For my summer holiday…

I went to Tallinn, in Estonia. It was the experience of a lifetime, and one which I hope to replicate in some way with a return trip in the not-too-distant future, to bear witness to a medieval city blanketed in snow.

I was tempted to go through the holiday blow-by-blow, talking through each anecdote in turn, in true primary-school-holiday-report style; however, I have subsequently decided that doing this would likely reveal me as a misogynist, an alcoholic, and a general bum. The highlights, however, in no particular order (with some accompanying photography):

** we got to play with estonian money, which made us all briefly feel like rich men – the currency is roughly 23 kroon to the pound, so we had a few grand to play with:

Bling to the bling

** we made repeated trips to the beer house, an austrian themed pub with “pint counters” on the ends of tables, interesting and cheap food, and large, large beer glasses:

** we walked around the beautiful old city a number of times, and got some good views:

** we had an oustanding bottle of Italian wine (Tomasi) at one of Conde Nast Traveller’s top 100 restaraunts in the world – “Gloria’s Wine bar” – where our bottle of wine and cheese platter cost us a total of about 500 kroon – just over twenty pounds… and we pretended we were kings of the world:

** we played an amount of chess, drank an amount of the local liquour “Vana Tallinn” (which is outstanding), and Damian even dared Kanna Kuek, a “living liquer” which continues to ferment in the bottle, at a fairly well hidden cafe off the old town square:

** we posed as knights:

** we checked out icbm-mo-biles:


** we drank honey beer (meady-licious)
** we tipped shamefully small amounts of money and got told off for it (well, Matt did. “2 kroon? that is not money! put that down!”)
** we met the beautiful and interesting Katrin, former basketball player for Estonia and future president, and Ana, beautiful and mysterious superspy, on the evening of a thousand venues, and ended up staying up all night talking increasing amounts of rubbish to them. It was much, much fun.
** on the flight on the way over, we met the lovely Lena S, who taught us the incredibly entertaining Russian card game “Durak”, to which we all became addicted. She also renamed us: Matt became Mathematix, Damian became A Le Coq (“Ally Cock”) – Estonia’s national beer, and Richard became Will Young. I, naturally, was renamed Harrods…
** we went to the 2nd best club in Estonia (no photo :() – Bon Bons – which was amazing
** we went to the best chinese restaraunt in Estonia and met the beautiful 50-50 Julia, our confusingly 100% Estonian-waitress in traditional chinese dress…
** Mathematix introduced us to the people’s eyebrow, and The Rock’s catchphrase: “can you SMELL what The Rock is COOKING?”
** We repeatedly sang Sir Mix-A-Lot’s song, “Baby got Back”, whose opening line is “I like big butts and I cannot lie”, at least in part due to the irony that in Tallinn there are no big butts on any ladies. Well, hardly. We were then ashamed of this.
** Damian slept on a banana. Literally. We’re trying to get the reflexive verb “to DK oneself” adopted by as many people as possible.
** We walked down a long, dark, creepy street to get Tex Mex food owing to a craving of Richard’s. I had my first enchilada, which was astonishingly tasty.

There was more stuff that happened – this was the bulk of it. We learned a few Estonian phrases, including the potentially dubious “tervi-sex” which apparently means “cheers”. There’s a good chance it means something more worrying – Katrin and Ana might have been winding us up…

We toasted about a million things to demonstrate our overall enthusiasm for the trip. Overwhelmingly, we toasted “the best holiday ever”, “Estonia”, and “Estonians”.

Can’t wait to go back.