the taste of tallinn

besides the infamous estonian coffee and chocolates, there were a few other hidden food gems in this little town, which of course i made it a priority to try.

when walking around in the town square, we were distracted by a market with little stalls selling goods. one in particular seemed to have gathered a crowd and also was emitting an aroma that indicated "sweets," so i made my way over. the crowd was watching a few men make an estonian dessert bread called chimney bread.

the chimney bread stand. 5 euro and all your dreams can come true.

the bread came in many different flavors including vanilla, cinnamon, coconut, and a few others that i couldn't quite decipher into english. i was drawn to coconut much to the chagrin of my parents' plain taste, but in the end we settled on cinnamon. which tasted mostly like the outside layer of a cinnabon. good, but nothing to write home about. even if that's exactly what i'm doing.

our order of cinnamon chimney bread in the process. and my taking of photos of said process to deal with my severe level of impatience.

vana tallinn is the local liquor in tallinn (there's a tiny hint in the name there), and even though it was the middle of the day, we decide to go all real housewives and order a glass on the rocks at lunch.

a photo of my glass of vana tallinn. with the bread basket for good measure.

the drink is generally served as whiskey would be, with the exception that it is sometimes included in champagne. which isn't something people generally do with whiskey, and if you are please stop. gross. anyway, basically vana tallinn is alcoholic maple syrup. or vanilla flavored hydrogen peroxide. either or, but at least it kept me warm in the shade.

the next star of the real housewives of tallinn.


tallinn (estonia - duh.)

who can say that they've been to estonia? THIS GIRL! yes people, believe it or not the first stop on my journey was to the wonderful town of tallinn in estonia, a country i never dreamed i would have the chance to visit.

just a little map - i'm sure you'll find it useful.
to no surprise of yours i'm sure, there wasn't really a whole lot to do in the city of tallinn. like the dedicated guide book reader i am, i of course consulted my lonely planet for the top sights, restaurants, and cuisine indigenous to the area. but we were able to manage all of the above within about 3 hours of arriving so i wouldn't say it's a town you go to for a week unless you want some peace and quiet. or if you have a particular interest in medieval fare as this seemed to be a recurring theme in the shops and restaurants. any historical relevance to any of this however is still to be confirmed.

getting pretty medieval at fat margaret.

one of the many passage ways in the streets of old town.

luckily, the weather was gorgeous so it was nice to have a day to walk around the town, see some of the old architecture, and of course stop off for some chocolate and a coffee. because that's what estonia is known for. but of course you already knew that.

cute stairwell outside of a chocolate/coffee shop we went to.

whoaaaaa, baltic amber is the color of your energyyy....



supposedly tivoli gardens is meant to be the “disneyland” of denmark, though i honestly couldn’t tell you who or where i heard that from. but to whomever or wherever i did hear that from, i’d have to disagree.

don’t get me wrong, i’m a huge fan of disneyland/world (preference for land – duhhh), but disney to me no matter how wonderful has sort of an air of faux. it’s colorful and there are lots of lights, but it’s also plastic. and it’s not completely improbably to step in gum.

trivoli, on the other hand, has the lights, the color, and the rides, but it also offers maybe something of a little more adult experience. while there are a few of the stereotypical theme park food vendors offering hotdogs, popcorn, and a whole slew of candies, there are also several restaurants scattered throughout the park that offer fine dining experiences ranging from quaint outdoor patios to art deco modern affairs. 

the gardens and fountains in the park are also amazing and well manicured in a way that really only people of the age of 26+ could potentially appreciate – and i say this because i only recently started to appreciate this sort of thing.

of course being that it is an amusement park, there’s still plenty of fun for the kids/adults who still think they are kids.  there are roller coasters, bumper cars, and plenty of those rides that prey on people with a fear of heights (i.e. rides like dr. doom at islands of adventure).  though i didn’t indulge in playing it, there was an awesome giant version of that claw game you typically see in arcades with stuffed animals that were about half my size (so…big). ok, so maybe the only reason i didn’t indulge was that my mom wasn’t going to give me money to play it. ah, once again impressing you all with my maturity.


i’ll have a danish…danish

well, it wouldn’t be my blog without a post on some of the local fare in copenhagen.  besides, the danish danish pun was way too easy to pass up.

i hate when people start sentences with things that make them sound like they think they’re amazing for doing a lot of traveling, but i can’t really think of another way to begin this so here it goes.  whenever i travel to a new place (ok the worst part is over), my favorite thing to do is to try and have a couple meals from things that i buy at the grocery store.  clearly this has huge benefits in the budget travel arena, but also i think grocery shopping in another country almost gives you a little more  access to some of the local fare versus going out to eat at the popular guide book places. we didn’t have enough time for it to really make sense to grocery shop for meals in copenhagen, so instead we substituted with a trip to 711.

something i developed a liking to in NZ is “pick n mix,” which is generally a wall that has an assortment of candies, nuts, and other snacks that you can PICK and MIX from (get it?!?!).  so i was naturally very excited to recognize a danish “pick n mix” in the 711 or a “bland selv slik.” the only thing I didn’t recognize was any of the candies in it. my only hope is that “labre larver” doesn’t translate into some kind of larvae…

another little treat we picked up was a drink we had seen at pretty much every café and restaurant we walked by called cocio classic.  and no, that isn’t dutch for “coca cola classic.”  hopefully not anyway as the color is more opaque and something similar to dirty dish water.  my mom and i picked up a bottle for a little 3pm snack, and it turns out it’s basically liquid chocolate. so, in short, cocio is danish yoohoo. obviously delicious, definitely looking into the possibility of ordering these online and having them shipped to the states.


