Tallinn, the capital of Estonia

August 31st, 2006

Tallinn is the capital of Estonia. It is situated by the Gulf of Finland, on the opposite sea-side of Helsinki, the capital of Finland. Tallinn is the biggest city in Estonia and it counts around half a million inhabitants (Estonia’s total population is much less than 2 millions).

Tallinn was first referred to in chronicles in 1154. In the Middle Ages it was an important trade centre. If you want to read more about Tallinn’s history I suggest you wikipedia.

Keep in mind that Tallinn is one of the best conserved Middle Ages cities in all Europe [tallinn tourism website]. Nowadays, you can still feel the taste of old middle-ages walking in the Tallinn’s Old Town belonging to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Inside the amazing city walls, you can admire incredibly well conseverd examples of middle ages architecture as well as a huge quantity of really fascinating cafes, restaurants and shops.

Tallinn Old Town - Town Hall Tallinn Old Town - Town Hall Square Tallinn Old Town - Town Hall Square Tallinn Old Town - Town Hall Square
Some pics of the Tallinn’s Old Town Town Hall Square (click to enlarge)

Probably, the most known middle ages example is represented by the core of the Old Town, the Town Hall which is dominating the impressive Town Hall square. The first time I saw it it was around midnight at the beginning of December… nobody was around and it was quite cold and snowing but still… amazing… an incredible view still clear in my mind. In summer time, the Town Hall Square is really alive with restaurants and cafes always full of people.

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Hints on Estonian /1

August 28th, 2006

Let’s start with some everyday Estonian (thanks to Maria for being so patient with me). As every language course (even if this is not actually a real course) I am going to start with greetings… You’ll find english and italian translation for every estonian word:

English Estonian Italian
hi tere ciao
hello tere salve
good morning tere hommikust buon giorno
good afternoon tere buon pomeriggio
good evening tere õhtust buona sera
good night head ööd buona notte
goodbye head aega arrivederci, addio

It is not difficult to understand that “tere” is one of the words you are going to listen more in Estonia.

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For more information about Estonian I’ll suggest you this link on the Web encyclopaedia Estonica.

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Global Warming Effects?

August 27th, 2006

Yesterday, I was going to the kitchen to have a cold bier. While opening the fridge, I saw with some wierd lights coming from outside. At the beginning, I din’t pay attention but after some seconds I went to the window… The entire sky was enlighted about every 2 seconds. There were no thunders or noise, only light. And then came the rain and the light effect continued for other 30 minutes. This year such phenomena are really common.

Sky picture 1 Sky picture 2
Sky picture 3 Sky picture 4
Sky picture 5

Pictures taken around midnight with the same camera settings (Click to enlarge).

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Landing in Estonia

August 27th, 2006

Reaching Estonia from west and central Europe means basically landing at Tallinna Lennujaam or Tallinn airport. Tallinn, of course, is the capital of Estonia. The airport there is quite small (6 gates) but cute and really amazing in winter time while heavy snowing. I still remember the experience I had in February, it was snowing that much that even if airport staff was cleaning the ground, after 2 minutes it was again completely white. I was scared the plane was not able to take off. But everything went perfect and the plane was on time. Take a look to the next pics if you want to have an idea (click to enlarge!).

Tallinn Airport in Februrary

Do you really think it is possible to take off in such conditions? Well, in Tallinn it is!

The Estonian national airline company is Estonian Air that flies to several European cities including western cities as Milan, London, Bruxelles and Paris as well as the eastern cities of Moscow and Kiev. I flied to Tallinn from London Gatwick (3 hours and a half) from Milano Orio al Serio (around 3 hours) and Bruxelles (about 2 hours and a half). Unfortunately, from Italy the Estonian Air flights from Milano/Bergamo are the only straight flights to reach Estonia. And they take off at 1.50 in the morning… dude… landing is around 5.50 in the morning…

Tallin Airport February on the plane

The plane before de-snowing and de-icing process.

At arrival, it is common to spend some minutes at the money exchange. In any case, foreign currency can be easily exchanged at hotels, banks and exchange bureau in the larger towns. The Estonan currency is Estonian kroon (EEK). At the moment, you can get about 15 kroons for each euro. But remember credit card is accepted almost everywhere… as well as internet… it is everywhere and usually offered for free in the hotels… but I will speak about it in future posts…

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August 24th, 2006

In the last year I had the great chance to visit and enjoy Estonia a country in Northern Europe. According to Wikipedia, Estonia has land borders with fellow Baltic country Latvia (339 km) to the south and Russia (229 km) to the east. It is separated from Finland in the north by the narrow Gulf of Finland and from Sweden in the west by the Baltic Sea. Its coastline is 3,794 km long.

Estonia in Europe

Estonia location in Europe.

Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a country of less than 2 millions citizens located in the north of Europe on the baltic sea. Recently it has been part of the Soviet Union even if culturally, socially and historically, it has always been more connected to Finnish countries (Somebody told me that Estonian language is similar to Finnish language but I have to ask better about it…)

Estonia map

Estonia regained its independence on August 20, 1991, with the Singing Revolution and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The last Russian troops left on August 31, 1994, and Estonia joined NATO on March 29, 2004 and the European Union on May 1, 2004.

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August 11th, 2006

Welcome to my personal perspective of the real world. This blog comes out from a previous blog called “vicino” that in Italian means “closed to”. As I love travelling and I already have a photo album of my trips, I decided to share something more… and this graphic skin seems to fit perfectly with my idea of observing and depicting the world…