A simple guide to Estonian food and Russian beer!

Hannah Elina's Short Independent Silent Film - Wer will noch mal, wer hat noch nicht.
Photo@Hannah Elina.

So last week was such an amazing week for me and my blog.

Being a British person living in Berlin is just so wonderful.

I helped a talented girlfriend of mine by participating in her independent movie for her film school. It was low-budget. Make that no budget, but we were just all happy to help out. It’s a silent movie with Charlie Chaplin-like wordings at the bottom of the screen. It’s called – Wer will noch mal, wer hat noch nicht.

I play the role of “sexy lady!”

At the Berlin Music Video Awards with Roc Roc It. © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
At the Berlin Music Video Awards with Roc Roc It.
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

I attended the Berlin Music Video Awards as a press delegate over the weekend and last week, I met someone from the rbb TV station! They saw my blog and a small film interview that I did with Travel Massive, liked it and wanted to meet me. I’m going to be involved in a short documentary as a British expat blogger about town, and filming starts next week!

I’ll also be participating in a few radio interviews about Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Germany.

Yes, the Queen.

OMG. I’m a little nervous but very, very excited!

It’s all happened so quickly so to calm my beating heart, let’s go back to Estonia.

A Simple Guide to Estonian Food

As you recall, I went to Tallinn and this year, I have been refreshingly delighted by all the food I was lucky enough to taste and indulge in, not only from Estonia, but Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Holland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Finland!

Bearing that in mind, let me now introduce you to:

 BREAKFAST

An Estonian breakfast of cold cuts, Estonian sausages, pate and vegetables at the Hotel St. Petersbourg!

By god we had some delicious stuff. As you recall, our first trip out to Tallinn was at the Hotel St. Petersbourg and the breakfast we were exposed to there.

For breakfast, we had marvellous cold cuts, paté, a variety of sea-food, vegetables, sauces, pickles and cream. As well as a wide variety of cereal, fruit, bread, cake, pastries, pots of tea, coffee and juices. You could also choose from the à la carte menu where you could order farm eggs in any style, omelette with ham, cheese, with mushrooms or tomatoes, freshly made oatmeal or semolina porridge and pancakes with maple syrup!

Breakfast at the Hotel St. Petersbourg.

I love seafood and there was all manner of fish like herrings and salmon, with fresh horse-radish. Mmmm. Yum, yum.

Bacon, sausages, baked beans and grilled potatoes at My City Hotel.

At the My City Hotel, we also had a buffet which consisted of bacon, sausages, baked beans and grilled potatoes. They also had a wonderful array of Finnish bread and a variety of pickles! Yum!

Cost – €0.00.

BREAD

Estonian bread in Tallinn, Estonia.

An assortment of warm bread filled with prunes, nuts and dollops of fresh butter. I had the plain bread with no nuts LOL!

Cost – €0.00.

A croissant in Tallinn, Estonia.

Just because you’re in Estonia, doesn’t mean that you can’t have a simple croissant and a pot of English tea!

Cost – €0.00.

 RUSTIC ESTONIAN DISHES

Mulgipuder - A traditional Estonian dish made from mashed potato & barley.

Estonia is a little more glam than Latvia, and Lithuania but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get down to earth good old Estonian peasant food because, you can! We went to The Estonian Open Air Museum and found a traditional tavern called the Kolu Inn. The inn is a relocated place built in 1840 with a single stable and which serves national Estonian dishes. “The Tall Young Gentleman” had the Mulgipuder which you can see above. Mulgipuder is a traditional dish made from potatoes and barley mashed together. Inside the mash are bacon bits and onions served with parsley, sour cream and slices of brown Estonian rustic bread.

Cost – €4.50.

Keedumana sprats and sauce at the Estonian Open Air Museum in Tallinn.

I had the meal above. It’s a dish of Keedumana, fish sprats and sauce. Keedumana is a sort of soft broiled egg and it was served with pickles, sprats, red peppers, parsley and a type of prawn and cocktail-seafood sauce accompanied by slices of brown Estonian rustic bread. Quite delicious!

Cost – €3.20.

Wild boar cooked in creamy juniper berry sauce served with oven baked potatoes and honey-dipped vegetables - Kuldse Notsu Korts or The Golden Piglet Inn, Tallinn - Estonia.

The Hotel St. Petersbourg has two (2) restaurants on its premises and the food was so good that we didn’t go anywhere else!

One of their restaurants is called Kuldse Notsu Korts or The Golden Piglet Inn, and it serves typical Estonian food. I had the meal above for lunch and it was wild boar cooked in creamy juniper berry sauce, served with chunky slices of baked potato, and vegetables dipped in honey. I mean, it was so deliciously yum!

Cost – €19.90.

A plate of Estonian sausages at the Kuldse Notsu Korts or The Golden Piglet Inn in Tallinn, Estonia.

Now you can’t go the Baltics without accosting yourself of a plate of sausages of which there is plenty LOL! The dish above is part of the Estonian Sausage Feast for Two (2). You get a tray-load of various Estonian sausages, chunky baked potatoes, vegetables, a variety of sauces and the habitual sour white cabbage, also known as sauerkraut!

The next time you’re in the region, try it for yourself.

Cost – €25.90.

