A Travellerspoint blog

Estonia

A Stroll Around the Harbour...

rain 17 °C
View Overland debacle on beatski's travel map.

Tallin, Estonia – September 15th

The idea of this trip is certainly not about having 26 fortnight breaks away on holiday and treating it as that, I cannot go out and have big nights out and come rolling back in to the hostel at 6am every morning thinking I am in Magaluf. The trip is a long 52 week trip and I have to treat it like that. However, it must be recognised that each city has two sides, night time and daytime. Sitting in your abode each evening frightened to go out because you read somewhere that skinheads roam the streets looking for foreigners to beat up is ridiculous, I hear these stories all of the time, I am heading to Ulaanbaatar and I was told that a German woman was punched in the face at the market, if you ask me she was looking for it but then what do I know?

So of course when the invite every now and again comes to have a few beers on an evening comes providing I have the energy after the travelling and city spying then I might treat myself. Generally it is very easy to meet likeminded people who have been doing the same as yourself who deserve a beer. Some cities you must at least have a few beers on the evening to understand how the city works and how it ticks. This might sound like a feeble excuse to go out and have drinks but I assure you it is not.

So I was invited out for a drink in Riga, it is a story I must tell as it is as crazy as they come, I was with Chris, my German travel buddy and two English, formerly lived in Hoxton types who looked like Mr and Mrs Gogol Bordello.

We ended up in a nondescript basement bar which was pretty empty apart from us four ragamuffins. We had bought a drink and were enjoying the tunes when we noticed that the bartender who looked a little Greek, but perhaps a little on the large side, he was wearing what looked like a red lumberjack smock tucked into his pants and had a baseball cap probably covering his lack of testosterone. He was making cocktail shots and for every single one that a customer ‘bought’ he had one himself. This charade was great to watch, but then somehow we got involved. The Little Fat Greet turned out to be the Little Fat Owner of the bar who was from Canada, he was absolutely hell bent on getting drunk, not only that, he insisted that every drink was on the house. Now what the hell is this all about?? He was muttering something about being a former Fat DJ, and Former Fat Radio presenter or something, words that faded in and out of Cocktail Consciousness. His only interest was that everyone had a good time and he was not so concerned about the money. Didn’t he know there was a recession on?

Anyhow, being a hard up traveller I had hesitantly offered him some petty pesetas, which was entirely useless to him and thankfully he had declined the offer.

German Chris, Mr and Mrs Gogol Bordello and I then proceeded to drink with this Fat Celebrity, with a face fit for radio consumption, for free. I lost all my self-discipline and taught myself a valuable lesson that night.

“Greek/Canadian men with a gut that size will always be able to drink more than me”

It was of course, not a competition, rather a cocktail tasting event.

This was the infamous night when Chris broke his glasses and swung his top around his head. Of course what I didn’t tell you previously is that I ended up taking a stroll at 5am around the port of Tallinn, I don’t recall a great deal, only a big bloody ship and the sudden realisation that I was not home yet. After a long walk in another direction I stopped for a while in a Depeche Mode Bar, still struggling to find my way home. I got home perhaps at 6am, tired cold and soaking wet.

The next day that I was told that I had gone back in the bar at maybe 05:30, walked in, asked where I can buy a TV license and then casually walked back out again. My Favourite Canadian was still going strong, he was fully abled to close the pub at 7am, Gogol Bordello was still sat there in some catatonic state before being asked to leave.

I didn’t see much of Tallinn the next day, I was tired.

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a photo i took when i was on a walking tour of Tallinn at daft oclock!!!

Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 10:08 Archived in Estonia Tagged greek estonia cocktails riga gogol bordello Comments (0)

Where your shoes Gone, Wheres Mark Rabys Shoes Gone?

overcast 19 °C
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Tallin, Estonia 16th September 2011

Since I ditched my huge hiking Beetle Crushers in Cologne, I have been donning Mark Raby’s 7 year old ‘nearly’ Nike trainers. I have since been plagued with an odour emanating from my bag which I had initially put down to just my general deterioration in hygiene and all the dirty laundry I had amassed. The holes in the soles of these shoes were not a new Adidas torsion design, rather a symptom of Raymond Ledgio dragging his feet aimlessly around Cologne for the last however many years. The fact that they were a little snug on my feet given that they were one size too small was arbitrary, my toes were too long and needed something to stunt their growth. The problem was that these damn trainers had an amazing ability to absorb water which, when that water began to evaporate managed to carry this odour to distances I didn’t think possible.

