01 May 2006

Tallinn, Estonia

Hey everybody...

I just got back from a weekend stay in Estonia, I thought I might as well post something now before I won't have time later on. myself and 11 other guys left Stockholm on friday afternoon from the frihamnenport on a huge cruise ship. It wasn't the usual people I hung out in the last 8-9 months I've been here but nevertheless it was a fun-filled weekend.... it had all of the makings of a great movie if the trip was longer than a week :)

Before I post some pictures, let me explain a little something about Estonia since most people don't know what it is. Estonia was a country occupied by CCCP for many years until early 1990s when Estonia finally became an independent country along with other countries like Lithuania and Latvia. In the early 1990s after Russia left, Estonia was one of the most poor country in east Europe... many Finnish and Swedish people usually go to Estonia to party hard because everything there is so cheap. Even though after reading about Estonia on the Wikipedia, it said that Estonia has became the "Silicon Valley" of europe... Skype was founded in Tallinn, Estonia, I was still expecting to see lots of badly beaten down buildings with dozens of beggars on the streets.

Wikipedia wasn't kidding,...Estonia has come a long way from early 1990s, the prices there are not that cheap... probably 10% discount from Sweden's living costs (perhaps more cheaper in other areas such as housing, booze etc... but not overall)... They have very beautiful "old town" section , coined as one of Europe's most beautiful old town preservation by wikipedia. The old town is right beside the newly built modernized section of Tallinn (Tallinn is the captial city of Estonia, with a population of only 400,000 and Estonia has only 1.3 million in all).

I have to say, I was impressed with Tallinn, you can actually see the progress being made for the future - economic wise and socially.

Anyway, here comes pictures and my first attempt to post a video on this blog...

The guys I went with on the boat.

The business district of Tallinn, like I said, you can see the progress being made.

The guys and I went to a nice restaurant, I ordered Garlic Bread and I got this??? :) it was toasted bread with minced garlic with mayo on the side. It actually tasted good :) (sans mayo)

Toffe, Me, and Hans barhopping in the old town district.

A fun cycle-taxi :)... they were everywhere when I was in Cuba but this one is more modernized.

Entering the old town district, you can see where the more modern part of the city ends on the right side of the picture.

Random picture with some guys pointing at me?...

A lady dressed up in medevial Estonia clothes selling fried peanuts. Tasted good only when they are warm... when they cool up, they're gross. :)

Main square in the old town district, restaurants on all sides of the square.

This is one of many windows of a fort, I thought those windows were interesting cuz if you look closer, you should be able to see another mini window on the middle-left square that opens up. I think it was used by the russians for snipers enabling them to shoot out of the window wihtout having to open the whole window during cold winters or something?...

Me in front of some fort that was probably used by the Russians during the occupation.

Another random picture of old Estonia.

Here is my first video posted... I hope this works... its a random clip while walking down on Tallinn streets.

This is Mackan (I hope I got his name right), an introduction of him is necessary to show you the videos below. He is a very eccentric but an interesting person, I think without him the whole weekend would not have been as entertaining.

Here is Mackan portraying Adolf Hitler after a conversation discussing Germany's plans to take over Estonia in the WWII.

And this, just one more of his many antics, portraying a scene from Godfather with Stefan.

Have a good day :)


oneninefive said...

Nice pictures - did you get a chance to explore areas outside of the city?

I am sure things may have looked less modern outside the city?

Estonia looks like a place I would visit next time I am in Europe (want to explore more of Eastern Europe some day).

Nice videos too!

Brandon said...

nope, i didnt get the chance to explore outside of Tallinn due to time constraints, I'm sure its not as modernized out there... maybe we both can explore the countryside of Estonia next time? :p


Flasher T said...

You're playing the ignorant North American, right? :P

The castle walls are way older than the Russian occupation.

Brandon said...

i didnt say it was built by the russians... i said it was probably "used" by the russians :)


Anonymous said...

Estonia was ruled for centuries by Germany, Sweden and Denmark. The name Tallinn comes from something meaning Danish Town, as the whole Nortern Estonia was ruled by Denmark. Estonia was a part of Sweden before the Russians first took it, then it became independent(was even as/more advanced then Finland) and then again the Soviets took it illegally. The culture has nothing to do with the Eastern European nations, it is more northern than eastern by that fact. The Soviet impact was just anything but good...

Brandon said...

Hey, thanks for the additional information. I should have added that... seems like there is plenty of proud Estonians reading my blog :)

You're right, Estonian is more scaniadivan than eastern... in fact Estonian Language closely resemble to finnish although of course its a completely different language.


oneninefive said...

Interesting additional information. Blogging is very educational!

Who knows some day classes will be taught through blogs. :)

Buzzair said...

San Franciso t-shirt, Godfather movie scene...

are you really in Europe or are you hiding out in the States somewhere, pretending your in Europe. lol

Anonymous said...

Hi! Estonians are Finnic people, so we have a Finnic language aswell. It is mutally intelligeble with Finnish (one can understand the other language without using any third). Latvian and Lithunian are completely different, they are Baltic languages, not close to Finnic languages at all. It is belived that Finns originally came from the areas around Estonia. That´s why some dialects of Estonian are very much like current Finnish. The written language has developed onwards, borrowing from German and Swedish, now English. It is interesting, that southern dialects are more like Finnish than northern.

Brandon said...

hey buzzy...

dont worry, I'll post some pictures of me posing beside the Eiffel tower to verify that im in europe :p (just got home from Paris today)

Paris blog coming soon!


mplaing said...

How long is "soon"? Has been more than three weeks since you announced a Paris blog coming. :)

oneninefive said...

Still no Paris story? :)