IN TALLINN ONCE AGAIN!

A very warm welcome at My City Hotel in Tallinn.

As part of our Baltic trip, we also went to Finland and so on our return, we spent one (1) more day at the 4-star charming My City Hotel.

My City Hotel (formerly the Domina Inn City Hotel) is a charming little hotel with 68 rooms situated in the heart of Tallinn’s Old Town, and decorated with Italian modern art. We stayed in one of the Superior Twin Rooms.

They’re undergoing renovations at the moment, but once they’re  done, you’ll be well set up.

Our Superior Twin room at My City Hotel in Talinn.

My City Hotel is a nice hotel filled with glossy wood, a huge wardrobe, a tea and coffee set, a marble-like bathroom with a cute rubber-ducky! For a comfortable break, they are well situated as they are in a historical central location, is spacious, has free WiFi, a full buffet breakfast, and fluffy slippers! Most importantly, they had a basket of fruit waiting for us which I felt was a nice touch, and complimentary sauna.

We weren’t able to use the sauna this time around as we ran out of time, but I’m slowly getting used to them.

Oh, but again, you know how I feel about European saunas.

Double gulp!

And screaming down the street!

FANCY FOOD

Salted and marinated herring on creamy cheese at the Hermitage Restaurant.

The on-site restaurant at My City Hotel couldn’t be surpassed. The hotel might not have been to the high luxury standards of Hotel St. Petersbourg, but their dinner set was exquisite and one of the best meals we had, on our Baltic Region trip!

The restaurant is called MIX and the restaurant’s chef  – Vladimir Iljin – really did a fantastic job. The restaurant is so highly valued that it was packed with not only hotel guests, but external guests too. In fact, I had wavered into eating elsewhere but I’m so glad that I was swayed to try the hotel restaurant instead.

It was a really good choice and reservations are highly recommended LOL!

Homemade duck liver paté with dried plums at My City Hotel in Tallinn.

An Estonian starter of homemade duck liver paté on Estonian crisp bread on lettuce, covered with a secret ingredient (does anyone know what that is) and served with orange sliced dried plums!

Cost – à la carte €5.00.

Carpaccio of beef with rocket salad, parmesan cheese and balsamico at My City Hotel, Tallinn.

Yes, this starter isn’t traditionally Estonian, but MIX at My City Hotel combine their menus with a blend of Italian, French and Estonian cuisine. The hotel also had a special three-coursed (3) special offer of just €19.00 per person and being that Estonia isn’t one of your cheap locations, I thought it was reasonably priced!

The dish above was carpaccio of beef with rocket salad, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts sprinkled with balsamic vinegar. Mine came without the nuts!

Cost – à la carte €8.00.

Blanched salmon stuffed with mussel and tender lemon flavored risotto at My City Hotel in Tallinn.

Seafood is just my fave type of food.

I had the blanched salmon stuffed with marscapone cheese and mussels, served with lemon-flavoured risotto and a side salad, and sprinkled with Béarnaise sauce and caviar. Oh yeah!

Cost – à la carte €15.00.

Saaremaa style baked wildboar with juniper berry sauce at My City Hotel in Tallinn.

“The Tall Young Gentleman” had the Saaremaa style baked wild boar fillet with sumiso sauce, horse radish-mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, grilled vegetables, a side salad, Estonian mustard and juniper berry sauce.

Cost – à la carte €14.00.

Grilled vegetables at My City Hotel in Tallinn.

Horse radish-mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and grilled vegetables. Delicious!

DESSERT

A  selection of ice cream and sorbet at my City Hotel in Tallinn.

Just look at that presentation and the lovely strawberry sorbet with crumbled short-bread pastry and vanilla ice-cream!

Cost – à la carte €4.50.

Lemon tart at my City Hotel in Tallinn, Estonia.

Oooooo! Tangy lemon tart topped with burnt custard served with exotic fruit, and rolls of ice-cream!

Cost – à la carte €4.50.

Make your own individual choices or go for the chef’s 3-course menu for hotel guests only.

Cost – €19.00.

DRINKS

Saku - an Estonian beer.

We received a complimentary bottle of water and a Tallinn rum-flavoured wafer candy at Hotel St. Petersbourg, practically every day.

Saku Hele is Estonian beer brewed using clean spring water, malt, hops and Saku’s own yeast and is a light quality beer with a strong taste of hops and a pleasant aroma. A glass of Saku wasn’t too bad for the end of an evening in Tallinn!

Cost – €1.70.

Russian beer!

Estonian food & drink was pretty impressive.

Russian beer.

Cost – €1.80.

Enough said!

For more information about rustic Estonian fare, please contact the Kolu Inn at The Estonian Open Air Museum.

For more information about typical Estonian food, please contact Kuldse Notsu Korts or The Golden Piglet Inn.

For more information about quality Estonian food at MIX , please contact My City Hotel.

This article isn’t sponsored and even though I received a complimentary lunch, all opinions and the delicious meals that I happily tasted and consumed, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Stay tuned!

Next week, I’ll be writing about the Helsinki in Finland and the cruise we took with TALLINK SLJA LINE.

Expat Expo: A Showcase of Wahlberliner: a curated selection of performances by multiple artists, will be taking place at The English Theatre in Berlin from 01.06.15 – 07.06.15.

