Our alarm was set for 5 am which was a rude awakening in the dark. Our car was covered in ice and the air temperature was below freezing – all good preparation for our time in Tallinn.
The M3 and M25 were both clear and after a drive around the T5 Long Term Car Park we found a space near bus stop D.
The British Airways check-in desks were all clear and we were soon through the gates into the chaos of T5’s security checks. My mistake was going to the security conveyor belt furthest away from the scanner. I removed my walking boots, belt and coats into one tray. Into another I put my iPad and carry-on bags with my camera gear. My passage through the metal detector was quick. But my trays sat waiting for a further 10 minutes to even start their progress to the scanner. I had to approach one of the security personnel to ask for his help in getting them moving through – politely I might add.
Pret A Manger looked busy but their porridge and savoury croissants were worth the wait. As our gate was not scheduled to be called until 9.05 am we stayed in the middle of the terminal to wait. The flight was then marked as delayed. Our gate was only called at 09.30 am and was nearby at Gate A15.
Flight to Tallinn
This was to be my first flight with British Airway’s new ‘group’ boarding policy and we were in one of the last groups #4. The earlier groups must have been empty as we were called almost immediately. At this point we thought the flight was going to empty. After a further 10 minutes in our seats boarding was still ongoing. The plane soon filled up with only the occasional spare seat – luckily there was one on our row.
Our Captain explained that due to strikes in Italy the plane had been delayed leaving Bologna as it needed de-icing and that he hoped to make up some of the delay before reaching Tallinn.
We had a smooth flight with bright sunshine through the windows.
The food and drink in our part of the cabin was from M&S and I settled to pay for tea and a bacon roll.
Chatting to one of the cabin crew, she told me that after 20 years of flying this was her first flight to Tallinn. I hope she takes me up on my suggestion to visit after hearing about Toompea and the Old Town. Our crew would not be staying overnight but after a quick turnaround would be flying straight back to Heathrow. We descended into Tallinn through the cloud and then were flying over the snow covered houses, forests and fields.
The hardier folks at the back of the Airbus A320 could exit down steps and walk across the apron.
Here’s our plane being turned around and despite all the snow around the airport the apron was clear.
To our hotel in Tallinn
After collecting our case our original plan was to catch a bus into Tallinn and walk to our hotel. We duly followed the signs and arrived at the new ‘transport hub’ which had no indication of where to catch a bus. We asked at the car rental desk and were told to walk out across the snow covered roads about 200 meters to the main road and to look for a bus stop. This was not what we expected and we made our way back into the terminal to find a taxi.
The day was overcast with a light snow fall but all the roads were clear and we were soon at the Hilton Hotel and checking in. The taxi fare was 8 Euros and well worth it.
Our room was on the fifth floor and overlooked the nearby park – the Police Garden Park.
We unpacked and added some more layers to our clothes and set off to walk to the Old Town. Crossing Laikmaa meant going through the subway network. After four attempts we made it to the exit on the opposite of the street on Estonia. This was when we realised that taking the taxi had been a better idea than the bus and then having to walk from the bus station to the hotel.