Tallinn, Estonia

In December, we where in Helsinki, just across from Tallinn. It seems Finns like going to Tallinn, so the Estonians encourage them. I got hold of one of these encouragements, filled it in, and a few weeks later, got an email telling me that I had won a trip to Tallinn! By this stage I only vaguely recalled having done it, and I had never won anything on the internet, so I was a bit skeptical. I don’t know anyone else who has won anything on the internet, but hey, what are you gonna do when someone tells you have won hotel for 2 nights, flights and a Tallinn care pack consisting of Tallinn cards and guidebooks. Grab the price!!

Evelin got in touch, we got the date settled, and of we went!

We figured we catch the bus into town, and that was our first impression of Tallinn. Loved it! Tallinn, just like Finland, has a language that makes no sense what so ever, so looking for directions is like playing Picture Match. Talking to the busdriver was even worse. We found our hotel, and we felt we stepped up a notch! Nordic Hotel Forum had booked us in on the top floor, right next to the swimming pool. We had a nice view, and a very fancy see-through showerwall.

We had taken the morning flight into town, so Friday, we were ready to hit town! We had a lot of fun doing the Bicycle tour in Berlin, so we looked for similar things in Tallinn, and found EstAdventures. We had planned to do the View with a Brew tour, but in retrospect we interpreted the “departs every day” bit a tad to literally. Figures it makes sense to call first, but I was to stingy, so we got stood up. I was a bit annoyed about this, as I had hoped to get a nice little overview of the town, so we could explore more on Saturday and Sunday.

In any case, we went exploring around the Old Town.

New & Old
New and Old Tallinn

We walked and walked, and we finally ended up at Olde Hansa in the middle of the Old Town.

Dinner.

It was a very interesting dinner…. I got myself the wild boar, but before that, the whole restaurant got to taste pepper spray. Everyone where coughing, and we couldn’t figure out why. Turned out some twat had been playing with pepper spray outside, and the breeze took it inside. It was just bizarre to watch the whole restaurant cough! The boar and the honey beer was good though!

Next day, we headed back to the Soprus building, to try the “Legends of Tallinn” walk this time. One thing we figured out pretty fast, was that Tallinn is also a party town. Both with an upside and a downside. Outside Soprus we first had to step over a sleeping reveler, before joining our guide. Turned out, it was only us who had made the effort to turn up, so we had our guide Maria all to ourselves!

She took us around and explained the sights, where we should come back to, and what was worthwhile and what we should pass up on. We had a great time, and again really enjoyed this more personal approach.

Town Wall
Town wall

Lookout

All the benefits of development
All the benefits of development, mobile phone tours and bag snatchers, along with some Norwegian profanity

On our hotel, we had a very nice little pool. Sara loved it! I did too…. It had all these little buttons in the pool, that would start the waterfall, the jetstream or the boubleblower. I liked the jetstream, as well as the spa. I finally got Sara to try the steambath, but that was a failure. She hated it, and went back into the pool instead. At the end of it all, we could just lounge and enjoy the view.

View from the pool
View from the pool

For dinner, Sara had spotted a place earlier on the tour, so we went there. It was the Elevant. We ordered the Vegetarian Thali with Mango Lassi. It was massive! We literally rolled out of the place. Couldn’t eat anything else, not even icecream!

It turned out, that this particular weekend, it was Old Town Days. It was also Pentacost, but in Norway that is on Friday. Since it was Old Town days, it was a ton of stuff happening, with concerts and performances in the square. We ended the day with a quiet beer watching the show. Just to help digest the food of course!

Sunday was going to be our big museum day, but since we had misunderstood this whole Pentacost thing, nothing was open. Instead, we lounged the parks, watched more of the show, and just chilled.

Tiny cake house
Tiny cake house

Nice parks
Nice parks

We wanted to get some value out of our Tallinn cards, and went on one of those sightseeing buses. I actually fell asleep with the headset. Not too exiting.