The Berlin Fashion Film Festival will be taking place on 05.06.15.

The 23rd Lesbian and Gay City Festival is taking place between 20.06.15 – 21.06.15.

The Queen will be visiting Berlin from 23.06.15 – 26.05.15.

Fête de la Musique an open-air street music performance day, will take place all around Berlin, on 21.06.14.

Berlin’s Mardi Gras (the 36th) – CSD – Christopher Street Day Gay Pride festivity, will be on 27.06.15.

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin, you haven’t a clue!

June is going to be astounding!

Watch this space!

Anu Vahtra - Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau.
Anu Vahtra – Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau.

Have you ever had Estonian food? Do you think you could handle Mulgipuder or would you go all out and scoff down the Keedumana, fish sprats and all!?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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How I went to Tallinn in Estonia, a Medieval Old Town surrounded by Danish Castles. How utterly charming!

Tallinn Medieval Days. Kristina Õllek @Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau
Tallinn Medieval Days.
Kristina Õllek @Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau

Wow!

2015 has been something else and pretty extraordinary.

It’s May and I’ve already been to seven (7) countries.

Seven!

Whoop! Whoop!

And some of them are already turning out to be my favourites.

And others not so much!

So where did I go?

In Prague reading something and looking all serious, but not completely serious!
In Prague reading something and looking all serious, but not completely serious!

I went to the city of sin also known as Amsterdam. I also went skiing in the Czech Republic and told you how I fell off the ski lift, but this time I was ill and ended up spending most of my time eating fried cheese and soup! For our family holiday, we went to the relatively unknown Baltic Region and went on an exhausting 26 hour bus journey to Lithuania and spent an interesting time eating pig’s ear in Vilnius! After that, we went to Latvia and the very gorgeous Riga.

Due to other engagements, my husband – The Music Producer – only travelled with us for a week and flew back to Berlin whilst “The Tall Young Gentleman” and I continued the rest of our Baltic cultural adventure together. Once we returned home to Berlin, I prepared myself to go to the TBEX conference and even though I had a great time there, I got abandoned at the airport not only on the outward flight journey but on the return flight too! Thankfully, Barcelona more than made up for it.

Me on the beach at Lloret de Mar, Spain.
Me on the beach at Lloret de Mar, Spain.

I also went to Estonia and Finland but I haven’t written the details yet so I’ll be writing about them in the following weeks.

ESTONY WHAT?

Estoooo-nia.

Sigh!

But alright. OK. Most Europeans don’t know much about it either so cue…

Victoria aka The British Berliner to tell you all about it.

Let’s get back to where I was just a few weeks ago. In the Baltic Region.

ESTONIA

Happy Estonian people!
Happy Estonian people!

Estonia, officially called the Republic of Estonia, is a country surrounded by Finland, Latvia, and Russia. It is considered one (1) of the smallest countries in the European Union, as it only has a country-wide population of 1.3 million people!

An advanced, highly economic country, its history with Finland is tightly connected, coming from an ancient type of Finnish people! The Estonian language stems from Finno-Ugric which is closely related to Finnish and Sami, with a distant link to Hungarian.

Estonia is so far North that it’s on the same latitude as parts of Alaska and Siberia!

Estonia’s modern development has risen so quickly and achieved so much success that Estonia is often described as one of the most wired countries in Europe and has the nickname of “e-Estonia!”

Wow!

Denmarks' flag in 1219.
Denmarks’ flag in 1219.

Here’s a little history:

Eston has just 1.3 million people but has been in the region for over 10,000 years! With Finno-Ugric roots that run thousands of years deep, they are closer to their Nordic cousins in culture and language than to their Baltic neighbours and were ruled by the Danes, Poles, Swedes, Germans and Russians. They became independent in 1918, lost it to half a century of occupation and only regained their independence in 1991 following the Singing Revolution based on the national pride of a society rich in music, creativity and entwined in folk song.

Estonia became a member of the EU and NATO in 2004, uses the Euro as its main currency and is part of a small group of countries known as the Baltic States.

These dolls were a little bit creepy & everywhere in Tallinn, Estonia!
These dolls were a little bit creepy & everywhere in Tallinn, Estonia!

The Baltic States might be small in landmass but the countries are considered to be old European in look, rich culture, enchanting history, and long-established tradition. In fact, quite charming!

Estonia is also a country not well-known and even within the E.U. itself, many Europeans have a hard time remembering what the capital city is or where it is.

It’s Tallinn by the way!

Get ready for the other country in-don’t-be-ridiculous-it’s-a-Nordic-or-perhaps-possibly-in-Eastern-Europe….

TALLINN

Street in the Old Town - Tõnu Tunnel - Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau.
Street in the Old Town
Tõnu Tunnel – Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau.

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is known around the world for its Hanseatic architecture and used to be known as a town call Reval. The preserved cobblestone streets of the city and it’s houses dates back as far as the 11th century in the Medieval age where brave Estonian knights rode through medieval architecture and made pacts with Baltic German nobility!

WHY GO TO TALLINN?

 

Outside the 15th century Epping Tower in Tallinn, Estonia.
Outside the 15th century Epping Tower in Tallinn, Estonia.

