New and Old

Trip Start Jul 10, 2007
Trip End Jul 21, 2007

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Flag of Estonia  ,
Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Estonia was both a delight and a disappointment. When we signed up for this excursion we chose "EZ Tallinn" because immediately following two full days in St. Petersburg we knew we would be tired and wanted to take it a little easy. Our guide was a delight. She clearly demonstrated for us the people of Estonia. She said it best by telling us Estonians love to sing. "Even our language sounds like a song." She depicted for us a people who have maintained their spirit inspite of years of oppression. At the edge of the iron curtain even fishermen were not permitted to have boats lest they try to escape to Finland, only 60 miles away.

The contrast between Tallinn before communism and Tallinn under communism is dramatic. Before communism the people lived in individual homes surrounded by grass and trees.

Under communism they were moved into small apartments in large apartment buildings surrounded by concrete. Everything pointed out to us that was built under communism was massive and unattractive.

The security under communism even had microphones under tables in restaurants so people dared not talk anywhere. They were slaves, or else. How these people maintained their cheerful disposition is amazing. Today the town is both quaint and vibrant.

Estonia is widely known in the region as an inexpensive place to shop.

Our guide told us of people coming over from Finland on one of 17 daily ferries primarily to buy alcohol. She said they drink all they can while there and then buy what they can manage to carry back. The Estonian people call them graindeer. They run in herds and make a lot of noise.

The flying angel is a symbol of hope for the Estonian people.

And the monastary ruins revealed an interesting story. Apparently when the monastary was build in the middle ages it was build on the same plot of ground as a convent. The church leaders of the day pointed to this project as proof of the dedication of both monks and nuns in that they were able to live in such close proximity without any attempt at getting together. Years later when the buildings fell into ruins it was discovered that there was a tunnel connecting the two basements.

We had a delightful day with perfect weather. The disappointment came from the fact that we made only two stops and at each the walking far exceeded our abilities. All our pictures had to be taken from the bus and behind the walls of Old Tallinn remains a mystery.
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