Weezin’ the Juice in ESTONIA

Encino Man- Estonia

After feeling like a local living in Helsinki, it was time for our first boat trip across the icy seas from Helsikni down to Tallinn, Estonia! Before heading here, we did very little research about Estonia, but one of the main factors for adding it to our list of “must sees” was purely because this is where Encino Man came from! “Hey Buu–d-d-y” ha ha ha after getting past the novelty and love of 90’s movies, we discovered that Estonia, was a very medieval, enchanting and amazing place to be. Right on the border of Russia, Estonia only claimed its independence 10 years ago, adding character to the many Russian flea markets we trolled through.

Estonia will hold a special place in our heart forever, our first night in the city of Tallinn encompassed a tiny Italian restaurant where we were the only patrons. It was so late and we were so hungry and having such a good run in Budapest, we thought we had made it through the roughest towns on the trip and would not have any bad luck from then on. Someone should have mentioned to us earlier, that if there is no-one else eating in the restaurant, then not to enter!! The food was GREAT, but we were ripped off silly, paying about $80 for a bottle of wine, when our meals were about $4 each.
With this bad luck, came some good in Estonia. While eating we met an Italian skateboard photographer, who has since become a really great long distance friend. We hung out with a New Zealander and some locals, snorted burning green drinks up our noses and discussed cultural differences. I discovered, by night in the winter, the only thing to do in Tallinn is drink, drink more and talk… luckily I love Red Wine and am also a really good listener! It was fun seeing that even the oldies were getting wasted and singing and dancing down the snow-covered cobblestone roads. <3

After our first night and making a new friend (Alessandro the Italian Skate Photographer) we were wined, dined and treated to a home cooked meal by himself and his lovely Estonian partner ‘Maria’. Throughout of brief 3 days in Estonia, we met many locals who were in love with the fact that we came all the way from Australia. I am not sure if they realise how big it is here, but most of them asked us if we knew their friend living in Melbourne or Sydney. Until we got back home, I had never actually met an Estonian living in Melbourne! We ate in the one Vegetarian restaurant Tallinn had to offer, climbed through snow covered castles and explored many flea markets (I picked up some incredible pieces of jewelry that tell the most amazing stories just by looking at them).

Our hotel was right in the middle of Old Town – Tallinn and much like the rest of the town, felt like a big old medieval castle. Big marble stairwells, beautiful high ceilings and a very fairytale like feeling when covered in snow & icicles.

I have fallen in love with Estonia and its medieval history & again, cannot wait to visit in the Summer.

Winter in Estonia

Frozen Lake Estonia

Winter in Estonia

Unicorn of Ice - Estonia

Xmas Estonia

Snow Angel Estonia

Snow Flying at the Flea Market

Frozen Laurie

Helsinki – Design Capital 2012

So moving on from Budapest we traveled way, way up to the very cold HELSINKI, ready for an eight-day stay which was just enough to almost make us feel like locals. Helsinki was the the first city we hopped off the plane from and saw the roads COVERED in snow. This was an amazing site, and something I had only ever seen pictures of, it was so cold and so white, I could barely stop giggling at how excited I was. We caught the local bus (cheapest option but still expensive) at about 3 in the evening (it was already pitch-black) and made our way to central Helsinki- where we would be staying for the next week.
The city was amazingly beautiful, neat & well thought out. I know it is so cliche but I was paying a lot of attention to the Architecture in Helsinki, while we were there and now I know why people go there to specifically study Architecture & Design. There is a real mix of straight lines, sharp angles and very large scale buildings that take your breath away. While we were there, there was a “Light Show” on, whereby each night (afternoon but it felt like night) they would have a light display at different landmarks around the city. Giant rubix cubes that lit up, buildings turned multi-coloured and there were maps to tell you how to get from one to another – i love the idea of this, so much fun and a great way to explore a new town!
We drank in some small teeny tiny bars and played board games over a glass of wine in others, ate at the few vegetarian restaurants as usual and shopped at the Design Capital’s designer stores. (Window-shopped at least). It was freezing in Helsinki, I don’t know how we made it through, it got to minus 13 on our last day there and I really thought my toes were going to fall off.
Thinking it would be a great idea to venture out of Helsinki and head out on a boat to a little Island whose name rhymed with Salami, little did we know it would be a near-death experience (okay maybe over reacting). This was the COLDEST place on earth, that I have EVER been to, it must have been at least minus 20 and no one was around – makes sense, no one else was as silly as us. We lasted about 10 minutes on the Island and then ran back to hop on the next boat outta there.

Helsinki was a lot of fun and every corner has something new and incredible to see / read / experience. The locals are a little shy and very modest as most of them are so talented and are living lives to their fullest. I loved this place, it would have to be second on the list next to Stockholm as somewhere I would love to live. <3