The Old Town in Tallinn is a medieval one and just bursting with culture. It is also preserved as part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage and so we went to Tallinn not only once, but twice!

Amid the Gothic houses of merchants and Guild houses, churches and warehouses, Tallinn’s Old Town offers such a medieval flair and authenticity, that no other city in the Baltic region can offer 15th and 16th century towers and walls, as well as the oldest Gothic Town Hall in all of Northern Europe!

The Tallinn Card for visitors & tourists.
The Tallinn Card for visitors & tourists.

With the help of the Tallinn Card 72 hours which was kindly offered to us by the Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau, we were able to explore Tallinn and travel through the city.

Thank you so much.

Did you know that:

  • Only 431,184 people officially live in Tallinn with a considerable number of locals actually living elsewhere!
  • Registered Tallinn citizens can travel the whole city using public transport, completely and utterly for free!
  • You can travel to St. Petersburg from Tallinn by cruise, visa free for 72 hours!
  • Tallinn is the 3rd most popular destination for cruise ships in the Baltic Sea Region.
  • Most people in Tallinn speak Estonian, Russian and English with many also speaking Finnish, German and French too!
Medieval Days in Tallinn - Kristina Õllek - Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau
Medieval Days in Tallinn – Kristina Õllek – Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau.
  • Estonia is considered to be the country with the highest percentage of start-ups per capita in the world. Much more even, than in my lovely Berlin and is one of the leading countries in the world in the development and promotion of e-business and the use of digital information!
  • There are 40 art galleries and exhibit halls.
  • 42 places of worship.
  • 58 museums.
  • 178 cultural societies and associations.
  • And 610 folk culture groups!

TAKE ME THERE?

Pick your poison on the Lux Express!
Pick your poison on the Lux Express!

As you know, we were so lucky to be on a part-sponsorship of the largest international express route coach-bus operator in the Baltic region. An Estonian company called Lux Express, taking us through the Baltic Region by road from Germany, all the way through to Estonia, and back again!

In travelling from Berlin to Lithuania, we were on the cheaper arm of the coach-bus company called Simple Express but once we got to Latvia, we were switched to the more aptly named Lux Express. We also went from Latvia to Estonia by the very same means.

I’ve already given you my verdict about Lux Express which you can find right here and here!

Travelling with Lux Express across the Baltic Region is certainly different from any other coach-bus company that I have either travelled with. And I’ve travelled with a lot LOL!

Relaxing on the Lux Express.
Relaxing on the Lux Express.

And was it worth travelling by coach bus from Latvia to Estonia?

Absolutely!

The seats were wider and bigger, there was a toilet on board and because there were fewer people, was fairly clean! You could recline back quite well, and there were individual screens on the seat with which you could watch films, comedy or TV series, listen to music, play games or go on-line. And there was WiFi that worked fantastically with headphones which were complimentary.

Included in the amazing price was also as much complimentary tea, coffee and hot chocolate as you liked. You just helped yourself as there was a huge drinks machine in the middle of the vehicle. And we did.

Lovely!

The journey from Riga to Tallinn was only 4 hours and 25 minutes.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Literally one man and his horse, at the Estonian Open Air Museum!
Literally one man and his horse, at the Estonian Open Air Museum!

Nope!

Less than half a million people live in Estonia’s capital city and it was low season. We went to a few of the more famous sights and we were pretty much the only tourists there.

WHAT IS TALLINN LIKE?

Estonian Young Folk.
Estonian Young Folk.

We were only there for three (3) days but I had heard so many good things about Tallinn that when we returned from Finland, we spent another 1.5 days there too!

Whereas in Lithuania you definitely had the impression that you were in Eastern Europe, Estonia like Latvia, is a completely different kettle of fish. Although I found Riga utterly gorgeous because of it’s history with Art Nouveau, Tallinn was different.

Tallinn has something else.

It too is an Old Europe type of city that recognises it’s traditional roots and looks old-fashioned in character with it’s medieval history and dark, mysterious, romantic stories.

But it’s different.

Fighting with gallant knights.  Raise your sword sir!
Fighting with gallant knights.
Raise your sword sir!

It’s quite historical in look but extremely modern in thought and philosophy.

It’s a city that is very eager to welcome tourists and visitors as right from the taxi-driver to the shop-keeper, everyone was absolutely tip-top. The technology for such a small country was astonishing and everything worked beautifully.

I DON’T SPEAK ESTONIAN.

Not. A. Problem!

Honestly speaking, I have been awfully impressed by how in every Baltic State, English is widely spoken however, if you speak Russian, you won’t be out-of-place either!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

A rural hut at the Estonian Open Air Museum.
A rural hut at the Estonian Open Air Museum.

Not at all. It might be a country from “the other” Eastern Europe but you’re definitely going to be living in civilisation!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

There are plenty of hostels to be had.

I can’t give you any details but catering to the more budget conscious traveller is available as I saw quite a few hostels in very nice historical buildings!

I’M LOOKING FOR A BIT MORE LUXURY, IS THERE SOMETHING FOR ME?

The exquisite lobby at the Hotel St. Petersbourg.
The exquisite lobby at the Hotel St. Petersbourg in Tallinn, Estonia.

Oh yes indeed!

