Beerdrinking in Estonia

Phew, what a weekend. I had to skip school/work today just to recover from the adventures in Tartu. Our friendship organization Eesti Üliõpilaste Selts celebrated their 136th anniversary and we were of course invited to the party. An 8-man strong squad from the Ostrobotnian students’ associations decided to check out what the estonian parties are like. And what a party it became.

It all began in the ferry to Tallinn on Friday. A couple of beercases from the tax free shop and we were all set. Our goal was to finish the cases off before arriving in Tallinn, but that would have meant emptying a can every 7 minutes during the whole trip. We thought that maybe we should be in some sort of represetative condition when we get there, so we decided to take some of the beer with us instead. Since the human beeing doesn’t posess more than two arms, we had to empty all that was left of the cases into my (suitably half-empty) suitcase to get the beer off the ferry. Unfortunately, one can leaked on the way to Tartu, so all my spare clothes smelled of beer the whole weekend. Luckily, my suit was in a different bag, so no harm done.

Friday was “family day” at EÜS (which is a typical male fraternity). This is the only day girlfriends and wives are allowed in the house, so the guys’ eyes were almost glowing of excitement in the dimly lit hall. This is also the most official day with speeches, greetings from other organizations, brass band, dancing, performances and, of course, a lot of beer. We were all quite tired from the ferry trip (and in my case from having slept 1,5 hours the night before), so we didn’t quite get the steam up until we went down to Põrgu (their cellar room where the famous “beer table” tradition is exercised) for some more beer and a spontaneous drinking song contest between Finns, Latvians and Estonians. My throat is still sore after having sung like a maniac.

Saturday’s breakfast conststed of fruit juice, cold pancakes and, yes, warm beer from the ferry. Mmmm… The programme on Saturday was quite chaotic. Most of the time people just hung around at the house, drank beer and had a good time. There was a big joint lunch during the day and in the evening younger members got their “colours” (the blue-black-white ribbon), but even that was only a semi-official happening that continued throughout the whole evening. The giving and getting the ribbon also involved a lot of beer drinking, so one guy got so drunk that he had to be carried out by two friends but fell in the stairs, hit his head and got picked up by ambulance…

The most absurd day was Sunday. Our stomachs was a bit sore after all beer, so the three of us living at the hostel decided to leave the alcohol in the cans and just enjoy the spring weather. We went to town for lunch and called to see where the rest of our brave soldiers were. It turned out they miraculously had had the energy to continue partying, since they didn’t even know where they were when we called. We finished off our lunch and went to check up on them. It didn’t take long after we arrived at the house of another corporation where the party continued before we found ourselves downing 10% strong beer and laughing our asses off. It was an afternoon of silly finnish-swedish translations, friendship agreements between non-existing clubs, pulling ladders, singning and laughing.

Since we hadn’t bought any tickets for the bus to Tallinn, someone came up with the bright idea to go there by taxi. Someone knew a taxi driver, so we got a fixed price for the trip and were even allowed to continue the party in the big taxi fitting all eight of us. The partying was, however, allowed on one condition: that we’d pour the beverages into our mouths and not onto the seats. This condition was, surprise surprise, not met and one of us had to caugh up some extra eurodollars for spilling some salmiakkikossu…

When we finally got on the ferry, the planned cabin party with shrimp sandwiches, karaoke and beer chilled in a water-filled trashbin was never put into practice since we all were so tired after the 72h almost-non-stop partying. We all passed out in our cabins and woke up to a snowy, gray and dirty Helsinki, yay…

Well, it was a hell of a weekend and the sort that you have to experience yourself to understand. It’s definitely going to take a while before we’re fully recovered. I don’t even want to see another beerbottle for some time now. I should probably do some serious sleeping as well…

Over and ou..zzzzz

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