June 13 Wednesday
Today we went into Tallinn, Estonia. A country that has been ruled by everyone in Europe it seems. The Germans, Russians, Sweden, Poland, and yes even Denmark. The Russians ruled them most recently.
The population of Estonia is 1,300,000 people.
Our guild told us how the National pass time was stealing everything they could at work and not nailed down from the Russian government. Some stole enough to build houses. Her grandfather had a closet full of chocolate.They had to have permission from the government to own a car. No religious freedom. When she was 14 they took her friend and sent her to Syberia for saying she was Morman. She and her family never saw her again.
They won their independence from Russia by singing. At first 30,000 sang at the park, no one was arrested, soon there was a 100,000 singing. Eventually they were allowed to join the European Union, change currency to the Euro, join the transportation system. The park where they sang has a huge outdoor stadium now and everyone from Madonna to Beyoncé has had a concert there.
In the 1980’s hundreds of apartments were built and everyone wanted to live in them and have hot water and a bathroom indoors. They are now filled with Russians and the Estonians want a wooden house outside of town in the woods.
The Russians were not able to build tall buildings so the Finish contractors came in and build tall buildings. Every mother’s dream was to have there daughter marry a Finish contractor and leave Estonia.
It can get down to 30 below in the winter. Most of their pay must be saved to pay heating bills in the winter, in the summer it stays light almost 24 hours a day. There are days in winter of just 2 hours of day light.
There is very little agriculture, they can grow grain, potatoes, and carrots. Most fruit and other vegetables are imported from Spain and the Netherlands. They eat a lot of bear, wild boar, and beer.
There are several communist monuments but no communists.
The day ended with me wanting to find a book on the history of Estonia.
We bought ice cream cones that came in a bag. Not the pointed sugar cone ones. The white waffled cup ones filled with soft serve ice cream, frozen in a bag.
Some people didn’t, but I had a really great day. Pedometer read 9876 steps when I boarded the ship.
Tomorrow we leave at 6:45 am to board the bullet train to Moscow.