July 27, 2012
Sunshine, a beach (even if it is on the Baltic), a beer and a pear cider (my new favourite drink), a walk in the park and along the marina. Suddenly this definitely seems like a summer holiday.
Our airbnb apartment was advertised as “the best location” and it was that, sandwiched between the streets of Parnu’s Old Town and the Baltic coast.
We had little cafes and shops selling local handmade treasures 5 minutes in one direction and a park, marina and the main beach in the other.
It was so hot we actually went for a swim. My swim in the Baltic. Finally a reality.
Like Jurmala, the water was shallow and flat. But I didn’t care. Graham and I joined the hundreds of others – where did they all come from?- frolicking in a seaside summer ritual. I had never seen so many people pack a stretch of sand with so much enthusiasm.
We figured that when your winters are so cold and winter days so short, you become expert at making the most of your summer.
If I had to nominate just one town for people to visit along this stretch of the Baltic between Kaliningrad and Russia it would be Tallinn. Fairytale pop-up book Tallinn.
Yes, there are hordes of tourists, many of them arriving on giant cruise liners for day trips, but they horde here for a reason. This relatively small city has medieval castles and towers and a fortified wall you can climb; tall church spires including St Olaf’s, once the tallest building in the world, you can climb; the most brilliant new maritime museum featuring a 1930s submarine you can climb into; and the secrets of Cold War KGB tactics revealed in a tour of the Hotel Viru’s 23rd “secret” floor.
All this and great little cafes, a convenient public transport network, and most people in Estonia we met spoke English.
I’m starting to sound like the Estonian tourist office, or at least Lonely Planet.
Having a great time, wish you were here.