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“Païkest” from Estonia

overcast 5 °C

Estonia is a small country perched on the very edge of Western Europe and it has had a long and checkered history under the thumbs of the Danes, Germans, Poles, Swedes and Russians. All of these invaders have influenced the architecture and culture, and Tallinn, the picturesque capital city, has been left a rich legacy of buildings dating from medieval times...
Today, the invaders have gone and the ancient cobblestone streets are reserved for locals and tourists on foot. However, many sections of the medieval wall that once surrounded the city are still intact...
Touristy restaurants and cafes have taken over almost all of the buildings in the old city centre and offer a wide range of local game including bear, moose, elk and wild boar. This is Estonia's oldest coffee house...
We've only been here a couple of days but we're getting to grips with the important words...
We live in Canada - a country where bear, elk, deer and moose are hunted in abundance, yet none of these lean wild meats ever appear on our menus. Judging by the numbers of tourists tucking into these healthful delicacies here it may be time for our restaurants to start getting beyond the burgers and fries. The moose was delicious but how about this for our hotel's breakfast buffet?
Only 1.4 million people live in Estonia and nearly a third of them call Tallinn home.
Estonians are probably the most techno-savvy people in the world and there are more cellphones than people in Estonia. They are generally smart cookies, (many speak three or four languages and they invented Skype), and they have a capital city that has excellent shops, a wealth of well preserved ancient buildings and interesting museums. This is Tallinn's medieval central square...
And these are some of the many churches that dot the old city...
Estonia finally broke away from Russia after the First World War only to be re-colonised during the Second. They have been independent since 1990 and part of the EU since 1994 so you would think that they would be happy. However, despite having a beautiful little capital, excellent food, casinos and sex shops galore, and oodles of inexpensive booze, Estonians rate themselves as the most unhappy people in the whole of Europe. Maybe it's the frequently overcast skies; the frigid arctic winds; or the thought that in a few weeks it will only be light for a few hours a day. However, it's more likely that they simply don't realise how lucky they are.
Riga in Latvia is our next stop. Winter is rapidly approaching and we must hurry south to avoid the chills. So, as the Estonians say, “Païkest” – here's wishing you sunshine.

Posted by Hawkson 00:27 Archived in Estonia

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Your photos bring back happy memories of Tallin.
I went in early July last year and daylight was the problem !
Love from sunny but windy Jersey

by Christine Lloyd

It is getting cooler here with lots of rain. Lovely city.

by Susan Fitzwilson

This appears to be a beautiful place. I hope the European union survives if only to discourage more wars.

by Janet

Wonderful pictures. It looks like a great place to visit. Edwin and I will be visiting as part of a cruise next May

by Bronwyn

I can see that you are off to a good start. Sumiko and I were in Tallin on a Baltic Cruise. Far less leisure to explore than you have. Remember the Canadian Embassy tucked away in one of those historic neighbourhoods.

by Tom Whalley

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