Tallinn, Estonia

In my first location-based blog entry I would like to talk about the pearl of the Baltics – Tallinn. From the 18th of April until the 20th I was fortunate enough to visit this lovely place for a third, wonderful, time, since 2012. Tallinn is famous for its red roofs, amber and good, affordable beerbooze. People from Finland and Scandinavia regularly cross the Baltic Sea by ferry to shop in the liquor paradise.

As you know I am living and studying in Sweden at the moment. Thus, I used this chance to participate in the Erasmus Student Network’s biggest event- the Sea Battle – twice. One time last fall and well…this week. This event is characterized by bringing together 2100 students from countless countries, trapping them all on a boat, and letting them have the time of their lives.

Tallink Ferry and Sea Battle Party Boat
Tallink Ferry and Sea Battle Party Boat

The ferry they use has a huge dining room, a café, 2 nightclubs, a casino area, 5 different bars, a sauna, a sundeck and other common areas.

Capoeira Show Performance
Capoeira Show Performance

During the sea battle there are a lot of special events such as fat-suit-sumo, karaoke, pub-quizzes, game-nights, and special acrobatic dance shows, such as seen on the left.

The ferry usually departs Stockholm, Sweden around 5pm, and arrives in Tallinn, Estonia at 10am. People tend to get stuffed at the free buffet, go to the duty-free liquor store on board, buy large amounts of cheap booze, play drinking games, meet new people from everywhere in the world, get wasted, then party all night and go to bed around 6ish (If at all).

Boat-Party
Boat-Party

In the video below you can see the party at around 4am with Helga (a sex-doll) going wild in the crowd. Calling her & giving her compliments is a common festival tradition:

The next day is used to explore the beautiful old-town of Estonia’s capital, which I would like to tell you a little bit more about. So, this is how I would like to structure this blog entry. I will start telling you a little bit more about the city itself and show you some pictures of my favorite spots. Throughout this entry I will give you some budget tips and tell you what you should not miss.


The Old town

The historical old town is the best preserved medieval town of northern Europe and very famous for its architecture, the red roofs, it’s famous gothic steeple-tops, the winding cobblestone streets and the surrounding city wall.

City wall with red tower steeples
City wall with red tower steeples

Unlike many other European capitals Tallinn managed to maintain its medieval design and the structure from its hanseatic beginning. If you spend some time here you’ll immediately be under Tallinn’s spell and feel its mystical subsistence. One place that really arouses this constitution is the Olde Hansa. It is a restaurant/bar in the very center of the old town.

Olde Hansa
Olde Hansa

Knights and maidens will lure you into the huge building and serve you with medieval dishes, prepared liked in the 15th century, music from the same era and homebrewed beers and herb-drinks.

Medieval musicians perform almost every night – excluding Mondays. On the weekend you will also see some street artist performing with fire in front of the building. Along the streets of the old town you will find plenty antique churches and enormous buildings from the former rich European salesmen coming to Tallinn, along with barns and attics.

If you follow the cobblestone road past the Olde Hansa you will get to the town hall square in the very center of town. In the summer-time plenty of concerts are held here, flee-& food-markets occur and the restaurants are packed, whereas in the wintertime you’ll come to visit a wonderfully decorated Christmasmarket with a tall fir tree in the middle of the square.

One of my favorite spots in town can be reached if you pass the square and climb the stairs along the massive city walls. You will reach a nice lookout.

The red rooftops of Tallin's Old Town, Estonia
The red rooftops of Tallin’s Old Town, Estonia

This place is where we should glance over the red city roofs, let our mind fade, listen to some folk music played by street performers, get a hot chocolate from one of the stalls, and just think about “The times we had”.

"The Times We Had" - Rooftops of Tallinn's Old Town, Estonia
“The Times We Had” – Rooftops of Tallinn’s Old Town, Estonia

Just around the corner is another nice lookout, facing the direction of the harbor. This point can also be reached with a set of endless stairs from the very bottom of the hill the old town was built on. Continuing to stroll around the narrower streets on top of the hill you will eventually reach the pinkish parliament building & the beautiful Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, named after a saint whom won the battle of ice, which literally took part on the ice of Lake Peipus in 1242.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn, Estonia
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn, Estonia

The orthodox cathedral was built around a 120 years ago, when Estonia was part of the Russian empire.