We stayed at the luxury 5-star boutique hotel – The Hotel St. Petersbourg.

The history of the building dates back to the 14th century and was mentioned for the first time in 1373. In 1850, the hotel was redesigned and it became the oldest operating hotel in Estonia! This elegant hotel was located right in the heart of Tallinn’s Old Town, was built in the style of Russian traders, luxury, elegance and Russian cuisine and only has 27 rooms!

We were in one of the twin superior rooms and I can’t under estimate how location and history is absolutely key.

Now, Estonia isn’t the cheapest of places, so when we took a taxi from the bus station to the hotel we braced ourselves…

Happily, our taxi fare was just €10.00 and the taxi driver who was Russian-Estonian was very chatty!

I love a budget as well as anyone but when you’re in “the other” Eastern Europe or in that part of Europe, you can afford to splash out, as it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

One of the public areas at the Hotel St. Petersbourg.
One of the public areas at the Hotel St. Petersbourg in Tallinn, Estonia.

The Hotel St. Petersbourg is 165 years old and has been opened unfailingly, since 1850! Rumour has it that during the old USSR period, the presidents of the Soviet Union used to stay there! The hotel is now a member of the well acclaimed and reputable set of Schlösse Hotels and is the first 5-star hotel in the whole country!

Faaaaancy!

My grilled beef fillet mignon lunch at the Hotel St. Petersbourg.
My grilled beef fillet mignon lunch at the Hotel St. Petersbourg in Tallinn, Estonia.

We were so impressed that we even had lunch with the Director of Sales & Marketing – Mr. Alver Pupart – the very next day. He was a young 35 year old man who was really nice, helpful and friendly, and so we chatted about family and lifestyle, and I think he had such a great time that he gave us an Estonian Recipe Book.

So nice!

Whenever we go on a family holiday, I like to mix things up a little in order to experience a wide variety of accommodation possibilities, to meet the locals, and to stretch our budget in a more comfortable way.

A little luxury at the Hotel St. Petersbourg.
A little luxury at the Hotel St. Petersbourg.

I’ve been in hostels and small family B&B’s but I also like comfort, and I’m not averse to a little luxury.

Our stay at The Hotel St. Petersbourg was an indulgence.

When you book a room on-line, you can never be entirely sure what you’re going to get and can only hold your breath and cross your fingers.

I didn’t know what to expect in Estonia and was surprised at what we received.

Our Twin Superior Room at the Hotel St. Petersbourg.
Our Twin Superior Room at the Hotel St. Petersbourg.

Our twin superior room really lived up to it’s name. Our room was huge and had a very soft, plunging sofa, two (2) other rather nice fancy armchairs, a huge glass table and a few more other small lamp tables dotted around, a writing-table, a very large wardrobe, a mini-bar, coffee and tea making facilities, and an AC unit.

We shared our room of course, but for a young teenager, the traditional board games, the snooker and billiards table available on the second (2nd) floor, the large screen TV, the free WiFi, and a mini iPad for use in the room, was a godsend. “The Tall Young Gentleman” was in his element, and loved everything about The Hotel St. Petersbourg. So much so, that every hotel thereafter, for him, was a disappointment LOL!

A welcome pot of tea at the Hotel St. Petersbourg.
A welcome pot of tea at the Hotel St. Petersbourg in Tallinn, Estonia.

We had and a very nice en-suite bathroom that was fitted out with Gilchrist & Soames beauty products and plenty of fluffy towels and slippers, as well as daily complimentary bottles of water and Tallinn rum-flavoured wafer candy. A generous buffet and a’la carte breakfast of both Baltic and Nordic origin.

Oh yes, the excellent facilities of the hotel also included a free morning sauna between 07:00 – 11:00.

I’m British.

European saunas and fear of the unknown always brings me out in a sweat!

Gulp!

I certaintly won't be going to the sauna European style. Don't forget, I'm British!
I certaintly won’t be going to the sauna European style. Don’t forget, I’m British!

Thankfully, we were able to book out an hourly session and be in the sauna completely alone.

The spa and sauna were on the third (3rd) floor with a very large space, lots of complimentary bottles of water, dressing gowns, slippers, moisturisers, oils and gels, lounge and deck chairs, lockers, a hot cabin, showers to cool down, and absolute privacy.

We wore our swimming things and took in the view.

Very nice!

An Estonian breakfast of cold cuts, Estonian sausages, pate and vegetables at the Hotel St. Petersbourg!
An Estonian breakfast of cold cuts, Estonian sausages, pate and vegetables at the Hotel St. Petersbourg!

For breakfast, we had marvellous cold cuts, pate, a variety of sea-food, vegetables, sauces, pickles and cream. As well as a wide variety of cereal, fruit, bread, cake, pastries, pots of tea, coffee and juices. You could also choose from the a’la carte menu which had freshly made porridge and pancakes too!

All this from €170.00 per night in the Superior Twin Room which for two (2) people including a very generous breakfast and a private sauna would be €85.00 a pop!

This hotel was just so amazing.

We both loved it!

WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I GET TO TALLINN?

At the Tallinn City Museum.
At the Tallinn City Museum.

We only went for four (4) days so this was a sloooooow cultural family trip.

