I will always hold a special place in my heart for Estonia. From the moment I booked the flight I knew it was going to be a holiday unlike any other I had been on. It was my first stay in a hostel, it was my first “cold” holiday and it was my first city break that wasn’t organised by a school.
So here are the top ten reasons for why I loved Estonia.
10. Happy Hours are everywhere you look and usually last for a lot longer than an hour. Countless times were we sat down with drinks and then complimentary shots. If there was a God, I’m sure even he/she would not know what was in them. With happy hours came great little pubs and social clubs, our favourite being Red Emperor, an extension of it’s hostel next door. It may have taken us well over an hour to find it’s tiny red lettering on red background sign (they liked red) but it was worth it. We stayed for the quiz and the place was rammed with backpackers from all walks of life. The place was well over capacity and we found ourselves sat on make-shift crate stools.
9. The Artwork was right up my street.
8. The Hostels were amazing value for money. We stayed at Fat Margaret’s hostel and I’m sure we paid somewhere in the realms of £7 each, which for Europe and via Hostel World was a bargain. We had a huge 6 bed dorm room to ourselves for the whole week (only 4 of us). The girls that worked on reception were wonderfully helpful, the cooking facilities were great, as was the storage for food and luggage. The showers were nice and hot, a definite experience – shared showers for the first time. Internet was completely free… which brings me on to the next point…
7. Wi-fi is available everywhere you go. Literally everywhere. It amazes me that this fairytale town in Eastern Europe can supply it’s inhabitants with unlimited internet but Wetherspoons in England gets upset when you use more than 40 minutes of it’s services.
6. Estonia boasts the best Zoo I have EVER been to. Not only was it the best zoo I have ever encountered but it was the cheapest at just €3.60 per person. Bargain day out.
5. The Architecture is so beautiful that no matter how many churches you look at, you remain in awe.
4. Cobbled streets, pretty squares and hidden walkways are everywhere in Tallinn. We stumbled across a set of stairs, followed them up past old medieval tools to a little cafe that charged extortionate prices for stale cookies. But just sitting up there in the rafters of a building on a little balcony was relaxing and totally worth it.
3. Pork is the number one meat in Estonia. It appears to be used in everything. I was not complaining. Our favourite meals were in St. Patricks bar and restaurant (almost the Estonian equivalent of Spoons) mostly because it was outstanding value for money and we were on a budget. €3 a meal and they kept me full all day! For a little twist we tried a small Russian restaurant we had passed a few times. For roughly €6 I tried Wild Boar in a casserole type sauce topped with a puff pastry and served with garlic potatoes and tomatoes. It was devine. If only I could remember the name of this place!
2. The Medieval Theme Stands and Restuarants were unfortunately a little out of our price range though I heard the entertainment was fantastic and was undoubtedly the reason for the highly priced meals. Out on the streets you can enjoy a little history though, little wheeley carts, manned by women dressed to the hilt in medieval clothing, sold nuts marinated and covered in various different flavours. We thought they were lovely, our parents weren’t so keen. I’m kicking myself for not being brave enough to ask the ladies for a photo.
1. The Fairytale Views. The reason I booked flights to Estonia in the first place was because every brochure, website and blog I had read informed me that this place had a real fairytale essence. Boy, were they right. Everyday I felt I was waking up in a castle with our views from Fat Marg’s. It really was a fantastical stay in Tallinn.
PLUS: Tallinn’s New Town cinema, in the shopping centre, shows films IN ENGLISH, for as little as €4 including a pot of salty popcorn and a massive Pepsi. Incredible. Perfect if you just fancy an easy night of home comforts.