Tallinn, Estonia: Medieval Charm & Party-Goers

I decided to take a little detour from my planned route. My couchsurfing host, Maija, told me that it would be very easy to take a ferry from Finland to Estonia.  After researching that it would be about 48 euro and 2 hours one-way, I decided I had to do it. Apparently all the Finns visit Estonia to party because beer and cigarettes were cheaper than in Finland (and yes, I saw many people coming back with packs of beer and cigarettes on the ferry back to Finland).

Estonia is now one of my favorite locations to visit. It also helped that the day I visited was perfect. Beautiful weather, amazing places to just lay out and friendly people. I ended up staying at Tallinn Backpackers, a hostel that resided in the Old Town area of Tallinn. It’s known as a party hostel. Hey, I was on vacation! Free welcome shots, free daily pub crawl and other organized tours. It’s an amazing hostel that I’d recommend checking out.

After settling in and doing a little exploring, I decided to meet up with another couchsurfer, Justyna, to explore the town. Another awesome thing about Tallinn is the free WiFi that is abundant! It was easy to stay in communication via my smartphone. While I waited, I decided to try the famous lamb soup. I decided to dine at one of the oldest restaurants for the traditional soup. I ordered the soup and was given a nice portion in a very interesting bowl.

Tallinn Estonia 5

“Thank you. May I have a spoon please?” I said.

The hostess replied, “Check your pocket of your shoe.”

So obviously I was confused and thought there was a miscommunication.

“Uhh. A SPOON. To eat with?” I said.

“Yes, spoon. Is it on your head? Is in in your sock? I don’t have,” she said.

Ok, I got it lady. Why make this difficult. I walked away with my bowl of soup and then it occurred to me how stupid I looked. They didn’t use spoons. Welcome to medieval Estonia!

Tallinn Estonia 3

Tallinn Estonia 4

Tallinn Estonia 2I then met up with Justyna, another fellow couchsurfer who was working in Estonia at this time. She was new to the town and wanted to explore as well. We ended up walking all around the old town, explored the beach area and had a nice dinner. It was nice to have someone to explore the new town with. She was perfect company during my stay in Estonia.

Afterwards, I gathered my energy to go on the hostel pub crawl. It was a sunday night, so there weren’t too many people out drinking but that didn’t stop us. The night can be summed up with one drink, the cocaine shot. Apparently (and no one told me this before taking the shot) it is absinthe and there is a specific way to drink it. In case you don’t have the pleasure of trying it, here is what you do.

The shot appears to be creme de menthe, absinthe, something that may or may not be vodka, and something else. In order to experience it correctly, you must follow this specific ritual:

What you need:

  1. The Shot
  2. An empty glass
  3. A lighter
  4. A bendy straw
  5. A small cut straw (can be cut from the bendy straw)
  6. A napkin

The Ritual:

  1. Place a napkin on the table.
  2. Poke the bendy straw through the napkin.
  3. Light the shot on fire, hold the empty glass upside down over the shot flames until they go out.
  4. Place the glass (now with the alcohol fumes) over the straw on the table.
  5. Drink the shot and pour the the remains on the top of the glass on the table.
  6. Suck all the air out of the glass through the straw.
  7. Snort the remains of the shot from the top of the glass using the short straw up your nose.

Unfortunately I didn’t take photos of the process; however, this person did.

It was truly a unique experience and I’d definitely go back. Estonia is one of those places that isn’t a typical destination for American tourists. I don’t know why. It was a blast!

Have you been to Tallinn?

If so, what would you recommend seeing? Let us know by commenting below!

Tallinn Estonia

Written by Ryan Lum

Ryan is an avid bucket lister. Travel, photography, blogging and adventure are some of his hobbies. He once went on a trip to Spain and was robbed of all his stuff except his clothes. No money, no insurance, no identification and no way to contact family and friends from back home. Did he end his trip? No way! He ended up running with the bulls in Pamplona the very next day.


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