There is plenty to do in Tallinn and we also had the Tallinn Card 72 hours package which was waiting for us at our hotel. With this card you can:

  • Jump on a hop on, hop off Tallinn city tour (usually €19.00 – €23.00).
  • Go to the Epping Tower (usually €4.00).
  • Learn stuff about the Estonian people at the Estonian History Museum – Great Guild Hall (usually €5.00).
  • Get interactive at the Estonian Museum of Natural History (usually €4.00).
  • Spend the day and run wild at the Estonian Open Air Museum (usually €5.00 – €7.00).
  • Indulge your sweet-tooth at the Kalev Marzipan Museum Room (usually free of charge but you get some home-made marzipan too!)
  • Get inspired at the Kumu Art Museum (usually €6.00).
  • Get some information at the Museum of Occupations (usually €5.00).
Door knocker in Old Town -  Merlen Aringo - Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau
Door knocker in Old Town – Merlen Aringo – Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau
  • Get some history and art at the House of Peter I (usually €2.00).
  • Be fascinated at the Town Prison – Museum of Photography (usually €2.00. The basement is not for children as it has a more erotic element!)
  • Go to the Tallinn City Museum. We loved it (usually €3.20).
  • Merely ramble along the cobbled historical streets.
  • Explore and stroll freely through the backstreets and hidden alleys of history gone.
  • Climb up the steep hills.
  • Hang out in the parks, forests or beach.
  • Make use of the city-wide free WiFi.
  • Be accosted by knights and medieval wenches.
  • Pay your respects in the Jewish Quarter.
  • Check out the various cafes, bars and restaurants for a quick bite and a few rounds of Estonian beer and Russian vodka!
  • Go shopping.
  • Go to the sauna, or get a massage, and relax!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Tallinn is so tiny that everywhere is walkable.

Taxis are very reasonable and local trains, buses and trams are easily available, clean and very safe.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Just look at this spread at the Hotel St. Petersbourg!
Just look at this spread at the Hotel St. Petersbourg!

Estonian food is fantastic with lots of Russian and Finnish influences. You couldn’t do a thing wrong.

I’ll tell you all about it next week!

MY VERDICT:

On the cobbled streets of Tallinn, Estonia.
On the cobbled streets of Tallinn, Estonia.

I like Tallinn.

It’s medieval, It’s got fairy-time gothic spires, cobbled streets and a long history. It’s not a cheap destination by any means, but it’s technologically advance and utterly charming.

If you’re looking for that extra somewhere with a bit more of an edge, a bit more class and luxury, a bit more crisp yet dynamic, and engaged with the modern world, then Tallinn is the place to be.

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Try and stop me!

I intend to do just that and can’t wait to visit again.

Carry on my good man!

On the walls of the Danish King's Castle!
On the walls of the Danish King’s Castle!

For more information about coach-bus travel to Vilnius, please contact: Lux Express.

For more information about a luxury 5-star boutique hotel, please contact: The Hotel St. Petersbourg.

For more information about the Tallinn Card package, please contact: Visit Tallinn.

This article is part-sponsored by Lux Express and the Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau. We received a 72 hour complimentary Tallinn Card  and we got a little discount on the hotels, but all opinions and the sauna experience that we had, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Stay tuned!

Next week, I’ll be writing about the fabulous Estonian food and drink. Super!

After that, what the view was like on the ferry crossing from Estonia to Finland with TALLINK SLJA LINE and what we thought about Helsinki in Finland!

If you’re a blogger, just interested in travel or want to hang out, then we’re having a Berlin Travel Massive Chapter Meeting on 28.05.15.

The Berlin Music Video Awards will be taking place from May 27.05.15 – 30.05.15 and I will be attending as “press.” It’s going to be exciting.

The Berlin Fashion Film Festival will be taking place on 05.06.15.

 I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin where the hell are you?!

May & June are going to be absolutely packed!

Watch this space!

Church Clock in the Old Town.
Church Clock in the Old Town.

Have you ever been to Estonia? Do you think Villnius is gorgeous or just medieval? Is Estonia in Eastern Europe or Nordic?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

The magic drink of Latvia is Balsam and I drank it!

The mighty Latvian sausage in Riga.

Right now, I’m running around like a headless chicken because I’m in Spain.

In Baaaaaarcelona.

OK. That’s not entirely true.

I’m really at a seaside resort on the Costa Brava. A place called Lloret de Mar.

But I spent a lovely day in Barcelona too, but more about that in a few weeks LOL!

So last week I wrote a lovely post about how gorgeous I found Latvia to be, and with the help of Linda the Irish Queen, the post ran through Facebook like wildfire. My post went live on Monday and on Tuesday I had 4,000 hits for the day.

On Wednesday, I had almost 7,500 hits on the day alone! And it kept on growing.

Latvia was the gift that just kept on giving.

I couldn’t believe it.

I am amazed at how many people, in this case, the Latvian people, really loved my post.

Source: serendipitymc.com
Source: serendipitymc.com

Thank you so much everyone!

So for those of you who don’t know and are coming to The British Berliner for the very first time, we were on an independent trip around the Baltic Region. This journey was an adventure of fifteen (15) days in total:

  • Three (3) days in Vilnius (Lithuania).
  • Three (3) days in Riga (Latvia).
  • Three (3) days in Tallinn (Estonia).
  • Two (2) days in (Helsinki) Finland.
  • One (1) more day in Tallinn (Estonia) again.

