Two days and two nights of sailing, and we were finally at our destination: Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Our boat safely parked in the Pirita neighbourhood, it was now time to enjoy land to the fullest.
After some well deserved sleep, all of us went to stroll around in the Pirita area.
The harbour area itself is fascinating. Back in the days (when I was seven!) the Soviet Union hosted the 1980 Summer Olympics, and Pirita was then the venue for all the sailing events. Much of the place looks exactly as it did in the old olympic pictures, and that is quite cool. They even have some rusty olympic rings left, to greet arriving sailboats.
I do prefer this harbour (and within it, the Kalev Yacht Club) over the newer ones in the center of Tallinn. It’s less busy, a bit away from it all. But still, just a short bus ride away from the center.
We walked around the harbour for a while. We went to see the Pirita Bridgettine Convent ruins. We walked to the sandy (and windy) Pirita beach. We ate surprisingly delicious food at the Piraadilaeva Restoran (a mock-up pirate ship restaurant lying in the Pirita harbour).
We were enjoying ourselves!
The weather was terrific. Sunny and warm. We were only a daysail away from our home country of Finland but it felt like being much farther away.
All in all, it was a great day and vacation life was treating us nicely.
Rummu Quarry (day 2)
While out on our two-night sail, Charlotte told me about this cool place called Rummu Quarry, an abandoned mine turned beach and swimming place.
Now that we were in Estonia, we decided to rent a car and go and check it out. (Finding a rental car for six people was surprisingly difficult, by the way, but eventually we got one.)
The old quarry really was quite something to see! We ended up spending the whole day there, swimming and exploring the place.
They had canoes there as well, so I rented one and took the children out paddling, one at a time. That was pretty neat but also a bit scary. Not the paddling stuff, but the moving in clear water over abandoned structures of concrete and metal wires stuff. Some kayakers just crashed into whatever was beneath the surface, but we thought it better to carefully avoid it 😄
What was really fun (and also a bit challenging!) was to hike up to the top of the sand hill right next to the quarry. I did it twice, first with Charlotte and then with J.
The climb up was quite steep at times, but the view well worth the effort!
The City Center (day 3)
Tallinn, especially the old city with castles and the lot, is really beautiful. On the third day of our visit, we decided to just walk around the town center, and see where we’d end up.
After a long walk around the old city, including lunch and a visit to the beautiful Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, we headed down to the more modern part of the city.
Charlotte spent half an hour shopping, then a few minutes feeling embarrassed.
She had mistaken someone else for me, and carried on a conversation with this stranger for a while, before finally noticing her mistake. (Luckily, the conversation had been.. ehm, quite decent in nature, since quite often they are not 😂)
To end our day in the city, we went to visit the Seaplane Harbour museum. It was a really fascinating place with lots of fun things for all of us. (We were starting to get a bit tired already, though, but just a bit, not too much to disturb the excitement!)
Preparing to Head Home (day 4)
“It has been wonderful here in Tallinn,” Charlotte said to me, and looked a bit sad. “Can’t we just stay here and not go back?”
She was right. Tallinn had been wonderful. Warm weather, kind people and exotic enough a place to feel far away from home. (It’s continental Europe, of course, just a hop or two away from Spain, Italy and the whole Mediterranean 😊)
It did feel a bit regrettable to have to leave a place that we were very fond of, to go in the “wrong” direction. Not forward, towards new adventures, but back home, where eventually, inevitably our sailing vacation would come to an end.
“But we will have really nice weather sailing tomorrow,” I said, trying to turn towards the bright of things. “And lots of sun, not that much of wind. You can just sunbathe all day, if you want!”
For me, it felt good that we’d finally get out on the sea again. The wind, the waves, the openness, that was the soft music my inner self was starting to long for.
Charlotte would rather have stayed, though, I’m sure.
Well, in a world without set vacation times and other obligations, I would rather have stayed as well. And after that, continued to sail in the other direction, onwards and not back.
Many years ago (25+) I would occasionally sail in the archipeligo from Hanko as well as around Helsinki. I envy your sailing grounds (but not your winters). And enjoy your adventures. I own a Hanse 371 in South Florida. Our summer sailing is not too good (too hot and hurricanes), but winters are great. We will not, however unfortunately, be going to the Abacos this winter.
Thank you for your comment! How nice (and fascinating) that you have sailed over here as well. Summer in Finland is great. Many people like winter (or say they do), but I’m not one of them 🙂
More importantly, though, I felt the need to write something back immediately because of your last sentence. We’re so saddened by the destruction that they have been met with. We’ve visited the Bahamas twice and seeing pictures of the aftermath of the hurricane is just horrible.
We actually thought, we _would_ try to go there (somewhere in the Bahamas) in winter, to bring our small humble share of business into their economy.
Mikael & Charlotte
I am enjoying following you family adventures. My wife and i have three young kids and are thinking of purchasing the same boat. Any chance of pics from the cabin with the family, with the three young ones we are wondering realistically how organized can we be down there.
Thank you for your comment!
I scanned through our pictures and found a couple that I will send over by email.
In a few words, though, I think we adapted quite well to living aboard with four children. Everything is relative, but the level of chaos was not too bad for us. It was obviously not like walking into a super tidy Hanse on a boat show, of course, but it was ok anyway.
Your question inspired me to write down some more thoughts of this in a blog post, so I’ll do that next 🙂