After climbing the hill of the old town and looking at all the cute little alley-ways, amber shops, medieval stores & nice sights the city has to offer, I’m sure you’ll be starving or at least thirsty. This is why I have set up a list of places you can reach within the next ten minutes from wherever you are in the old town. I have divided the table into famous places and my favorites including some pricing info. Just be aware that nothing is reeaaaally expensive in Estonia in comparison to other European countries.

Activity Regular Budget
Snack “Foody Allen“, “Wok to Walk“, Fast-Food joints Pastry Kiosk located all over town (see below)
Proper Restaurant “Olde Hansa” (Main dishes around 16-30€)

If you have the budget still a must see!

“Vanaema Juures” (Mains range around 10-16€)
Café “Café Mademoiselle” (Reasonable price and good cake)

“Reval café” (Nice atmosphere, not so good food)

Tipp: “Chocolates de Pierre” not necessarily cheaper but it has great homemade chocolate!
Local Food and Beers “Hell Hunt” “Hell Hunt” (STOP LOOKING FOR CHEAPER OPTIONS – JUST GO HERE ALREADY!)
Hostel “16 EUR Hostel” or “Fat Margaret´s” are common, decent, choices “Vana Tom Hostel” (from 8€) or “Tallinn Backpackers” (from 9€)
Bar “Must Puudel” (Soviet Themed)

“Shooters” (Endless array of shots)

“Tops” (Alternatv. for Soviet Theme)

“Valli Baar” (usually live music)

Nightlife & Clubbing “Club Hollywood”, “Klubi Teater” There is no real “cheapest” option here. It depends on the venue.

Basically, my must-see recommendation for you guys is the Hell Hunt (“The Gentle Wolf”). Delicious food for fairly cheap prices & a selection of the best beersall you really need. I have been resting and dining here every single time I have been to Tallinn and will continue doing so. I can recommend almost everything the menu has to offer. One of my favorites is the borscht soup & the traditional Estonian appetizer fried brown bread, rubbed with garlic and a cucumber dip. So simple but so delicious.

If you just want a small snack I’d recommend one of the Pastry Kiosks located around town. As the name suggests they serve pastries stuffed with e.g. meat, spinach, pees, beans, chicken etc. My preferred Kiosk is located very close to the famous city gate of Tallinn (Two towers on the border of the old town, opening the way to the main shopping street). With the gate left behind you, a McDonald’s is to your left. You follow that road (along the city wall) and the pastry store will be located on the next corner on the left. It is a small greenish hut.

Another great pub you should not miss is the Scotland Yard. I did not include it in the table as it is rather expensive. Nonetheless, its authenticity makes up for their prices. They have a traditional Scottish police officer showing you where to sit, as well as all kinds of random, old decoration, such as an electric chair and old weapons. Also, there is a huge aquarium in the middle of the bar with large fish in it. It is located on the bottom of the hill, outside of the old city walls.


One final thing: You should really check out the Olde Hansa, even though it is one of the most expensive places in town, it really fits the town and rounds off your trip back to medieval times. Of course, the choice is yours.

If you are studying in Europe I can only recommend you take part in this ESN-event and visit Tallinn. The second party cruise, the way back, is just as good. Nobody said conquering the Baltic sea would be easy – but I can proudly announce that we made it! All the exzessive partying and city touring was worth it. The view on the trip through Stockholm’s Archipelago the next morning before reaching the harbor compensates for all the blood, sweat & tears that shaped the conquest. See for yourself (No idea why video is turned, even though it has been filmed correctly):

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Serra de Tramuntana

It’s a pleasure to introduce you to our first travel report – Yay! In this first blog entry we would like to recount about our hiking trip to Mallorca last September. For us, it was the first real hiking trip apart from some day hikes in New Zealand, so it was new & adventurous! To be precise, we hiked a part of the Majorcan mountain range called the Serra de Tramuntana which is located in the West of the island. As we were (& still are) newbies in hiking, we decided for a four-day trip from Valdemossa to Pollença. This route only covers a small part of the whole Serra de Tramuntana since you can as well hike the whole mountain range, from Port d’Andratx/Sant Elm to Pollença. You can see the entire route in the picture of the map:

Hiking map of Serra de Tramuntana
Hiking map of Serra de Tramuntana

After we landed at the airport of Palma de Mallorca we spent the rest of the first day in Palma city where we as well booked a hostel for that night. Concerning the transfer from the airport to the city centre, which is about 10 kilometres further West, we recommend you to take a public bus instead of booking an airport shuttle since it is much cheaper (3€ instead of 8€).