This is what I have written about them so far:

A European Capital of Culture.
A European Capital of Culture.

We travelled around the above four (4) countries by coach-bus and we were extremely lucky to be on a part-sponsorship of the largest international express route coach-bus operator in the Baltic region. An Estonian company called Lux Express, taking us through the Baltic Region by road from Germany, all the way through to Estonia, and back again!

And why?

Basically because the region has not really been discovered by tourists and travellers, and I’m also slightly eccentric LOL!

The Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland are countries based in Europe and their capital cities have stories of richness, history and grandeur, unspoilt by the full-board package set and the larger louts of stag and hen nights. They are sparsely populated, and not your typical cheap and friendly destination.

My mantra has always been, why not?

That’s why!

And quite frankly, even though you might have heard a whisper of these countries, nobody really knows anything about them, and hardly anyone you know, has actually been there.

It’s time to change all that.

Photo@ J-O Eriksson

When I said that Riga was beautiful, I absolutely meant it!

And that included the food.

Do you remember the musical number from Oliver Twist:

“Food, glorious food!
We’re anxious to try it.
Three banquets a day
Our favooooooourite diet!”

You can find what I wrote about food in other countries right here but food from Latvia was something else.

Yep!

Being that Riga and therefore, Latvia is in an unknown part of the world, it stands to reason that it’s food and drink culture would be similar so.

So now that you know how fascinating I find food posts, here comes the feast of Latvia!

A LATVIAN BREAKFAST:

Exotic seafood in Riga, Latvia.

The item above my good man, was breakfast.

Yes, breakfast. And let me just say, it was one of the best part breakfast items we ever had on our journey, and not because it was most unusual, even though it was, but because it was seafood.

In this case fish.

I loooooove fish!

But just look at that dish above. Is it not just delish? As I write this piece, my mouth is watering and I’m trying quite hard not to swallow my spittle!

It’s a wonderful plate of salmon with a dollop of mustard and dill creamy sauce, flakes of smoked herring, radishes, green peppers, baby pickled onions and bean sprouts!

Do you see what I mean?

Breakfast in Riga, Latvia.

The dish above (if you’re vegetarian or vegan, don’t look!) is a plate of grilled sausages, slices of bacon, peas, cucumber, peppers, sweet corn, radishes, onions and tomato ketchup.

This delicious wonder was part of the very generous breakfast buffet served by our rather lovely four-star boutique hotel  –  Hotel Justus. As I told you last week, Hotel Justus is located right within the architectural UNESCO protected area, and has just 48 rooms designed to embrace the architectural charm and historical delight of Riga.

Small enough to feel intimate and large enough to get all the benefits of a well-run boutique hotel.

Cost – Nothing at all. Included as part of the sleeping overnight fee!

A slice of toasty and a pasty in Riga, Latvia.

A slice of buttery toasty and a pastry.

Yum!

Cost – A part of the breakfast package!

A LATVIAN STARTER:

You all know how I very much like soup.

It was raining buckets and we found a tiny little bar/restaurant in which we were pretty much the only guests. Well, we decided to try something different.

Green soup from Riga, Latvia.

We had this green soup and a basket of brown bread.

It was absolutely awful. I felt as if I wanted to vomit and then I asked what exactly it was.

It was hemp! What the ?!&%!!

Yuck!

I didn’t choose another starter!

Cost – Between €1 – €2.00.

Shredded cabbage and pickles in Riga, Latvia.

We were introduced to the Riga Central Market and we absolutely loved it.

We liked it so much that we came back again the next day! Markets are such good ways to find the culture of a people. In fact, markets are really good ways to find the people! They’re all at the markets hanging out LOL!

Above you can see shredded cabbage and pickles.

Carrots, turnips, swede, spring onions, shallots and other strange vegetables found at the farmers’ food market in Riga, Latvia.

Carrots, turnips, swede, spring onions, shallots and other strange vegetables found at the farmers’ food market. Does anyone know what the purple round vegetable is, or is a beet? Beetroot perhaps?!

A basket of soft home-made herb bread with a sort of green olive sauce in Riga, Latvia.

A basket of soft home-made herb bread with a sort of green olive sauce. It was classified as “soup of the day” but was completely scrummy!

Cost – €1.50

LATVIAN MAIN DISHES:

Suckling pig in Riga, Latvia.

Oh yeah baby!

We went to this really nice place called Folkklubs Ala Sia.

Let me just tell you that the lip-smacking meal above is a 24 hour sautéed suckling pig! A suckling pig rolled onto crispy smoked pork potato mash, spring greens, crumbled traditional country cheese, oven baked tomatoes and a sautéed sauce.

Cost – €7.60.

Flounder fillet in Riga, Latvia.

Flounder fillet sprinkled with onions and bean sprouts combined with pan-seared asparagus and cauliflower puree served with creamy-Riga-sparkling-wine sauce!

Cost – €16.50.

 lovely meal of pork (?), red cabbage, some gravy in Riga, Latvia.This meal was from the little place that I can’t remember. There was nobody there but it didn’t really disturb us as by this time, we just wanted to find a place, chill out, eat and relax and the guy at the bar was pretty friendly so we did just that!

