Sunday, 19 April 2015

The big fat guide to South American bus travel

Long distance bus travel is likely to form a central component of any South American trip. 

For cash-strapped backpackers, an overnighter also helps save money as it gives you a nights accommodation as well as the means to get from a to b.

The level of comfort (and safety) of South American buses depends on the country you're in and the bus company you go for. On one bus, we were served champagne (yes! champagne) after our meal (yes! we were served a meal), while elsewhere, there wasn't even a toilet to use on the bus and the freezing temperature on board meant that we had to seriously layer up (and were still a little cold). 

Here's our guide on how to know what to expect and where! The countries are shown in the order we visited them in.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

KGB museum in Tallinn: A short review

Looking out to the port from the balcony of the Viru hotel
The Viru Hotel - a conspicuous high rise overlooking Tallinn's old town, just outside the city walls - has a secret.

The Viru hotel - how many floors does it have?
It has a hidden 23rd floor. 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Introducing Tallinn

Medieval Tallinn
I (Sarah) had had the pretty Estonian capital of Tallinn on my wish list for a number of years after a former housemate had headed off to the Baltic state for a short break. I had looked at photos of the walled and turreted old town and my wanderlust was ignited! 

St Catherine's passage

As the 2015 long Easter weekend approached, I was searching for cheap flights for a short break and Tallinn kept coming up. So now was the time!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Being vegetarian in Tallinn

Sitting on the plane on the way to Tallinn, reading my guide book, my heart started to sink. 

"The idea of anyone willingly giving up meat is fairly baffling to the porkchop-loving Estonians", it declared. Those vegetarian dishes that do exist "range from fairly uninspired concoctions of stir fried veggies or grilled cauliflower", read the next sentence.

There was also a warning that any soups or salad that may appear meat-free by reading the menu were likely to include bits of ham. Hmmm ... I thought.

Fortunately, either the guide book writer did not look in the right places or a lot has changed in the two years since the book was written.

When we arrived, our Air BnB host talked us through her recommendations of where to go and one of her top tips was to go to the vegan restaurant. "It is vegan, but the food is still very good", she told us. And away from the vegan restaurant, we found some very good veggie options. 

Here are our recommendations for eating well in Tallinn as a vegetarian: