In our return visit to Stockholm last week, Mai, Nicole, Maria and I planned a mini-cruise on the ferry over to Tallin, Estonia. I have heard great things about Tallin and it was relatively close and easy to get there, so we booked it for the four of us. The package we chose included a two-hour spa adventure, which is always a delightful experience. It turned out that this spa was very modern and had some spa technology I have seen nowhere else.
Fabulous! Not knowing what to expect from a spa in Eastern Europe, I just trusted that it would be a good experience. It was so much fun! There were lots of pools, fountains, hot tubs, saunas, massage showers, etc and even a new spa technology that I really liked a lot.
There was a large round room with dimmed lighting and soft music. Right in the middle was a round slab of marble about 6 or 7 meters across which was heated from inside somehow. So when I laid on my back and stretched out, warmth instantly entered my arms, legs, and everywhere I contacted the heated marble. All four of us ended up staying in there quite awhile warming, relaxing and meditating.
The photo to the left I took in front of the Tallin Spa as we were leaving. The geometric pattern was interesting to me and, as I was shooting it, the ladies photo-bombed me. This actually makes a much more interesting photo than the one I was visualizing, without people in it.
When traveling, I find that processing photos on my iPhone is very enjoyable and it’s a great way to utilize little slices of down-time throughout a day. So sometimes I’ll use the wi-fi on my EM-1 and download some of my high quality photos directly to my iPhone to process. Even though I carry my computer on trips, having the instant and easy iPhone apps makes processing super easy. It worked out especially nice this time because I couldn’t sleep that night on the ferry and spent two hours, from 3 AM to 5AM, processing photos in the dark while laying in my bunk. The photo to the left is one of those. The apps I use regularly are Snapseed and Mextures.
If you decide to do the same, know that the files you download off the camera are JPG’s, even if you are shooting RAW. So that’s a limitation but I find that most photos come out really nice. For those that need more work, I use the RAW files in LIghtroom and process using my Perfect HDR Workflow.
Following our spa time, lunch was next and we wanted to experience local food. I always rely heavily on YELP when I travel but I guess YELP hasn’t reached Estonia much yet, so we just trusted our intuition to find a good place to eat.There was a small Russian restaurant, named Wirulane, tucked away between some big buildings that looked promising. Charming. Stunning food. I recommend the lamb stew, spinach puree soup, mushroom soup, and pork cheek. Loved the local dark beer served in hefty pottery mugs. When you visit Tallin, I highly recommend eating at Wirulane on Pikk St.
With our bellies satisfactorily full and now we’re ready to shop and experience Old Town. We had only a couple of hours left before the ferry was leaving back to Stockholm. The ladies found lots of shops and I spent the majority of my time photographing. Finally, one of us realized that the boat was leaving in 45 minutes and, as we were hurrying out of Old Town, I caught the scene above at sundown. Mai happened to see me stop for the shot and, with her iPhone, took this one of me doing my thing.
If you’re subscribed to my Private List, look for many more photos from the trip in the next issue. There’s a mixture of iPhoneography and HDR with my Olympus EM-1. I’ve published some on Google Plus, others on Facebook and some are still unpublished.
When traveling, I don’t blog. I feel guilty enough when I take a few minutes to process a photo. About all I can muster are (daily?) updates of new photos to my Google + stream if you want to see ’em as I take ’em. Sometimes I can’t post daily due to internet connectivity issues. I need one of those cars with wi-fi! Anyway, nothing will be posted to the blog until after the trip so circle me on G+ and get them fresh & delicious!