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.

What I missed buying in Korea

… was these tetra-paks of Soju.

One of my friends had advised to get a few of them at Incheon Airport, but due to almost missing our flight, we had no chance to look around.

When I told one of my Korean students in Germany how I regretted not having been able to get a couple, she immediately promised to share some of her supply. This seems to be a popular souvenir to bring back from Korea, also known as Korean Jet Fuel.

Pakju from Korea

They look like little juice packs, with an opening to insert a straw, and are popular take-out drinks for attending sports games.

More information about Soju on facebook.

New Regulation for Drinking and Driving in France

Starting 01 July 2012, every driver in France needs to carry an alcohol testing device (breathalyzer) in the car. This applies not only to local residents, but to tourists and business travelers as well.

You can buy this one-way gadget for about € 1,50 at most pharmacies, discos, and gas stations.

Not carrying one in the car will get you a fine of € 11,–

More about this on Focus.de/auto/news in German.

Pubs and Party Life in Germany

On our most recent trip to Franconia (Northern Bavaria), I noticed again the pub patrons’  wide age range. Toddlers running around while the old-timers sit at their Stammtisch (regular table). Waitresses have to navigate through toys on the floor, toddlers under chairs and grumpy old guys calling out for more beer.

Kids are part of pub life in some parts of Germany

Germans are hesitant to take young children to the movies as watching a movie should be undisturbed. Most kids are also not well received in regular restaurants, but at pubs in Franconia they often seem welcome.

In villages, the local Pfarrheim (parsonage) can be rented for special events, such as birthdays and other celebrations. One of my acquaintances from the village rented the parsonage for one night in December and also invited the parish priest as his pastorate is right next door and he would not be able to find any sleep during the night of the party anyway.

This is the same parsonage where the local youth had small dances in the 70s. Back then we could by a bottle of beer for 50 cents and a bottle of coke for 1 euro.

There were about 150 guests at the party including many children. A striptease dancer was hired as a surprise present for the birthday boy and the way I understood it, she did her performance in front of everybody, children and parish priest included.

I just imagine this happening elsewhere, e.g. in the U.S.A. To have a party in a public place, in this case a personage, where children are exposed to indecency, alcohol, and late hours. One of my friends’ children, a 12-year-old boy, left the party with his parents at 3 a.m.

Well, this definitely would be a case for the Sittenpolizei (vice squad) in some places around the world. But not in Franconia, where people tick differently.

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