I’m Back!

Hello! πŸ™‚ I’m back from my trip to Estonia. I went on my trip meaning to take tons and tons of pictures but I didn’t take many. Other than checking in with my husband from time to time, the phone stayed out of my hand and in hindsight I could have left my laptop in Ireland because I didn’t boot it up once. While I enjoyed my break from all things internet, I did miss yous! πŸ™‚

In terms of holiday reading- I didn’t read at all I think… During travelling and sitting in airports/trains I tend to stare at people and my surroundings and nothing could compel me to stick my nose in a book.

Anyway, if you’re interested, here’s a quick report on what I got up to!

I live in the back end of Ireland and getting to Dublin can be a task. There’s the 3.5 hour train and the 1 hour flight (both train station and airport are 50 min car drive from my house). I took the train and spent the “night” at an airport hotel… well, I had a 2 hour nap and a 2 hour TV session worth €160. Not my smartest choice considering I got to the hotel late and had to get up at 2:30AM but it was nice. Plus the shuttle bus driver was cool and really enjoying his night-time working hours. Go figure.

In the security check my carry on got swabbed for drugs and even though I have no dealings with substances I still found myself thinking- could they actually find something? Anyway, 4AM airport is lovely, everyone is walking around half asleep, or still asleep on the very uncomfortable and cold floors. Once the food court opened though people were stuffing their faces and I was wondering what a bummer it must be to work in an airport food establishment- constantly busy, really unsociable hours… Well done to those folks anyway.

cam00670

cam00672Landing in Tallinn, Estonia was wonderful if somewhat cold and my nephew, sister and mom came to pick me up. What followed was a full day of shopping, started by a lovely meal. My sister always finds the proper homely meal places in every town in Estonia so no Maccy D’s, Statoil hotdogs or other fast food chains for us. My first meal back home was nice and filling and consisted of oven spuds, flour and milk based sauce (it’s my favorite), marinated beetroot salad, pork burgers and proper black bread. I never realized how much I missed black bread. I realize this doesn’t look like a meal in a Michelin rated restaurant, but nothing beats a solid dinner that reminds you of your Ma’s cooking.

Every day in Estonia was me eating, everything I could get my hands on. I gained a much needed 2 kgs and my stomach was trying to pop out of my pants. It was wonderful. Mom had made a big pot of cold potato salad (smoked sausage, garlic marinated gherkins, apple, egg, mayo, sour cream, spuds of course) and I ate the whole lot in two days. I walked around groaning over my stuffed belly, only to go back to eating every hour or so. What a feast!

cam00720

cam00722My nephew’s 20th birthday was celebrated in the hunter’s lodge or which used to be a cowshed now converted to a clubhouse. In the picture above is my niece with her BF and my nephew, others had stepped out at this momentor simply gone home by this stage so I snuck a photo or two.

I ate moose fillet-steak (freshly hunted that day), more potato salad (difference being that instead of gherkins my sister likes to use non-smoked sausage and fresh cucumber instead of gherkins), bbq-sausages and lots of cake (which was covered in roasted and sugared oats).Vodka, rum and whiskey was plentyful.

Before I go any further, and before people start giving me smack about animal welfare and how hunting is bad, let me stop you right there. Estonia is not one of the countries where hunting is done for the sake of trophies nor for sport but rather it is done for putting food on families’ tables and animal control. In fact, because Estonia is still very much a self-sustainable culture, a family could easily live without having a paid job because most grow their own vegetables and fruit and if there’s a hunter in the family, they’re also sorted for meat. No need to buy anything from the shops.

Heavily regulated and controlled by the environmental department hunters follow exact protocol of what animal is allowed to be hunted at a certain time and how many per hunters’ club (1 animal, 2 or 3). One can’t just go out on a Saturday morning and shoot whatever runs across their path. There are courses that need to be taken and exams to be passed for a hunter’s license. I understand some people condone this way of life- I have heard it all, read it all and I am willing to take your viewpoint on this. I can’t promise I will change my mind but let’s agree to disagree. πŸ™‚

Moving on!

One of the evenings I spent with my brother we had sauerkraut and blood sausages accompanied by pepper vodka and beer. It doesn’t look the most appealing but it’s absolutely yummy!

We also snacked on some dried banana, peanuts and well.. it’s what you call trail mix I guess, but I had to take a picture of the packet because it was sooo cute. Navitrolla is an Estonian artist and his works are just trippy, cute and surreal. Check out the gallery in his online shop here… and come tell me if you think his works are crap.. I bet you can’t! They’re just awesome! The guy is just obsessed with mushrooms and animals…

cam00698

***

I met my granny, my brother’s girlfriend, my best friend’s 3 month old baby Jasper and a couple of lads I grew up with. My niece took me for a drive in her boyfriend’s 1984 V8 3,6 litre automatic Audi… the tarmac was peeling! It was quite a busy trip in terms of going to visit people but I also spent a lot of time at home with my mom and it only took 2 days for me to get addicted to Turkish soap operas they’re showing on Estonian TV. Sure, the dialogue was so cringey and awful, but man, do the Turks know how to inject drama!

