Monday, September 28, 2015

Best Sunday Ever!

This is going to be a 99.9% photo post.

When: Sunday, 27.09.2015
Where: Viru raba (Viru bog) in Lahemaa National Park, Estonia
Who: Me, my friends, and Kusti (a 3 months old King Charles Cavalier)

And afterwards a picnic in Käsmu Cape.

And finally observing the supermoon at Tõravere Observatory


Saturday, August 29, 2015


Today, a dear friend of mine with whom we have almost the same name and I met up to wonder around on the Üle Jõe Päev (A Day Across the River). In Tartu, we have one city district that is called Ülejõe (Across the River) since it is literally across the river from our Old Town. It is a very lovely small district. The houses there are mostly small single-family houses but there are also a couple of larger buildings with flats and also four student housing buildings. Today, there were supposed to be pop-up home cafes, little markets, a couple of stages. 

When I got there, it was raining so much that we decided to ditch the original plan and go eat somewhere. Since neither of us have had breakfast we wanted to fill that gap. We had no idea where to go. The only thing we knew was that we didn't want to go to any of the mainstream places in the city center. She remembered that someone we knew once liked a small cafe on Facebook called Kikerkohvik. the name sounded lovely so we decided to check it out. Kikerkohvik (Kiker Cafe) is located in Supilinn. If you translate Supilinn, you get Soup Town. Nobody knows for sure where did a name like this come from but one of the guess is derived from the street names in that area. The streets are called Potato, Pea, Melon, Berry, Bean. So you'd see how this would make up Soup Town. Kikerkohvik could be derived from kikerhernes. If I'm not mistaken kikerhernes means chickpea. So maybe the name comes from that. 

Kikerkohvik is a quaint little place on the second floor of the building and to find it you have to look for the side door, go up a small staircase and walk to the very end of a not very big hallway. But once you get there, you will be amazed. I know our local hipsters would absolutely love it! There is plenty of space and a lot of tables. If you want to read something, you'll find a ton of books. 

Choice of teas

When the waitress is away, just cling with the spoon.
We though at first the this was a vegetarian cafe. But when I looked at the menu, I saw also meaty options. But I still chose the veggie burger. I looked at the price and was baffled: 3,5€. I asked the waitress if the burger was more of a slider that you can eat in a single bite but she assured me that it was normal size. And it was. Since it was a veggie burger, there was no meat. Instead of a meat patty it had fried mushrooms. And boy, was it delicious! Whenever I go out to eat, I always ask the foor to be prepared without onions and bell peppers. The smell and taste of both makes me sick. This time the onions were supposed to be marinated in vinegar so I wanted to try it. O.M.G!!! It was good. I ate all of the onions and kept wanting for more. Red onions in vinegar. Yummy! A mustard sauce was served on the side and it added a nice touch to the burger.

My friend order pancake with minced meat, bell peppers and cheese. It looked good!The mince was nice and a bit on the salty side but she really liked it. She even said that the pancake was better than those at cafe Crepp. And almost everybody loves Crepp pancakes. The pancakes had that nice homemade taste. 

And the one thing I loved the most? You could drink as much water with lemons as you wanted. Usually cafes and restaurants charge a lot of money for bottled water even though our local tap water is clean and completely drinkable. Sometimes, when I ask for tap water, they say that it's not even an option. This needs to change!!

Kikerkohvik is located at Emajõe 1A and for me, it is perfect - I live basically 4 minutes walk from it. Find them on Facebook and Instagram. Their website is still under construction but you can find some lovely pictures of Supilinn on there. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Georgia. Day 1.

Right now, I'm writing this from the sunny Tbilisi. Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia. And I'm not talking about the US state. It's a country on the far east side of Europe. Georgia isn't a part of the EU or Schengen but the country does partially get funded by the EU.

We left Võru yesterday at 4 pm when we started driving to Riga Airport. We got in the car and wanted to start driving when the women when they wanted to put on the seatbelts discovered that the plugs for the seatbelts were on the wrong side. It turned out that the guys who drove to our place took out one of the seats from the back row. To do that, they had to take out the entire back row. But when they put the remaining two seats back, they got them mixed up. So the left seat was put to the right and vice versa. So our trip began with dissembling the car and re-assembling it. I'd say that's a really good start for a journey to a country that Russia tried to occupate a few years ago.

