Tallinn, Estonia – Finishing Strong at the Olde Hansa

Our last day in Estonia was pretty well dedicated to food and drink. Red Bex, who would belong to Yarnaholics Anonymous if she could just take the first step and admit that she has a problem, had mostly resisted visits to yarn stores along the way on our journey thus far. On our last full day in Tallinn, she went off the wagon hard and visited a two-story, warehouse-style yarn seller that we now refer to as Yarn Church. Once we arrived at Yarn Church (actually, Karnaluks), I realized that my eyes were gonna roll back if I set foot inside. My blood turns to sludge when I approach a JoAn’s or a Michael’s; I know this about myself. I wasn’t planning to take any chances in a foreign land.

Looking around, I saw a Mack’s BBQ in an adjacent building and off I went. I was pleasantly surprised to find Mack’s to be full of beers and American-ish foodstuffs. It was five o’clock somewhere, so I initiated a steady flow of draught beers that would see me through the next 10 hours, across multiple establishments. I began fortifying myself for this trial by establishing a good drinking base that included a ration of Max’s buffalo wings.

Mack’s was playing Thin Lizzy when I walked in, which I always consider to be an excellent portent. I was not disappointed with the tunes or the beers, or even the chicken really. The rock ‘n’ roll kept coming. I have to admit that I can never again hear Seger’s “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll” without thinking about the drunk Russian karaoke version that I witnessed on the cruise from Stockholm to Tallinn. Roll those R’s, baby. RRRRock und RRoll!

After her visit to the center of the known yarn universe, Bex joined for some snacks and pints. After an interval, finally bored with Mack’s, we stumbled outta there and down the street toward Old Town for another trip to Hell Hunt (The Gentle Wolf). I was planning to feed another one of my vices and buy from them a t-shirt, as Hell Hunt is a good pub with an amazing logo.
20140514-231740.jpg Alas, their shirts were not nearly as cool as the logo, so we skipped that purchase. We had a few pints, though, and they were tasty. Thanks, Gentle Wolf!

The highlight of the day was seeing my old friend and work colleague Katherine. Katherine happened to be in Tallinn for a work assignment, and she was talked into joining us for dinner at Olde Hansa. This dining establishment is a well known joint right in the center of Tallinn’s Old Town. Olde Hansa provides a medieval dining experience comparable to what one (with coin) might have experienced back in the day. Way back in the day.

We enjoyed honey-infused mead, and a feast that included wild boar, elk, bear / elk / boar sausage, rabbit, many cheeses and breads, sauerkraut, and bunches of vegetables that I didn’t waste time on. The golden rule of all-you-can eat feasts is don’t eat salad and vegetables. You can eat those some other time. You’re on the clock with all you can eat…it’s time to work; there is no time for housekeeping.

As you can imagine, we stuffed ourselves beyond full with exotic and allegedly-medieval meats, cheeses, and beverages. It was dark, touristy, and delicious. It was a fun-filled cliché fest led by our heavily-accented, heavily-rehearsed, peasant-costumed server Ebmund. Oh, and there was desert. A good time was had by all.20140514-231329.jpg20140514-231358.jpg
Katherine, having never before experienced the musical goodness that is the DM Baar, was dragged in there as well before she was allowed to go home. She and Becci were good sports about this finale, and watched a few Depeche Mode videos while I had one last pint.

The best times are had with friends, and I am lucky to know great people. It was a fun night.

Tomorrow, a new city; a new country. To Riga!

p.s. This is what laundry day looks like in Europe. Hey, Europe…buy some dryers!

p.p.s. Bonus picture: Zumba is mainly for the ladies.20140514-232509.jpg

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