Thursday, September 15, 2011

Estonian wine

Pity the youth of Estonia. The only work they seem to be able to get is as spruikers for theme restaurants where they have to wear Mediaeval dress and look embarrassed all day.

Here we have two Estonian law graduates discussing torts and whether it was really such a good idea for Estonia to join the EU.

In solidarity, Ruth and I also dressed in traditional dress for the day...

...although Ruth ended up taking it too far.

Anyhow, when I said Stockholm had an amazing old town, Estonia took that as a challenge and said "check this out asshole." The old town in Tallinn is a living monument to another age and is jaw dropping in its preservation and age. For example, when you walk into a pub which says EST 1248, you know you're right in the heart of history. The locals still talk about that bar fight in 1567 - oh those crazy invading Russians can cause some trouble.

The only problem with Tallinn was that the Northern Ireland football team were playing Estonia in a World Cup qualifier which meant the streets reverberated with drunken Irish football chants at all hours of the day. It meant trying to avoid them so you could enjoy the peace of the old town but they were drinking 24/7, everywhere (so unlike the Irish). My favourite moment was watching a live cross to the Old Town Square on a morning show. Even though it was 7:20am, the Irish were out in force and handed the reporter a beer while yelling at him to chug (that being said the Irish lost to Estonia 3-1 the night before and the Estonian football team are famous for being beaten by the Faroe Islands - exactly).

Here's me getting into the Old Town vibe.

They also had this great theme bar - "Music? We've got both kinds: Depeche and Mode"

Outside of the old town, the city reflected its Soviet past with that uniquely austere form of architecture you find in Eastern Bloc countries. It was pretty awesome though and even our hotel room had the vague feel of being a former KGB interrogation room - a lick of paint and an IKEA wardrobe really could do little to disguise this.

It's easy to make fun of foreign languages so here I go again. It seems the Estonian word for shop is ipood which is hilarious in itself if you have the mindset of a 12 year old (that would be me). So for example, the dvd store was called "filmipood" and the sex shop we walked by had a sign that said "erootickipood" - sounds messy.

I especially loved the name of the cops - the Politsei, the politest police force in the world. I'd say that would be true if all the cops didn't look like wrestlers and had loaded glocks on their hips.

The other great thing about Tallinn is that it is cheap so after a month of austerity and cheap home made pasta dishes in Norway, we could finally eat out and drink wine. Being a Baltic state, pretty much every meal was a bed of meat with a side of meat and a garnish of meat but that felt good for a change. Here's Ruth enjoying a particularly fine wine.

Whatever the case, I think Estonians are enjoying their embrace of capitalism.


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