***

My sister is a multi-functional housewife. In addition to taking care of a large farm filled with horses, dogs, sheep and a husband that can’t make a fire, she also takes care of our village graveyard. My mom usually helps her out and this season’s job is raking leaves and cleaning all the graves that don’t have people visiting to do so. There was a lot of morbid jokes from them both during my stay over so I told them how happy I am that winter is coming and they’ll spend a bit less time at the graveyard! πŸ˜€

***

I dug around in old pictures and among other very interesting black&white’s I found a couple of my dad back when he was in the Russian army. Army service is compulsory in Estonia. Boys will be molded into men… at least that’s the saying… it has it’s pros and cons I guess… but.. meh… that’s a whole other topic…

I got back to Ireland quite OK and without a hitch. 3 days before my return flight there was a bomb threat called in at Tallinn Airport. Third time this year.On better news however I got to experience this year’s first snow on the morning of my flight back to Ireland and it definitely lifted my spirits. I love snow!

cam00738I discovered I really like the airport. It’s just supercute and colorful. A lot of the chairs are covered with designs and patterns which originate from the national folk-clothing and there are many patters for such a small country… and here is one of the cutest departure gates ever- a walk into the forest…

***

This post has been long enough and slightly dry report of events with possibly TMI. As you can see, nothing really exciting happened apart from me stuffing my face and meeting people.

So now, I must get back to giving love to the books I need to review and … it’s great to be back online with you all again! πŸ™‚ I have a fresh review and a guest post lined up for you guys!

29 comments

  1. First of all… Oh my goodness I MISSED YOU!!! That is quite the journey! But it sounds like it was a satisfying trip. Sometimes getting away and “unplugging” is very good for the soul. And any trip that involves a little weight gain is a successful trip in my book πŸ˜‰ Love the pics of your dad! Welcome back ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • yay πŸ˜€ 😊 thanks!!! absolutely, it’s so enjoyable just switching off from the web and phone…
      it’s funny how food can be so different country to country, I will surely miss Estonian food πŸ˜€
      thanks again for the lovely comment 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Liz!!!!!!!! Welcome back!!! I’m very happy you had a good time!! I never read on my vacations or as you say, holiday. Like I don’t read not one page and I barely take photos either. Because like you, I’m just enjoying my surroundings and I put the phone away. Isn’t is more phone that way too? I’m happy you had a good time!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good to have you back ! I really don’t know anything about Estonia so it’s nice to hear someone give some info.. I had no idea people hunted so much and that they can be self-sustained if they wanted to. I don’t see that happening here. So how does moose taste? I love the packet and Navitrolla has indeed many cute paintings (very inspired by mushrooms and rabbits apparently),and the names for his paintings are just as original.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thank you 😊 yeah, Estonia is a bit of a secret.. people still tend to think we’re in the dark ages after Russian occupation, my previous boss actually asked me if we had coca cola and breakfast flakes in shops πŸ˜‚ i was like, yeah, we do πŸ˜‚ yep, hunting is a serious business back in Est. but hunters also take care of wild animals in winters by providing food and treats for them, so its a two way street 😊 moose tastes much like regular ribeye steak. wild boar and bear has more of stronger flavor but normally theyre meat is turned into smoked sausages ☺ glad you checked out Navitrolla… 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Welcome back, Liz! πŸ™‚ I’m glad you got to spend so much time with your family. That’s awesome! Your airport experience sounds miserable though. I’m glad it all worked out. πŸ™‚ And you ate lots of food! Yum! I like the explanation about hunting because they do it for sport in the US, and I’m one of those animal lovers who hates that they hunt a deer just to put its head on their wall. πŸ˜‚ It makes me want to shoot them and hang their head on my wall and see how they like it. 😈

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jill πŸ™‚ I sometimes still think what made me leave my home to a different country… and I miss my homeland very much at times… but… moaning is for pussies! πŸ˜€