And so I needed to find myself a pair of shoes that:

a) Were light enough to carry
b) Didn’t have holes in
c) Didn’t stink to high heaven

It seemed a simple task. But walking shoes in the Baltics is like Mark Raby’s fashion sense, none exists.

Poland had none, Lithuania had none, Latvia had one pair of Clarks shoes but were 110€, I wanted some crap Karrimor that you can walk into any ‘Sports Direct.com@St James’ Park’ and come out with for £20. But it was beginning to get desperate; I was feeling sorry for all the other crusties that were sharing a room with me. I had a pair of sandles and I was beginning to wear them a bit too much, with socks I may add. I was beginning to look like my Dad. Even when I was wearing them without it was a disgusting sight, both my big toe nails are black from all the running and toe poking football style I was used to playing. So I went to a Russian Market in the Russian Suburbs in Riga, and I bought myself some grey winkle pickers. Anything so that I could ditch those stinking trainers.

On this journey by this time I think I had spent the equivalent of almost 36 hours on the road, whether it be on train or bus. The only other significant loss to my life, aside from the 2 hour walking tour, was the hours I had spent trawling through Russian shops, even western shops, looking for suitable trainers. But then I struck gold, I had to, there was no way that I was going to be able to purchase decent clod hoppers in Russia, I found a shop in Tallinn, Estonia. I paid 100€ for a pair of shoes that if I had of went to ‘Sports Direct.com@St James’ Park’ would have been significantly less. Nevermind, the hunt was over.

Heaven

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Stinking Bastard Nike 'Trendy Trainers'

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Naughty Russian Winkle Pickers

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Shocking Fashion Sense ere

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Mark, bad news, I've put your ‘Nearly Nike’ in the bin, but they have company, I ditched those Russian made winkle pickers as well.

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Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 10:28 Archived in Estonia Tagged shoes russian winkle pickers sandles Comments (0)

Michael O'Really....

rain 15 °C
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Tallinn, Estonia – 17th September

Tallinn really has a lot to thank Michael O’Leary for, I mean all those groups of English yobs on Stag parties would have never have been able to have visit such a place. In England what do we have and where can we go? I mean Blackpool these days is not the place that it was when granny used to go and sit on the beach with in her bathing suit and obligatory wind break, building sandcastles along with the other 20,000 joyous souls. I'm not saying that Tallinn of course even remotely resembles Blackpool, not at all. I mean this place is more like a very well preserved York. The city dates back to the year dot, and it’s nice to see that they mix old with new, I mean look at the subtle way that a new building can be absorbed so well by the city wall and its main gate into the old town, quite contemporary don’t you think?

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Do those Estonians really enjoy playing host to groups of guys coming over here to piss on their town, drink all of the beer, causing mayhem?
Well, ask Sergio, he was happy enough to talk to me as I waited to get the bus to St Petersburg. It was 07:45 and Sergio was stuffing his face with something that resembled a Kebab, his last stop after a long night on the drink was the bus station where the bar here sells beer and Kebabs, helping create that welcome edgy feel to what should be a normal sedate Saturday morning.

“Blahski Blahski Blahski Blahski………?”

“Sorry, I don’t speak Russian”

“Ah, English……. Do I have any Kebab on my face?”

He was furiously demolishing this kebab, and he had chunks of it down his shirt and on his cheek. Maybe he had somewhere to go? Probably not, his eyes were glazed over and he looked fooked. Perhaps he was our bus driver? It wouldn’t surprise me.

“Where are you from?” he spat the kebab all over me

“England.”

“Ah, you England, you like to party in Estonia, yes, we like you English.” Like hell they did.

“We like your England, you guys like to party in Estonia”

“So, where are you from?” he repeated.

I was bored of this, I had entertained Sergio for long enough, he had to go, he wasn’t a threat, just a straggler holding on to the last ounce of the previous night’s fun. He wasn’t alone, there were dozens of them. Masses of people littered around the city, still drinking, eating kebabs and making their way to the next destination, wherever that was.

So Mr Michael O’Leary, Sergio has given the English Party a big thumb up. Carry on.

Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 05:52 Archived in Estonia Comments (0)

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