stairs

Top of the stairs


On the way out he showed us where we would have come up the stairs if we had done the walk on foot.
4542631-Climbing_up_the_steps_Tallinn.jpgStairs up to the overlook

Stairs up to the overlook


As we came down from Toompea,
Looking up at the castle from the pedicab

Looking up at the castle from the pedicab


we saw that artists had displayed their work along the wall of Long Leg street (aka Pikk_Jalg).
4578841-Art_from_the_Pedicab_Tallinn.jpgArt from the Pedicab

Art from the Pedicab


This thoroughfare links the two parts of the old town, the Lower town where the commoners lived, and Toompea Hill which was reserved for the gentry
484620164578838-Display_of_a..et_Tallinn.jpgArtist and art on on Pikk Jalg Street

Artist and art on on Pikk Jalg Street


We didn't get a close enough look from the pedicab to see what the prices were, but there seemed to be a good variety to chose from. Since they weren't framed, the pictures wouldn't be hard to take home in your suitcase, and you could get them framed at home. Just be sure to figure that price into the price of the art.

We did not have a need to buy a Tallinn card, but we did see them for sale in the Old Town below Toompea where I would not have expected it. Public transport is free if you have a Tallinn Card
Tallinn Card

Tallinn Card


We came down to St. Olav's which was the typical church with a tall tower which had a steep pointed roof.
Roof detail

Roof detail


Unlike the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, this is an Estonian church. The port lecturer told us we should look throughout Scandinavia for Olav/Olaf's. So I told the pedicab driver that I wanted to see this particular church.
4606273-Side_of_St_Olavs_Tallinn.jpgSide of St. Olav's and Window detail

Side of St. Olav's and Window detail


The 400 foot tall tower was once Europe's tallest until Cologne Cathedral was built. We didn't go in.The church was named for the11th century Norwegian King Olaf II. However there is another similarly named person who is associated with this church - the architect Olev who offered to build the church for free if the people of Tallinn could discover his name. According to legend, Olev died when he fell from the tower.
4606271-Famous_tall_tower_Tallinn.jpgLooking up at the steeple

Looking up at the steeple


Archway

Archway


Gate towers from outside the wall

Gate towers from outside the wall


We passed Fat Margaret, but did not get to visit the Maritime Museum.
4550366-Another_view_Tallinn.jpgWall detail

Wall detail

The tower called Fat Margaret

The tower called Fat Margaret

Small shop on the corner

Small shop on the corner


We also passed some exhibition gardens from the Garden Design Festival June 3 – October 10.
Garden by the walls

Garden by the walls


This was because there was a garden design festival which had local designers as well as those from Finland, Sweden, Russia, and Macedonia. Outside the medieval town walls located on Towers Square (Tornide väljak), you could learn how to plant a medieval garden or a 21st Century garden
4550861-Vegetable_gardens_Tallinn.jpgVegetable and Flower gardens

Vegetable and Flower gardens


and pick up tips on everything from planning to photography. Concerts, performances, and playful activities for children complete the package. The festival culminated with a light festival in Kadriorg Park that were an aftermath of the local flower show including a topiary section.
Topiary dog

Topiary dog


The pedicab driver told us a lot about the Soviet era memorials. But this monument is to the Estonian Rear-Admiral Johan Pitka
Photo of Admiral Pika

Photo of Admiral Pika


which is situated at the south east corner of Hirvepark. The bust of Admiral Pitka, is on a black granite pedistal, and is flanked on both side with large stainless steel panel, designed in the shape of a hull of a ship.
Rear-Admiral Johan Pitka monument

Rear-Admiral Johan Pitka monument


The plinth is a retangular column made of black granite, that is twisted such that the corner faces forward. The large stainless steel panels are angled towards the sculpture of Pitka and have what appear to be large rivets on the edges of the panels. It is positioned so that the monument is facing east. The bust is several times larger than a human head. Atop his head is a Naval Officers hat, with an anchor types symbol on the front. He is wearing a mustache and a goatee beard. Engraved in the base is: KontradmiralJohanPitka1872-1944 Pitka organized the last defence of Tallinn against the advancing Red Army. The circumstances of his death remain unknown.

