Saturday, July 27, 2013

Teaching Through the Baltic – Part Three – Beer in Estonia

We’d started in Southhampton, had visited Zeebrugge and its famous beer, Rostock in former E. Germany and its darker beer, Stockholm and its unmemorable beer, Helsinki and its watered-down, poor excuse for beer, and St. Petersberg--where we had no time for beer on our elaborate and expensive excursion.  I’d taught “Have a Great Story to Tell” and “Writing Your Life” to the curious and receptive who’d passed up a popular quiz game, mud therapy in the spa, a glass blowing show and the fruit and vegetable carving demo.  We were just over halfway through our two-week cruise.
If you missed earlier ports and what it was like teaching on board, feel free to visit:   and

As our capable captain guided us into our next port, beer didn’t come to mind.  Mistake. 

 Tallin, Estonia is a delightful sum of many quaint parts: little signs hanging above store fronts, cobblestone roads worth walking on despite the risk of twisting an ankle, ornate lamps, earth-toned vertical homes, 
arched doorways, turrets and crosses cutting the sky, cute balconies, archery practice for a price, monuments to successful struggles against neighboring countries, sidewalk cafes and an unexpected gem, The Beer House.

After roaming the town between sun showers, we slid into an outdoor bench where locals enjoyed elaborate salads and beers.  We ordered two different varieties from the huge beer-shaped menu.  16 oz each. 

Wen ordered a silky light Tallin beer; for me it was a local honey beer.  Our delicious first sips were distracted when two 300+ pound brothers who might have been twins tried to pry and struggle their way into the bench seat next door.  Finally, perhaps spotting our dismayed glances, they decided to come and scootch in next to us.  They ordered beers that had to be 1 ½ liters.  I thought, “This ought to be interesting.”  And it certainly was!  These two brothers were amusing, and our hour or so with them was one of the most memorable of the trip. 

They were frequent travelers to Estonia from Amsterdam and had raunchy tales to tell of their homeland that went beyond medicinal greens and red-light districts.  They shared a unique scoop on Estonia and Holland. 

Our dinky beers paled in comparison to theirs so we slid our tiny diminutive butts close to them, took up their mugs (larger than my head) and snapped photos for fun. Since the pictures were on Wen’s smart phone, he immediately emailed them to our new giant friends.

  We learned a few lessons: don’t judge a dinner neighbor by his size, open up to even the most unusual fellow travelers, and be sure to tell others about the joy of Tallin’s honey beer, a nice finish to a beautiful day in Estonia!  The best of our trip!   



  1. Where can I get one-a-them mugs for my iced tea?! Cool travel log, Inky!