After the disgusting soup of hemp, we ordered this lovely meal of pork (?), red cabbage, some gravy and a side salad of felt salad which you recall in the Czech Republic, seems to be very common in this part of the world!

Cost – I can’t remember!

 

how much I like the sausage!

You know how much I like the sausage! Well, “The Tall Young Gentleman” had a wonderful meal of grilled pork sausages, white cabbage, mashed potatoes and a couple of tomato slices. Delish!

Cost – If only I could remember where we ate it!

 

a spicy tomato and cream dip!

Followed by a spicy tomato and cream dip!

Cost – Dip! Dip! Dip!

 

Because caviar. In Riga, Latvia.

Because caviar.

OMG. I don’t know if it was the real stuff but we constantly saw prices at the Riga Central Market that would pop your eyes out!

But look at that trout. See how fresh it is.

It was so fresh that we constantly saw batches of live seafood wriggling around, freshly caught.

The Music Producer was a little upset that the fish would feel the pain of life coming to an end, and would suffer. What do you think?

Cost for the caviar – You really don’t want to know. Even in Latvia! Cost for the trout – €7.90!

LATVIAN AFTERS:

 

A cupcake and a muffin!

As I said earlier, we went back to the Riga Central Market and discovered a hell of a lot more delightful little things such as:

A strawberry cream tart covered with flakes of strawberry icing and a custard-covered muffin with a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands!

Cost €0.28 & €0.26 respectively.

Cream puffs in Latvia, Riga.

Pastry cones filled with cream.

Cost – €0.36.

 

Sugary puffs filled with clotted custard cream and covered with castor sugar in Riga, Latvia.

Sugary puffs filled with clotted custard cream and covered with castor sugar.

Cost – €0.26

 

Cupcakes in Riga, Latvia.

Not at the Riga Central Market but we had them for breakfast! I have included it here as cupcakes aren’t really for the first meal of the day unless you live on the Continent where they follow the philosophy, “If it’s nice. Include it in the breakfast buffet” school of thought LOL!

Cost – Dream on!

 THE MAGIC DRINKS OF LATVIA

 

The delights of a Latvian brewery.

We went to a really jolly place called “Vina Teatris” or Peter’s Brewhouse. The brewery is known as the only one of it’s kind in the Old Town and is locally owned and operated.

It was our last night so we decided to go for it and really get into the delights of Latvian breweries.

I drink beer but I’m not a strong beer-drinker as one beer in the summer sun and I’m dancing on a festival float! Hand me one sugary glühwein and I go flat on the floor!

Just give me a couple of glasses of bubbly, nice fruity cocktails, a couple of ice-cold vodka shots and you’ve got a badge of approval by The British Berliner!

The Music Producer ordered the “Beer Tasting” set of three (3) beers which came with a huge bowl of aniseed.

We didn’t know what to do with it so we chewed it anyway LOL!

Cost – €7.50

My glass of wine and the seeds in Riga, Latvia.
My glass of wine and the seeds!

Cost – €3.60

 

The Latvian Balsam.

So Riga Black Balsam is a traditional herbal liqueur similar to the Czech Becherovka and is made with lots of ingredients mixed into vodka and other stuff!

I decided to “treat” my husband to the delights of a Latvian speciality – the Latvian Balsam. Now, I had heard so much about it in fact, Heather from Ferreting Out the Fun had even gone on a tour of how to make it. We didn’t have time to do such frolics so I thought taking a few shots would be the next best thing. We went to a “tourist” place called As Lido or Alus Sēta.

I was up for an adventure so the bar man gave me two varieties: the real balsam and the blackcurrant one.

I tasted the blackcurrant one and it was quite OK and then we decided to go for the original one too.

Swallow!

And oh no.

Not swallow!

Throw up!

I’m sorry to say this, but the original balsam was bloody awful!

We couldn’t believe it.

Was it an acquired taste like oysters? (I love oysters!).

Did you have to drink it in a particular way like tequila? Ha! I have stories I could tell. But not today LOL!

Or was it that we just didn’t like it?

Ah well!

Cost – €1.30

 

Riga Black Balsam.

Well, that’s it. I told you that the food in Latvia was fascinating. Go see for yourself and if you have any questions or need any help, let me know!

This article is not sponsored, but all opinions and the wonderful cupcakes and seafood that I was fascinated by, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Stay tuned!

Next week, I’ll be writing about the very interesting Estonia and what we did in Tallinn, Estonia with the help of the Tallinn Card, what the view was like on the ferry crossing from Estonia to Finland with TALLINK SLJA LINE and what we thought about Helsinki in Finland!

Eddie Izzard will be back in Germany and will be front-lining a killer international night of comedy at the Admirals Palast on 08.05.15.

The Berlin Music Video Awards will be taking place from May 27.05.15 – 30.05.15. Anybody can apply!

The Berlin Fashion Film Festival will be taking place on 05.06.15.

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin right now, then you ought to!

May is going to be exciting.

Watch this space!

 

A pig's snout!

Have you ever been to Riga? Would you ever try a pig’s snout or would you stick with Riga Black Balsam?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!