Tallinn revisited

Posted by jswt | Posted in Estonia - Tallinn, General, Latvia - Riga | Posted on 09-04-2013


A week in Tallinn, Estonia.
Not much to say that wasn’t covered in my previous post from when I was here for NYE a couple years back, except that it was more fun with my friend S in town, and a cheesy Vengaboys show 😛

Read the rest of this entry »

New Years in Estonia

Posted by jswt | Posted in Estonia - Tallinn, General | Posted on 03-01-2012


With Lithuania and Latvia behind us, it was off to our final Baltic stop and we rolled into Tallinn, Estonia late on Christmas day. This was by far the nicest of the three Baltic cities we’d visited, and their old city centre was one of the nicest we’ve ever visited; it was a vacation spot for Hitler, so it didn’t get bombed out during the war and still has the city walls and old-y world charm completely intact.

The city was pretty quiet in the lull between xmas and NYE, so there was a little exploring and eating out, but again, it was a bit of lockdown making use of the fantastically reliable internet to finish up a project before…

Just after midnight on December 31st, my good friend S showed up at the airport in Tallinn! She’d been at a nerd conference in Berlin for a few days, and had decided that rather than flying all the way back to Vancouver for a jetlaggy NYE there, she’d just hop over to Estonia for a wee rockout with us instead! After having extended invites to people to come visit for the better part of 3 years, she was the first N.American friend to come visit us on the road, and we were super excited to see her, not just because she was a familiar face, but because she’s super fantastic, likeminded and ultrafun (womp womp). This was her first time outside of North America, and she’d kept a weird sleep schedule from the conference that fit well with my hacking-till-6-or-7-am pattern, so when Chris went to bed around 3am, we decided to pop out for a wander into the old town which was hopping. We found a nice little 1000+ year old lounge, and settled in for some beers, snacks and killer campy tunes provided by DJ DrunkBrit. A wander back to the hotel as a light snow fell, sent us off nicely to sleep to gear up for New Year’s Eve…

Back in November, I’d been hunting around for something to do in Tallinn for NYE, and had laughed my ass off when I realized that the Vengaboys (with such mid-90s classic cheesy pop anthems as Boom Boom Boom Boom and We Like To Party) were playing a NYE set in town. Funny enough, it was S who’d laughed the hardest at this, as we’re both known for getting obnoxiously drunk while DJing and working that rubbish into our sets. Through some connection of dots, we ended up with 4 VIP passes for the club, and after a disconap and some lobby eats, we rolled out to the club around 11:30. Of course, we were thinking about it thru N.American filters, and when we got to the club there was no one there, and the bouncer who was setting up the ropes looked at us like we were insane – “Vengaboys. 3am”, he said in a thick accent. This worked out well, as we walked the short bit back to the hotel, grabbed some bottles from the room, and settled in with a bunch of friends and their hookah, and popped a few bottles of champagne amongst familiar faces to ring in the New Year. (Note: Estonians like their fireworks. From the stroke of midnight, and for at least half an hour, the city exploded into a display of light and ka-booms and sounded like a warzone, except with more cheering and less dying.)

Around 2:30, we rolled back to the club, and were happy to discover that the VIP area served free vodka (I will give credit to the Russians for this positive influence!). At 3am, the Vengaboys took to the stage, and it was absolutely, exactly what we expected – a tongue-in-cheek camped up rockout of glitter and sequined outfits that haven’t been quite fit into for at least 5 years. There was no room for seriousness or attitude on the dancefloor, and we tore into it with a vengence.

After their “rousing” 30 minute set (during which they ran out of repitoire, so they played their opening number again as their encore), we had a couple more drinks and then Chris had to head back to the hotel as he worked the next morning. S and I were nowhere near done, so we headed off to another club where we were guestlisted, and power-euro-tranced around that dancefloor while S toyed with the sharks. Around 6 we headed out, had some greasy food, ended up with fireworks, made sure a girl passed out in the snow was ok, got hugged and danced with strangers, and admired greatly an entire city was *shitfaced* at 7am, but smiling, singing and being merry — stark contrast to granville street at 2am. As S yelled out: “You’re doing it wrong! You should be fighting and puking! Learn from Canada!”… Arm in arm stumble back to the hotel where we fell asleep for the first dreams of 2012.

The next day was lunch and a sauna before we started packing and prepping for our flight home the next day. S was very helpful as we finished the partial bottles of vodka we didn’t want to take home with us (russian pepper vodka – gadzooks!!), and busting into impromptu happy hardcore dance parties. Our flight left the next morning at an ungodly hour, so we hugged S and said our farewells and thanked her for coming and making NYE memorable, and for being a fantastic familiar face to have around…

I would go back to Tallinn again, especially since you can take a ferry from there to St. Petersburg, Russia where they’ll waive the visa requirement for 72 hour visits. It’s got a great old town, more strip clubs and brothels than you would ever expect, and the nightlife is small-towny, but really good fun.

So that was the end of our month in the Baltics — Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn…. Added onto months through Russia and the Ukraine (with a week in Spain to keep us from going insane) we were really really excited to be going home to Vancouver for a couple weeks to see family, friends, and our homebase.

And to not drink vodka for a while.