A Weekend in Tallinn, Estonia


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December 11th 2011
Published: December 12th 2011
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I'm going to interupt my Oktoberfest story with something a little different, and more recent. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I can now blog as I go with the help of my amazing Claypod! It probably means a bit of a change in writing style to something more like a diary, so let me know what you think.



"...

Day 1: Friday

After the brilliant time I had in Latvia 8 months ago, I was really looking forward to this trip to its northern sibling, Estonia. I almost didn't make it too. After getting up at 4:30am, everything was going fine until I missed my second bus. No problem, I was still early, so I changed plans to catch a train that should have got me there in time. Perfect! Except it was cancelled. By the time I eventually made it to the airport I only had 20 minutes until take off, and I'd never seen Luton airport so busy before. If you know the airport, the queue was literally backed up from the security baggage check down the stairs before you get there! I could taste the bitterness of defeat already, and in my desperation I asked one of the attendants for help. Well, she was just the most awesome person ever. She looked at me sympathetically, and I could see the "you'll never make it" sentiment in her eyes, but then she whirled into action by yelling at people to make way, and like Moses parting the red sea I now had a clear path to the front. After that it was a flat out run to the departure gate, where they were just closing shop. Thankfully they still took me out to the plane where I had to duck under the rope across the entrance, and sat down as they shut the door and started moving. Phew!! Being last on the plane has its perks too, as I was able to sit next to someone attractive for a change, though this is probably more beneficial when you don't arrive drenched in sweat.

Tallinn is absolutely freezing. And im not speaking figuratively either - today we have a high of 1 degree!! My impression so far is that it's an extremely beautiful town. The constant stream of snow may be helping though, as at one point I was admiring a
The Gang.The Gang.The Gang.

Me, Gaelle the Frenchie, Ronja the Swede, Robert the German, and George the Ozzie
snow topped scene before realizing that the main feature was in fact rubbish bags. Snow makes things beautiful, that's for sure! Highlight so far has been a medieval themed restaurant, which seemed pretty authentic to me. It was dark and only lit by candles, and food was served in these rough pottery things. The serving wench had some good banter too, like "you didn't bring a spoon? What kind of traveller are you? No sword either? How are you going to fend off dragons??"

Day 2: Saturday

I'm writing this from the same medieval place I ate at yesterday. As it happens, the dark lighting and soft music is just what I need after a pub crawl with the hostel last night! Today's been a bit disappointing in terms of activities really. I got up early (11am) to do a free walking tour, but nobody turned up, perhaps due to the rainy weather, or maybe they'd all been on a pub crawl too. So I visited the christmas markets in the central square instead, which was the inspiration for me coming here at this time of year. It's not a huge market, but it definitely got
My favourite Medieval Tavern!My favourite Medieval Tavern!My favourite Medieval Tavern!

Yes, I know it's dark, but that's what it was like!
me into the festive spirit. I managed to finish off most of my Xmas shopping whilst avoiding the temptation of hot gluwine to warm me up (I bought a scarf instead!). That proved to be more energetic than I was capable of though, and I ended up falling asleep at the hostel (Imaginitively named Tallinn Backpackers) in front of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes".

So what happened yesterday? well, mostly i just I walked around a bit and climbed up a hill for some brilliant views of the old town, enjoying the snow along the way. There's something about this place that just puts a smile on my face and keeps it there. I think its the comparatively friendly people, the snow, and the consistently medieval theme that allows you to believe you're in a different time. Then I found the part of solo travelling that really sucks: eating alone! It got much better afterwards when I went back to the hostel for some drinking games, and met some good people for the ensuing carnage of the pub crawl. Much like Riga in Latvia, there were a ton of different cultures in the mix, like Gaelle, the French girl, or Ronja the Swedish girl, along with some German guys and the obligatory ozzies, among others. The clubs were nothing special in themselves, but as with the rest of this region the girls are outstandingly beautiful, and the drinks are outstandingly cheap! £1 shots anyone? I tried one called cocaine, which is a bit like a backdraft where you suck the fumes through a straw, but then you're also supposed to snort the remaining liquid through the straw. I couldn't do it anyway - I'm just not into nasal action!!

Day 3: Sunday

I'm on the train from Stansted airport in London now, after a successfully awesome weekend away. After my medieval cafe fix yesterday, with its delicious elk pies and soup, I decided to do something productive and went for another walk around. I saw some cool things like the old city walls and a building that was previously the KGB headquarters in Estonia. Then it was back to the hostel for more drinking games and pub crawl number 2. Another quality night out with more cocaine shots, ending in a large club called Hollywood which featured go-go girls amongst other things. I found out 2 interesting pieces of information along the way too: (1) The square with the Christmas markets was apparently the first place in recorded history to have a decorated christmas tree, back in the 1400's. And (2), cocaine shots contain a large amount of absinthe. That explains a lot!

Today I met up with 2 lovely French girls from the hostel, Julie and Sandra, who I hung out with for the rest of the day. I finally found the free walking tour too, just around the corner from where I waited yesterday (Doh), and also bumped into Gaelle again. We all ended the tour with lunch in an authentic Russian restaurant (Troika) where I had dumplings with... wait for it... bear meat!! Quite tasty too, but unfortunately I didnt have time to finish them all as I had to rush to the airport. After all, I didn't want a repeat of my previous incident. Also cool is that I bumped into 2 girls at the airport that were in the same room as me, and then met up with an Ozzie dude from the room who was also on the same flight. I love travelling.

Sent
Me and the French GirlsMe and the French GirlsMe and the French Girls

Gaelle's Sister, Gaelle, Julie, Me, Sandra, Emily(?) from Italy, and London dude
from my iPod

..."


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Raekoja PlatsRaekoja Plats
Raekoja Plats

The main square with the Christmas Markets!
Snow!!!Snow!!!
Snow!!!

In Raekoja Plats (The Main Square)
Let the drinking games begin!Let the drinking games begin!
Let the drinking games begin!

I was Three-Man most of the time...
We were drinking Coq BeerWe were drinking Coq Beer
We were drinking Coq Beer

The source of many a joke as the night wore on, as you can imagine!
Cocaine shotsCocaine shots
Cocaine shots

The beginning of the end!


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