      Yeah, hunting is a whole different business to what I have heard and seen from other countries and it also angers me and every hunter in Estnia I know. I totally understand your point and agree… I dislike when people have no respect towards animals… but as I mentioned above in a comment, in estonia it’s kind of a two way street. While we hunt for food, we also feed wild animals during our rather harsh winters. Apples are stored for wild boar and hay and other snack taken to specific feeding areas. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! That’s the spirit, Liz! I just moved to another state, and I started wondering the same thing until things started looking up over the last week. Now I’m glad I made this decision. πŸ™‚ Hunting sounds much different than the US. I prefer what you do in Estonia to here.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I know I already said it, but welcome baaaaaaaack! It was so weird not having you around here πŸ˜€ You’ve become a part of my daily routine :$. God Someone bless these pictures!! I had tons of blood sausage at my grandmother’s house when she was still alive and I wasn’t allergic to pork yet πŸ˜€ they are de-licious! And good to see you got your fair share of salads and sauerkraut! So speaking of husbands (which we weren’t but hey), why didn’t yours just drive you to the airport?? 3.5 hours = poo! πŸ˜€ And your sister’s husband can’t start a fire, lmao. Neither can mine. I guess Estonian women are a lot like old school Dutch ones, where we have to take care of EVERYTHING while the hubs is out working (and going to the pub ^^). Love the pics of your dad!! You totally look like him as far as I’m able to tell from here of course :D. And is that a hedgehog? ❀ I checked out Navitrolla and that's just fab! I don't have any paintings in my house, but that's only because I haven't been able to find any that are awesome enough. Such as these! πŸ˜€ Awesome post!! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hiiiiii! πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ awwww, I missed you too! Did you ever go to that bookfair in Frankfurt, was it? And you’re my daily routine as well, no shame there πŸ˜€ hahahaha

      Ah… he drove me to the trainstation alright… but to Dublin airport? man, that would have taken 5 hours one way for him with shit traffic and roadrage! πŸ˜€ I decided on the train so I could leave later on the day and spend a few extra hourd with hubby and feed him before I left! πŸ˜€

      Hahaha, what’s wrong with them hubbys who can’t start a fire? I always get the fire going with first try! πŸ˜€ but you’re right there about the women-= tough cookies altogether! good to have a strong role model in fron of us as welll πŸ™‚

      Yeah, Mike here seemed to think I look more like my dad as well than my mom… that kind of terrifies me! πŸ˜€

      Not sure if that’s a hedgehog… the product name on the packet is PΓ€hklinΓ€pp which translates to hazel dormouse… hmhh… I learned something new myself here! πŸ˜€
      But I agree, Navitrolla’s paintings are just wow… I damned myself to hell when I realized back in Dublin that I had forgot to buy a 2017 calendar with his images. Ah well… πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • ❀ πŸ™‚ Don't get me started on the book fair. I was too sick to go, but M from https://mreadsbooks.wordpress.com went there and told me it was quite a bit of a disappointment. I believe she only brought one book with her back home in the end. So yes, oooooh well!

        Awwe, okay, yeah, that would've been too much stress for everyone involved then XD. Hahaha, you fed him before you left! Did he manage to feed himself properly while you were gone? πŸ˜€ Here's to us being strong role models ourselves one day! *raises polished wine glass with home made wine, made by hours of foot labor, in it!* πŸ˜‰
        Hahaha, maybe he's right! But then a feminine and pretty version obviously :D. I'm the spitting image of my dad, really. Without the moustache. It's horrifying but at least I can tell for sure that my mother wasn't getting it on with our milk man.
        Oooh, I have to google that as well XD. D'awwe!! You can't order them online? Or would they be ridiculously expensive compared to just buying them in Estonia?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I am happy to see you had such a great time! Last summer most book bloggers were going crazy trying to figure out what books they were going to take on vacation and how many and I kept thinking… how do they.read on vacation? I can see having a book to read on the plane or train, but still. I cannot read on vacation, I agree with you, there is too much to look at. Ha ha.

    What flour is used for black bread? Is it dark because of molasses? I love brown bread, so I am thinking I would like black bread, too. You should do a post about Estonian food like Anne did about Dutch food!

    Welcome back. I am off to look at that artwork. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • thank you! 😊
      Black bread is usually made from rye flour and there’s a whole process with making/having leaven…or some thing like that. you use couple of pieces of rye bread, mix it with kefir and leave it fermenting for a couple of days to make the leaven or basis for bread. but i think the whole color comes from rye flour and i dont think theres molasses used….complicated stuff and im a disaster when it comes to baking πŸ˜‚
      did you check out the artwork? what did you think? πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Welcome back! I missed this post the last time I checked your blog, silly me! I love airports, it’s the perfect place to observe people and play the “who’s who and who’s going where?” game. I live 15 mins from Bordeaux’s airport so I used to go there for late cigarette shopping or just a few hours of voyeurism, haha! Estonia sounds great, I love that we all fall for the food when we’re back in our family.
    We have a fireplace here but no one knows how to start a fire xD

    Liked by 1 person

    • thank you! 😁
      hahaha, so technically anyone who would come and make fire in your fireplace would be considered a fire god? πŸ˜‚ ok, that’s pushing it, but maybe an expert? it would be great to be an expert in something!

      Like

  8. Thanks you for sharing this slice of Estonian culture!
    BTW, I have those scary feelings at airport checks too – and to see a sign that says ‘drug smuggling is a capital offence’ kind of sends the shivers down one’s (innocent) spine.

    Liked by 1 person

Have your say!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s