We then headed for the airport again, met with the drunk Brits going home from their stag party, and relaxed. Tallinn was great, we had a lot of fun, and loved the hotel! The pool was so nice to dip in both at the end and the start of the day.

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San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily, Italy

This was our first trip to southern Europe, and it was all that I expected it to be! Bit like Port Kembla… 🙂

Pete and Kobe, or was it just Kobe, organised the trip, found the hotel and provided a rough itinerary. This was also the first time we tried TripIt, and it was great! No more endless forwards trying to sort things out, but rather Skype and a central repository.

Anyways, we flew in to Trapani, and picked up our Fiat 500c, and headed for San Vito Lo Capo. I had a discussion with Pete earlier regarding directions, and I had said I thought I should get a GPS, but listened to his advice and didn’t get one. Then at Trapani, Hertz had decided to not include any maps anymore, but they where kind enough to give us a 1:4 000 000 map, and instructions to “keep to the left”. After some run arounds, we got on the right track and found the hotel.

Fiat 500c

Somehow Pete, Kobe, Mark and Debbie, in their 2 bedroom apartment, had exactly the same apartment as us right across the hall! Lucky for us, it turned out that our visit coincided with the 1st International Kite festival, hosted by the council. It was so nice, to sit in the sun, lounge by the pool, gaze at the kites and sip beer.

We headed out to town, for a restaurant that was meant to be very good. Ristorante profumi di couscus. It was very good, and €300 later we were very full! Pete had the squid and all his dessert.

Dessert

Next morning we headed towards Corleone, Godfather country. The drive was very nice, lots of winding roads, and the first thing that greeted us where some hideous swiss style highrises. Not much like the movie though, but we got the compulsory tourist shot:

Corleone mafia

Next up was a restaurant that I read about in the SAS inflight magazine on some other trip. There was some disagreement between Tomtom, Google maps and the signage/directions. After doubling over a couple of times, we found the place. In the end, TomTom and the directions where more accurate than Google Maps.

Antica Stazione di Ficuzza had a wedding on, but they gave us some champagne and coffee, and after a short wait, we got the second floor to ourselves. We had no idea what we where doing, but got the set menu. It seemed like we where the only non-italians there, and it was such a nice and relaxed mood. Our waiter kept the food coming and it turned out we had quite a meal ahead of us. We didnt quite know what would happen, but we ate too much of the entree. Lots of food, warm weather, we should have had a nap!

Full

After that meal, we decided to head back to the hotel, and go for a dip with a few beers. We were there out of season, so it was nice and quiet. We ruined it tough by playing Marco Polo.

Pool

It took us a while, but we ventured out for a small supper. We ended up at a pizza place, and Mark ordered a Calzone with Pepperoni as extras. It turned out that wasn’t all that straight forward. Pepperoni in Italian means capsicum, and that’s what Mark got. Although when he complained, they just brought it back with more capsicum. We finally figured out that Peperoni in English is Salami Picante in Italian. In the end he got what he wanted:

Salami Picante

Next day we split up, as the others where staying longer and wanted to see Cefalu as well. We stayed behind, and headed to Erice first.

Erice Old man in Erice

It is a beautiful town/fortress/castle on top of a hill, overlooking everything. The drive up is long and winding, and we just beat the touristbusses.

Next on our little loop track was the Segasta temple ruins, it didnt take us long to wrap that one up before we headed to Castellammare del Golfo.

Segasta temple

Castellammare del Golfo from above

From the harbour

We then headed back for more Gellato, and a peek at the kites.

Kites

Kites again

While we had our gellato , we figured we would have a look at the show. This old fellow squeezed past, and walked down the beach. It turned out he was Ray Bethell, and he did this 3 kite show that was awesome! They where spinning around, chasing each other, whipping about and creating quite a impression!

As the sun set, the kiters packed up and people headed home. We went for a walk up the hill to get a view of the city, and also spotted some very familiar fencing work!

View

Fencing

Sicily was great, sunny and nice. We loved it there, and this is a place we would want to see more of!

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