Rooftop in Palma de Mallorca
Rooftop in Palma de Mallorca

Before we tell you more about the beautiful city of Palma which we fell in love with immediately, we would like to describe the hostel we stayed in. It is called Hostel Pura Vida & is located in the city centre, close to the Catedral de Santa María – so close that you have a wonderful view of the cathedral & the ocean from the little roof terrace of the hostel. This view over the rooftops of Palma is definitely a highlight! For one night in a dorm with six beds (including breakfast & wifi) we paid 35€ per person (booked via booking.com).

Rooftop view
Rooftop view

Unfortunately, we had to leave the hostel early the next morning so that we could not have breakfast in the hostel. As that day was our first hiking day we wanted to start as early as possible to make sure that we will definitely arrive at our first destination, Port de Sóller, before the sun goes down. We liked the hostel because it was very cozy: the Mediterranean charm invited us to relax & feel comfortable. Our dorm room contained three wooden bunk beds & everything (including the wash rooms) was well maintained & clean. For our next trip to Palma we would definitely choose this hostel again!

Inside Hostel Hostel Pura Vida, Palma de Mallorca
Inside Hostel Hostel Pura Vida, Palma de Mallorca
Hostel Hostel Pura Vida, Palma de Mallorca
Hostel Hostel Pura Vida, Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca is the awesome capital of the Spanish Mediterranean island Mallorca which combines many different things without being too urban or anonymous. We enjoyed the familiar atmosphere while hanging out in tapas bars (we can recommend 13%, delicious tapas there! (13 Prozent), strolling through the friendly city centre which offers shopping opportunities for every budget & having a refreshing sangria at one of the lively squares where you can observe the hustle & bustle of the tourists, as well as of the Majorcans. For us, this is the best way to get to know the Spanish way of living – take your time!

Palma de Mallorca at night

Of course you can also quench your thirst for knowledge about the historical & cultural aspects of Palma, for example in one of the numerous museums. A good spot to chill (without being obliged to spend money for a drink or tapas) is the square behind the cathedral where you can sit on the steps leading down to a small water basin & enjoy the sun :).

So now, let’s start hiking! As already mentioned, our first hiking day started very early, because we planned to hike two shorter tracks: 8,5 kilometres from Valdemossa to Deià & 9,3 kilometres from Deià to Port de Sóller where we wanted to stay in the Refugi Muleta. Refugis are simple accommodations especially set up for hikers. It’s recommended to book it in advance which you can do online. As you will be sleeping in dorms containing ten to sometimes 36 beds, you shouldn’t forget to take your ear plugs with you ;). But don’t worry: if you forget them or they won’t stay in your ears (my ears don’t seem to be suitable for ear plugs :D) you will nevertheless fall asleep immediately because you will be really exhausted from the hiking day…

Valdemossa Llibreria
Valdemossa Llibreria

Powered from a quick coffee & a delicious croissant – not actually a good & nutritious breakfast for hikers – we made our way to the main bus station (Estació Intermodal) of Palma where we took the bus to Valdemossa around 7:30 a.m. The drive to the historic old town of Valdemossa takes about half an hour.

Cappucino Valdemossa
Cappucino Valdemossa

Before we went to look for the start of the hiking track we strolled along the (still) silent streets of the picturesque village which was still sleeping – would have been interesting to see the small town & its locals waking up!

Valdemossa
Valdemossa

After having provided ourselves with some baguette & Spanish salami for the day we tried to find the starting point of the trail which was not as easy as expected. It was hard to see where exactly the entrance to the track was supposed to be because it wasn’t marked very clearly & our guide map wasn’t precise enough. Once we found the start of the track it didn’t really get easier: this part of the route from Valdemossa to Deià is not yet officially marked so that you really have to follow the instructions in the guide map, as well as always keep your eyes open for the so-called cairns. These little figures made out of several stones piled one on another at the left or right side of the trail indicate that you are on the right way.

Beginning of the hike
Beginning of the hike

During the first part of the serpentine trail we went uphill until we reached the first lookout, called Pla des Pouet. From here you can see the church of Valdemossa beneath you – such an amazing view!

Leaving the lookout behind us we followed the cairns through a forest area (where we had some problems to stay on the right track) & finally came to the mountain path Camí de S’Arxiduc where we took a lunch break. 

Quality Time
Quality Time

We sat on rocks directly at the steep face, enjoying a breathtaking view of the ocean & the rocky coastline.

What a view
What a view
Lunch location
Lunch location

Right in front of us a mountain goat was balancing on the branches of a tree & was scared to jump off again which was really entertaining to observe… Marius thought of rescuing the helpless goat which was bleating so loudly but it finally overcame its fear & jumped on the ground. 

