Day 01 : On the Road Again

Friday 22 August 2014

BMQ: relatively high, could have been more.

I seem to remember, back at the end of April, starting the first part of my year travelling by getting a coach through the night to catch an early morning flight to Eastern Europe, then arriving in the centre of a capital city just as a large thunderstorm began.

I’m not sure if there was actually any thunder this time, but the rain started about halfway into my walk from Tallinn airport, and while it was only light rain on the way to the hostel, later on this afternoon came a rainstorm of Biblical proportions, enough that my clothes still hadn’t dried by the time I went to bed.

But yes, here I am, starting another leg of my ‘world trip’. This time I’m starting in Estonia, a country I know very little about, other than it’s a relatively new country (no Estonian state existed before 1918). I’m here because I never have, and because the flight was cheap. Not that I choose holiday destinations based on their cost of getting to them (although that’s definitely part of the thought process). I needed somewhere from where I can launch myself over to Central Asia relatively cheaply, and that launch base seemed to be Riga, so while I was in the area, Estonia was an obvious destination.

I used to know someone in Estonia, back in my penpalling days, but she never spoke to me again after an unfortunate mix-up at Heathrow Airport; whatever could go wrong did go wrong and we never managed to meet up. If Eda Rosenberg is reading this, I’m so, so sorry, I’m an idiot.

The hostel I’m in is just outside the Old Town, and it’s very spacious. I’m in a 10-bed dorm but it doesn’t feel like it – there’s so much room, which is very unusual for a hostel. The beds are also very comfortable; I even have a bottom bunk. The main lounge area is large, relaxed, and has a sort of ‘hippie-trail’ vibe, with musical instruments, Indian/Nepalese-style colours and furnishings, and even shisha pipes available for hire. They, like many hostels, have a ‘shoes off’ policy which I may have inverted by turning up barefoot in the first place 😀
(On that note, I seem to have something stuck on the side of my left foot, need tweezers. Didn’t pack tweezers. Bah.)

Had an orientation walk around the Old Town, or as much as the rain would allow. I cut it short when the Heavens really opened and I arrived back at the hostel resembling some kind of sodden scarecrow. More than usual, that is. Once the rain stopped, I wandered out again, to explore the streets, and more specifically the pubs.
The Old Town resembles many others in that Central/Eastern European area; Germanic influences, narrow and cobbled streets, stone fortifications, and lots of tourists. On first impressions, I think I preferred Vilnius, but it’s much of a muchness.
It certainly doesn’t feel Soviet, in the same way the Ukraine and Transnistria do. It does feel more like some kind of ex-Austrian city in Central Europe.

Today’s beer:
1) Medovar Honey”, “between 4.3% and 4.5%”, honeyed foretaste with slightly caramel aftertaste, the effect being not unlike swallowing a caramelised throat sweet. It was a “living” beer, “non-filtered and unpasteurised”, frim the ‘Beer House’, a Bierkeller in the Old Town.
2) Lobus Njuufa, 6.3%, served at the ‘Porgu’ pub, an underground cavern with multitudinous beer on offer. This was a drying dark beer, malty, and slightly foamy.

Today’s food included a huge bacon/smoked cheese pancake from the pancake café Kompressor, and a pizza. Bite me. When I got back to the hostel I found I’d missed a ‘Mexican Evening’ of food and dancing, but apparently I hadn’t missed much … was interesting to see some people afterwards though still dancing away, very sensually, with that steely concentrated look on their faces, as if they were just thinking of the natural movements.

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