Wednesday, July 26, 2006
You're Tallinn Me
Just to update the image of Estonian Air: we travelled in their only B737 and it was clean, the service friendly, the seat pitch reasonable (for Economy), food (plastic-wrapped sandwiches) an acceptable 45EEKs, (£2, €3 or $4) - and we arrived on time both trips.
I should explain about the ‘we’ – it included four women, none of whom was the DG – but it’s a long story so I’ll do it another time. Suffice for now to say that she’s still the one and only.
Tallinn itself is magnificent: so much to see, artistically and architecturally; smiley people; statuesque Nordic women with long, straight blonde hair and carriage reminiscent of Russian ballet dancers (which some of them might well have been since 40% of Tallinnians are Russian) and legs like those on the Rockettes whose dressing room I once overlooked from my Sixth Avenue office. Like St. Petersburgers with calf muscles. It must be all those stairs.
A city 900 years old and independent for only 15 years, its older parts are fascinating. In the 14th century Tallinn had the tallest building in the world – but they didn’t know much about lightning conductors in those days. Architectural gems at every turn (12th century to arts nouveau and deco and churches of every faith: R.C., Lutheran, Russian Orthodox - see pic) – and crumbling Stalin-era concrete.
Food surprisingly international in range, for a city of 400,000 people – and more variety than Budapest. If you stand in the 15th century Town Hall and look around the square you’ll see not only Estonian and Russian, but French, Italian, Indian and many others.
But above all, nice, gentle people – even the stag weekenders are well behaved.