Right near Fat Margaret was the Estonia Ferry Disaster Memorial.
Broken Line Memorial

Broken Line Memorial


The Broken Line memorial is a curving piece of steel in memory of the 852 people who lost their lives in the Estonia passenger ferry catastrophe on 28 September 1994. The stone plaque bearing the names of 501 Swedes, 280 Estonians, 23 Latvians, 10 Finns, and 2 Brits, 17 others who lost their lives in this disaster.
Broken line explanation

Broken line explanation


As the hour was up the guide gave us each a commemorative Estonian coin.
395135194573516-My_granddaug..on_Tallinn.jpgMy granddaughter holding a commemorative kroon

My granddaughter holding a commemorative kroon


We paid him with the 100 kroon plus $28.00 which was all of the rest of my US cash. He didn't want the rubles.
Granddaughter on shuttle bus

Granddaughter on shuttle bus


We took the shuttle bus back to the ship. They took our tickets - which they had not to begin with - just let us get on the bus, and apparently we were supposed to have signed a roster too, but we hadn't.

On the way back to the ship we stopped again at the shopping area. We bought some postcards, and B wrote and sent one. There were some cute cheese slicers, and I wanted to buy a sweater, but the guy in the money booth couldn't get my credit cards to work to get money and most of my cash was still on board. I hadn't thought to try an ATM in town, so I had to go without buying the things I wanted.
Going back to the ship

Going back to the ship


People getting back from ship excursions

People getting back from ship excursions


We were too late to eat lunch in the dining room, but we each had a nice slice of roast beef in the Lido.
Roast Beef and spinach

Roast Beef and spinach

Bread and butter

Bread and butter

Stir fry

Stir fry

Spinach salad

Spinach salad


Then we went down to get our pictures changed for the correct ones. B had been wearing her hat and had hat-hair, and I was wearing a thermal hood, and my glasses had darkened like I was wearing dark glasses. Not flattering.

The ship office gave us back our passports with a photocopy they had made (originally it was two photocopies but the Russians changed their minds and said we only needed one), and they gave each of us a pass made out except for three items and they gave us specific instructions to deal with the pass. We must not tear the two halves apart. We must sign in the space indicated, and circle the word indicated and underline another word and leave a certain space blank.
Granddaughter's photo of the pilot boat

Granddaughter's photo of the pilot boat


As the ship left we took some nice pictures of the town. B ended up with 276 pictures and I only had 175.
Tallinn {Reval, Katharinenthal}

Tallinn {Reval, Katharinenthal}


The 1896 Tallinn {Reval, Katharinenthal} Range Rear is 262 ft tall and shows a whte light, 3 secons on, 3 seconds off, with much more intense light along the range line. It is a round stone tower with lantern and gallery. The upper 1/3 of lighthouse painted black, lower 2/3 white.
St. Olaf's Church

St. Olaf's Church


St. Olaf's Church with its immensely tall steeple never had a light, but since the 14th century it has been one of the best known daybeacons of northern Europe.
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Pakri lighthouse?

Pakri lighthouse?

Leaving Estonia

Leaving Estonia


I had dinner with a couple of grandparents and their grandson James who was 16. B opted to keep taking pictures and not to come to dinner. I had the
Orange and Avocado Carousel

Orange and Avocado Carousel


as an appetizer
Chilled Mixed Berry Soup

Chilled Mixed Berry Soup

Potato and Leek Gratin

Potato and Leek Gratin


I had what they called a
Pavlova

Pavlova


for dessert, but it wasn't a classical Pavlova.

The steward made a towel animal which looked a bit like an anteater to me.
Towel animal

Towel animal


We set our watches ahead an hour.
Granddaughter's photo of herself

Granddaughter's photo of herself

Tomorrow is St. Petersburg

Posted by greatgrandmaR 09:04 Archived in Estonia

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