The goat says "hi"
The goat says “hi”

This situation wasn’t supposed to be the last one where Marius wanted to get in touch with “wild” animals… 😀 So if you want to know how Marius found a new donkey-friend, read our following blog entry about the next episode of our hiking trip on Mallorca!

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The start of something big!

Wow our first blog entry! I am so excited!

Hi everyone! My name is Lars and I have the honor of composing our first blog entry ever! So, let me tell you a little about myself, my team, the idea behind theglobeonabudget & what you can expect from this blog.


“theglobeonabudget” is born


Here we go. I am a 24 year old travel enthusiast who came up with the idea of forming this travel collective. During my master studies in “Entrepreneurship” in Sweden I thought a lot about what I would like to do with my life – about what my true passion is & what I would really, really love to do. The first thing that came to mind was, of course, traveling as such. However, I also discovered how much I enjoy telling people about my travels & listening to their stories. Exchanging experiences with other backpackers at hostels,  with exchange students whom I meet on a daily basis or simply  anyone else, is what really excites me. Furthermore, I figured that by now I have gathered quite some experience & knowledge about various places on this beautiful planet we call earth. I thus decided to give some tips to fellow travelers, such as you. Finally, it came to my mind that I have a couple of friends who also love nothing more than traveling & who also have seen their share of the globe already. Hence, I decided to build a team. The more insights & opinions, the better. Right?

So, this blog came out as a result of all these thoughts. I started carefully with a few pictures from my past travels on @theglobeonabudget on Instagram & added some tips I considered helpful. After that I approached some friends of mine to pitch the idea to them & to ask if they would like to join the team. Well, they did.

The Team


My fellow bloggers are Frederik – whom I have studied International Business and Management in the Netherlands with – and Marius a good friend and passionate globetrotter. All of us have developed our passion for traveling in the recent years, through semesters or internships abroad. We had a taste of seeing the world & now can’t stop.

Frederik has lived in Kansas for quite some time. He enjoys typical road-trips through the States & is a fan of the American lifestyle. He further studied in Bali for a semester and lived & worked in Bali for a couple of months. Right now he studies his masters in “Globalization, Brands and Consumption” at Lund University in Sweden.

Marius discovered the beauty of travel during his internship in Auckland, New Zealand. Against all odds he discovered a new love for hiking in NZ. This new desire drove him to explore the Serra de Tramuntana, on the island of Mallorca, towards the end of last year. He genuinely enjoys meeting locals & discovering their culture as well as their day-to-day life.

We are planning to get a couple more members on bord in the near future. All of us will be traveling with companions most of the time, whom we will of course also introduce to you. Also, we are planning on meeting each other in different parts of the world at one point. You can read up on more about the team in the respective section of our website.

The Future in a nutshell


Our main focus will lay on YOU, our friends, followers & partners in crime. We want to design this blog as interactive as possible & create a new experience for everyone. This is why we are looking forward to your comments, your thoughts, your suggestions, your own experiences & your opinion on everything we do. We will try to upload live material on our theglobeonabudget Facebook channel whenever possible. We will serve you with exclusive YouTube content in addition to the pictures you will see in the blog, in order to provide you with a 360° experience & let you see what we see & feel what we feel. On another note, we will publish exclusive content from other bloggers, casual & frequent travelers or friends & followers of the page, who would like to share some of their experience on www.theglobeonabudget.com. So if you are keen on becoming active just contact us under contact@theglobeonabudget.com!

Last but not least, we will of course try to provide you with as many helpful budget-tips & travel recommendations as possible. However, we also want to make it entertaining for you! We will try to find an attractive balance & thus rely on your feedback to do so!


First last words…

So, as you can see we have a bright future ahead of us. If you like our plans & our approach or would like to contribute something, let us know in the comment section or via email.

Let me finish with saying that I am really grateful for each & everyone of you reading this. I cannot stress enough how much this experience rely’s on your input just as much as on our output. So, let us change the world of travel-blogging & create the most amazing common experience TOGETHER!

If you liked our first blog entry, please leave a comment.

If you didn’t, please leave a comment.

If you have any suggestions for us, please leave a comment.

If there is anything you would like us to elaborate upon from our previous Instagram posts from @theglobeonabudget, please leave a comment.

Or if you just like to chat about traveling, please leave a comment.

I am looking forward to hearing from you & to an exciting time with THEGLOBEONABUDGET!

Best,

Lars


 

 

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