rosenborg slot

staying true to lonely planet’s suggested top 5, we made our way to the rosenborg slot castle. it was actually right next to a sandwich place that was suggested to us as a local favorite, so it was more a matter of convenience of being next to a place that we wanted to eat at. kidding….

the castle was built in the early 17th century by christian iv, and i honestly couldn’t imagine another first name more suitable for a danish royalty. bet that’s not how you thought that sentence was going to end. anyway, the castle is considered one of the great landmarks of copenhagen, and was filled floor to ceiling with luxurious décor. everything you would expect from a fairy tale castle was included, from gilded mirrors, detailed tapestries, marble table tops, and hand painted ceilings. i’ll spare you the photos my mom and i took of us fake sitting in the throne.

outside the castle.

the winding staircase.

the throne. 

next on the tour we headed down to the treasury portion of the castle that showcased the danish crown jewels. i’m pretty sure i’ve seen a royal jewelry collection somewhere, though i honestly can’t remember exactly when and where, which means i was either a young kid or drunk. hoping for the former since the latter makes for a pretty pathetic sense of fun things to do when drunk. 

anyway, this particular royal collection was more exquisite than any i had remembered from ones i have seen before.  perhaps the danish are just good with lighting, but everything in the collection had a perfectly polished sparkle.  the details on the jewelry, dishware, and even the building itself were incredible and it was pretty obvious that everything was done by hand.  i was so taken aback by how beautiful everything was in fact, that i can’t even make a poorly thought out joke about those suckers in centuries past that spent hours on these tiny little goblets we saw.

beautiful royal china - registering for this when i get married.

royal teacups - kind of like those ones you get at the mall with your kid's photo on it, but in gold.

oh, just some new accessory i picked up.


cph canal tour

when seeking advice about what to do while in copenhagen, a majority of people made it clear that in order to truly see the city, you needed to see it from the water.  clearly this wasn’t necessarily hush-hush advice intended for only those who are in the know, as there were plenty of companies in the city offering canal tours.  they are so popular in fact, that these hour long tours have boats leaving every 15 minutes for a majority of the day, which is pretty intense considering this is a pure act of tourism and not a means of getting around the city.

i could write a few paragraphs about the tour and what we saw, but unfortunately every sentence i’m currently forming in my head sounds like a cheesy guide book – “it was gorgeous,” “the views were breathtaking,” “definitely recommend it to anyone visiting,” and “two thumbs up.”  ok, i wouldn’t actually use that last phrase as i’m no siskel or ebert, but instead of writing about the views, i’ll show you.

view from the canal.

standard copenhagen photo. 

the opera house.

the royal ship.

the little mermaid.

carlsberg on the water. 

one of the many low bridges we went through. not a tour for the tall people of the world.



i’m pretty sure at this point that someone could diagnose me with some sort of syndrome that causes me to fall in love/want to move to every new city i walk into, so no matter how much i want to, i won’t say “i wish i could move to copenhagen.” except i just kind of did, didn’t i?

i arrived here to meet up with my family for a 10 day cruise we’re taking through scandinavia – stoping in a long list of countries I never thought I would get the chance to visit: denmark, sweden, estonia, russia, finland, etc. (did i just etc an entire group of countries? must mean i’m still american..) maybe it’s because i’m used to cruises leaving from miami and i’m from florida, but for some reason i kept thinking of my stay in copenhagen as only a precursor to the cruise – not an actual part of the tour. obviously i could be wrong since i’m writing this pre-cruise, but copenhagen could possibly be the highlight for me on this trip.

we only had 2 full days here (which includes a half day after arriving on extremely long flights and a half day before boarding our cruise ship), but thanks to lonely planet’s “europe on a shoestring” top 5 things to see in copenhagen, and my incessant need to be walking around 24/7, we were able to squeeze a lot in during that short amount of time. and still allow my poor parents a short nap in the afternoon.

the city is gorgeous, the weather is perfect, you can walk everywhere, and there are about 289298173821749 amazing looking men here. pretty much my idea of heaven on earth.

anchors away! i mean, what else could my caption be here...

why there isn't water coming from this little cherub as if he is peeing, the world may never know...

narrow streets. lots of bikes. yep, that's pretty much copenhagen.

central station.

cutest widdle bar everrrrrr (baby voice).

silly tourist photo? check.

the king's brewery and the oldest building in copenhagen.

not the little mermaid, but another mermaid that i wanted to post a photo of. deal with it.

bikes ev-er-y-where!!

mmmmm smushis....

the round tower -  aptly named.


not quite the bahamas

continuing on my quest to see the palm, i decided to man up and ask the concierge at my hotel how i could get myself to the area and if there was a building i could go to to see an aerial view of the landmark.  the concierge suggested the atlantis hotel, which i’m sure one or two of you might have heard of, and confirmed that i could take the metro almost the full way there. (insert a joyous song coming from my wallet) it was on, and i set out to finally go see the palm.

apparently, “aerial views” doesn’t translate well, as when i arrived at atlantis, i was immediately ushered to a touristy portion of the resort that seemed to only have an accessible second floor.  not quite high enough to get a picturesque view of the palm.  what it did feature was shopping, beautiful restaurants, the waterpark, and of course the aquarium. 

the lost chamber aquarium.

 ceiling mural in the hotel outside of the aquarium.

 well, that sounds like an awkward conversation with your children...

 the waterpark at atlantis.

i took a walk around to see the hotel, and found a monorail that would take me back to the city.  monorail in my mind meant “high above the ground,” so i boarded the train with optimism that i might still get to see the palm.  i got a few amazing photos of the city and of atlantis itself…

even the ticket for the metro was beautiful.

 atlantis. i have two versions of this photo from two different angles in the light, but fear that people will question filter usage on the other one.

view of the city from the monorail.

but unfortunately this is going to be the best photo i can get of the palm this time around.