It took us a bit more than three hours to get to Riga. We had planned to look around a bit and to eat somewhere. So we walked past all of the nice restaurants starting from the Brivibas Sq. (Freedom Sq.) and ended up at Pelmeni XL. Or was it XXL. As you can gather from the name on the pleace, all we could eat were two types of salad (potato or crab) or pelmeni. Pelmeni are kinda like stuffed pasta but the dough is made without eggs. So only flour and water. And maybe some salt and pepper. Pelmeni are usually filled with different types of meats: chicken, beef, pork. Sometimes also mushrooms and cheese. Pelmeni seem to be more Eastern European food than Western. The Westerners have pasta with thousands different type of fillings. The place we ate at (I CAN'T call it a restaurant. Not even if I'm paid to do this) seemed like place where the broke students and world travelling nomads who try to get by on as little money as humanly possible. You filled up your plates and bowls and then headed to the till where you were charged based on what and how much you had chosen. It looked a bit like a school cafeteria. But I have to admit that the cheese-filled pelmeni were quite good. And I don't even like pelmeni all that much. They looked like they were pan-fried. All other pelmeni were cooked (boiled). Since I'm travelling with five other people, two of who are my mum and dad, my mum paid the cheque. Between the three of us, we paid 11€ altogether. And we had enough food. I'd say for Riga Old Town and City Centre, that's a really good price.

Since our flight was scheduled to take off at 11:25 pm, we got to the airport about two hours earlier. We had only hang luggage and so we didn't have to queue for bag drop. #blessed . Since we left Schengen, we had to go through another ID check. After going through that, I found a Costa Coffe and I really wanted a latte. THEY WERE OUT OF COFFEE!! Can you friggin' imagine that. So I ended up having a strawberry and cream cooler and a pistachio macaroon. The cooler was disgusting. Well, maybe not disgusting but it did taste like something that would make Mendelejev proud. The macaroon tasted as if it had been on the shelf for a while. And I paid 6.10€ for that. Never buying those things ever again from RIX.

When we got on the plane I fell asleep. And I woke up half an hour before landing in Tbilisi. I've never slept so well on a plane. I had my sleeping mask on and my beloved poncho for a neck pillow. I was comfy and partially warm. I was seated in 10F so I was sitting next to the window. The window side was freezing and the aisle side was almost sweating.

A driver was supposed to meet us in the airport to take us to our accommodation. We were there, everybody else were there, but the driver was nowhere to be seen. We looked for him for half an hour, then tried to get in touch with our host. To do that, my mum had to find the e-mail where she got her number. This took her about 10 minutes for she was looking for it in her Gmail inbox. But since she had confirmed the number in an outgoing e-mail, she didn't find it. She had to log on to her Airbnb account and look for it there. She didn't figure that out, I did.  So around 4.45 am she called our host and woke her up. Our host Ia also had no idea what had happened to our driver. So we took a taxi from the airport to Freedom Sq. He charged us 10GEL per person. Since it was about 5 am, we weren't in the mood to discuss the price with him and went with it. But he was really helpful and called our host for us to diminish the chance of language barrier caused problems. And we finally made it to our accommodation a bit before 5.30 am. When I wanted to go to sleep, someone deicide to tune their guitar. Since it was 25 C outside (5.30am!!) we had to sleep with our windows open. To be honest, the ticking wall clock disturbed me much more than the tuning boy. I have no idea if he even was a he, but I make a guess based on my long-term observations.

I woke up at 12 pm finally. It took us a while to get going but we walked around in the city for a while. During the 5-6 hour walk, we had breakfast, two wine/beer stops and lunch. I'd say it was a nice walk. The typical cheque was 40 GEL. For the six of us!!! That like 17€. FOR THE SIX OF US!! And we had food and drinks. And the food was good! Oh so good.. Chicken salad, khatcha puri, khinkali, khargo, local beers and wines. And I had a mojito. Granted, I didn't feel the alcohol twenty minutes after leaving the hipster pub, but it was good.

Now, were back in our accommodation resting for a while. I can honestly say, I'm tired. Tired but really happy. So prepare yourself: pictures are coming.
Leaving Estonia.
Parking Latvian style. He found the only yellow line in the entire parking lot..

Riga Old Town.

This has been there for the last four or so years..
Arriving in Tbilisi.
Still arriving in Tbilisi.
So hot. Sleeping under a towel.
Random street. Love the shabby yet colourful houses.

You can pay everything in this machine.

Tickets, utility bills, public transportation, etc.

Freedom Sq.

Art cafe. All prices in GELs. 1 GEL = 0.41 €

Breakfast cheque.

Looking at the map. Most of them.

Selfie with mum.

The days are hot and shadows are short.

Cats are everywhere!

Grapevines are also everywhere!

Cats on a rooftop.

A piano. On the street. But why not?

Some sort of local sweets.

City view.

A very modern bridge.

Selfie with dad.

I tried to take a group selfie but everyone kept on walking..
These are not the only pictures I took today. I'm really tired and will do a photo-post after the trip. BTW, I think my dad might be a bit racist. Whenever I stopped to take pictures, he would wait for me. He said that I should not fall behind for "we are not exactly in Europe anymore". So far, no one has offered him sheep for me. I'm not sure if I'm dissapointed or not..

With love from Tbilisi, the city of stray cats, grapevines, and cheap restaurants.