Food Fare in Tallinn, Estonia

Every morning, we had breakfast at the Café Rukis situated around the corner from our hotel Vana Wiru in Old Tallinn.

Café Rukis, Tallinn

On the first morning, we enjoyed their Klassikaline Kahe Muna Panniomlett, a very light and fluffy omelette, made for a very hungry patron.

Panniomlett at Rukis Cafe, Tallinn

For dinner, we had another real Estonian dish at the Christmas market: Sauerkraut and pork knuckle. Yes, this is Estonian fare (the Germans occupied the region once).

If you thought that kind of food was too German, have a look at this plate.

The very best dinner, a light one, I had at the restaurant FARM, located in the Hotel Vana Wiru. Listed under appetizer, the dish Kitse Kohupiima Korvike (a goat cheese tart) was the best meal I’ve had in a long time.

Kitse Kohupiima Korvike

 

My last and notable breakfast was these curd cheese cakes served with cream, and berry sauce. This was delicious.  I looked up its name online:

Kohupiimapannkoogid ehk Sornikud Hapukoore Ja Värskete Marjadega

Kohupiimapannkoogid ehk Sornikud Hapukoore Ja Värskete Marjadega

Our last meal in Tallinn was the vegetarian Soup of the Day in a little eatery. This was heavily seasoned with dill and/or lovage.

We enjoyed the Estonian food, and fortunate for us, everyone in the service industry speaks English. 🙂

What to Do in Helsinki, Finland in November

The first notable thing we saw after getting off the Tallink Silja ferry at Helsinki, while walking from the West Harbor towards downtown Helsinki, was this statue. A bit grotesque, but I’m no art critique either.

This Bad Bad Boy is 8.5 meters in height, and his face shows surprise and shock, as if caught while urinating. It was part of the Mutatis Mutandis exhibition, which finished in October 2016, and since then, the statue has been moved to the city’s West Harbor (just outside the building housing of the Helsinki Computer and Game Console Museum). The artist Tommi Toija created this Bad Bad Boy statue.

In its new location away from the port, we walked about 5-10 minutes before we spotted him.  Again, I’m no artist, and I’m glad I don’t make my living from writing art critiques.

Bad Bad Boy in Helsinki

A more pleasant sight were these colorful seals, with a herring in their mouths.

Seals at the West Harbor Helsinki

More art and modern design is presented here. This is a wall of hundreds of tiny plaques, which you find walking from the West Harbor to the eastern shore of Jätkäsaari. The art project is called Horisontti, and bears the names of donors to the Keep the Baltic Sea Clean campaign.

After what seemed an endless walk trying to find the old part of Helsinki (good luck), or the modern downtown shopping area, we struck on the Stockmann department store. It was a nice warm place after a good 25-minute walk, especially being around the port area of Helsinki in November.

Stockmann shop window in Helsinki

Next, we looked for one of the Christmas markets. We found one in front of this white Lutheran church (construction was 1830- 1852).

Lutheran church in Helsinki

At the Christmas market, my friend and I shared a reindeer kebab. I had my share with all the extras a kebab can have – chili peppers, red onions, and sauce. The taste of game and the meat texture will make this a unique experience, and …remain unique.

We took another stroll through the lit streets of Helsinki.

Speaking of lit – most pubs were full by 5pm on Saturday. We could not leave Helsinki without having a pint, so we had it sitting outside.

Helsinki is a cool place to visit for a day – there are some good museums (which we didn’t go to) to visit, but we were more interested in shopping for souvenirs, its people, and the local culture.

What to Do in Tallinn, Estonia in November

Tallinn is known to experience its second-wettest month of the year in November (after June). Well, we were in luck. It was a bit rainy in the mornings, but it usually cleared up towards noon.

We had flown from Frankfurt via Stockholm to Tallinn. When we arrived at the Tallinn Airport, I learned my suitcase was still in Stockholm. Oh well. This was nothing a good local beer could not fix.

This was the first sight we saw entering Old Tallinn.

Old Tallinn entrance

We stayed at the Baltic Hotel Vana Wiru, where they have a very fine restaurant. More about that and Estonian food in a different post.

By midnight, we checked into our hotel, and then went to a pub. By the time we got back, my suitcase had arrived at the hotel too. It was a bit damp from having been out on the tarmac for a while, I’d suppose.

The next day, we hit the Christmas Market several times. Old Tallinn is not that big, so you are bound to cross the market again and again on your way around. We tried different sorts of Glögg (the Baltic version of mulled wine). Interestingly enough, it was often offered in three content levels: 0% alcohol, 11% alcohol, and 21% alcohol.

Glögg’s the word!

 

Christmas market tree in Tallinn

There are many tourist shops selling their knickknacks, shops featuring amber in any possible form, and there are many cafés, pubs, and restaurants.

Amber jewelry tree

This amber jewelry tree would set you back by € 4950 – in case you were wondering.

I had read somewhere Tallinn would not be so crowded in November. It seems they still have their fair share of tourists during that time of month, especially with the start of the Christmas market.

 

In my opinion, a full day in Old Tallinn is enough. We had one and a half days, which was plenty. Well, and then, there is always more Glögg.

JR Railway and Telephone Cards from Japan

In the 1990s, we spent three years in Japan and during that time, we often used prepaid JR railway cards and prepaid telephone cards. Now, 25 years later, I’m glad I kept them.

 

Kitakyushu University

 

Kokura Castle in Kitakyushu

 

Kitakyushu International Association

 

JR Kyushu Tobata Eki

A Good Reason to Stay Home

Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hears.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Im Hintertaunus (Farther Taunus)