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Cafe Culture

So partly due to the arctic conditions lately I've been spending some time thawing out in various cafes and bars in Tallinn - and it really does have a great selection to choose from. One of my favourite places is Stereo, a futuristic all white bar with waitresses in short orange outfits and free wi-fi - what more can you ask for? They even have an iMac on the bar for free internet access, though I've seen more people sitting in bars and cafes with laptops here than in any other country. Maybe it's because wireless internet is so ubiquitous - almost every cafe has it, either for free or for 10EEK a day - under 1 euro. Or maybe sitting in a bar with a laptop is the status symbol of the newly rich here as they surf and ignore their blonde girlfriends - which anywhere else would be a geek symbol.

Attitudes can be feel quite cold and unfriendly towards you as a foreigner, which I suppose is a leftover from their Soviet days - yesterday a waitress in another cafe tried very hard to smile back but just couldn't manage it! But everyone isn't like that as they adapt to more tourists arriving to spend money and an increasing number of expats working in the capital. Occasionally some big mafia looking guy will come into a cafe, not order anything, but just sit staring out of the window. Then suddenly he'll jump up and run out after someone who passes.

Estonia does seem to be getting trendier (and more expensive) since I last visited a year ago. Dance music seems to have taken off in a big way here, but unfortunately the clubs really just seem to be open at the weekends so I'll have to leave that Estonian experience until another time.

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