Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Summer Days

Our office took the weekend off and went to Saaremaa for our summer days. 85 of us packed into a bus and cars and went to party. The first beers were cracked open about 1 minute after the bus had left and it didn't stop until the bus pulled back into Tallinn. We played a bunch of games and got some free rain jackets (which came in handy). We had a couple of bands and a DJ, I ended up passing out in my bed about 3am. All in all an enjoyable weekend.

The SkypeMobile.
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A number of people decided to bike from the ferry to the campsite. Ott said it was suppose to be 50km but was more like 76km. His punishment for the error was a shot for every km over his estimate.
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We arrive!
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We played of volleyball and sported our new rain jackets.
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We played a game that involved running to a pole, spinning around the pole 10 times and running back, very disorienting. Doesn't help that most us had been drinking for 5+ hours already.
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The bigger they are...
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Asko belting out the tunes.
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Band from Riga, they were pretty good.
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Saturday Night Fever staring Priidu Zilmer.
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Monday, August 22, 2005

This past weekend Liisa and I went to her dad's cottage on Saaremaa. We left the city at 4:30pm thinking the 1 hour drive would get us to the ferry in time to beat most of the rush. If you've evere taken the ferry and not been able to book ahead you realize how naive we were. When we got there the line up was sooo long. We ended up waiting 3+ hours before getting on the ferry and it took us almost 8 hours to get to the cottage. Even worse, when we got on the ferry the line up had grown to about 6 hours long! The ferries here are so mismanaged and the government sponsors a private company that runs it, essentially it's a big, corrupt mess. Thankfully we only had to wait 2 hours to get back on Sunday.

Overall though the weekend was great, amazing weather. Liisa' cousin Taavi was there as well with a couple of his friends, nice relaxing weekend with some swimming, sauna action and a couple of cold beers.

Next weekend I'm going back to Saaremaa, but this time it's for Skype Summer Days. :-)

The tip of the iceberg. This was at the end when on the ferry but the line up stretched a number of kilometers back.
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Liisa and her cousin Taavi relaxing on the couch.
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Liisa' cousin Taavi and his friends.
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The Baltic and some hay a couple hundred meters from the cottage.
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A nice flower growing on a rock.
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Apparently cars driving off into the water is a problem here.
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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Os in Town.

So today was a bit strange, my friend Osvaldo (Os) from U of T happened to be in Helsinki on his way to Prague for a floorball tournament (don't ask) let me know that he'd come down and see me for the day. So he and a his friend Chris (who turns out to have a esto connection himself) came this morning by ferry from Helsinki. We didn't have much time so I tried to give them as much of a Tallinn experience as possible. We did the traditional touristy things for a couple of hours, hit the pancake house (you know what I'm talking about), came by my apartment, drank some Gin Long in the park and had a beer in Raekoja. Essentially we packed a week's worth of tourist life into 5 hours.

I would have never imagined that Os would make it this way but I am really happy he did. He managed to find some time from his busy life at CIBC to come and visit an old friend. Now for those friends who haven't been here yet (you know who you are) what the hell are you waiting for? I'm taking bookings for next summer already, I've become quite the tour guide since I came here.

Thanks Os (and Chris), it was a fun day.

Os (scared silly) and Chris up top Oleviste Kirik.
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Os and I doing the tourist thing in Raekoja.
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I introduce Os and Chris to Gin Long, as usual they love it.
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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Comments on rainy Saturday

So first off, the weather in Estonia sucks. Summer lasted about 3 weeks and the past week has been cool and rainy. I know everyone in Toronto is complaining about the crippling heat but I could really go for a couple of days of 30C weather compared to the pouring rain and 20C we have here. Not being able to go outside and do things really reduces the number of activities around here.

Today I realized how spread out people are. I spent some time this morning talking to Arlen in Australia, Alexis in Toronto and then reading Dan's blog from Japan. Our group of friends has done a damn good job seeing the world. Combined our small group of friends has managed to see every continent (minus the cold one) and who knows how many countries.

Make sure you check out Arlen and Dan's blogs (thanks Lex for pointing that one out seeing as Dan didn't let anyone know about it.)

Dan's Blog
Arlen's Blog

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Narva & Narva-Jõesuu

This weekend we drove out to the eastern border of Estonia. Narva is about 2.5 hours from Tallinn and is right across the river from Russia. The town and the area was completely destroyed in WWII and is now 95% Russian speaking. There isn't a whole lot of interesting things to see or do there. An old church, some rebuild forts and if you're looking for a meal McDonalds is about the only thing worth checking out. From there we drove north along the river to Narva-Jõesuu which is where some of Liisa's relatives where originally from. It's actually quite a nice beach town, water was warm and there were lot's of people about. Now I've seen almost of all of Estonia, just the south east corner and eastern border have yet to be conquered.

The shell of the old lutheran church which is slowly being renovated. Posted by Picasa

Interior of the church Posted by Picasa

The forts in Narva and Ivangorod. Posted by Picasa

Liisa and the Swedish Lion Posted by Picasa

Board Guards patrol the river between Russia and Estonia Posted by Picasa

Cemetary where some of Liisa's relatives are buried. Posted by Picasa

The beach in Narva-J�esuu, everything east of here is Russian beach Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 05, 2005

Weekend and Beyond

Tomorrow I'm off to Narva and Narva-Joesuu which is all the way on the eastern edge of Estonia, next to Russia. Haven't been out that way so it should be interesting to see. A very Russian area of the country, I'll post some pics Sunday night.

I've also booked my ticket home for Christmas (I know it's only August, but flights are cheap booked this far in advance). I'll be in Toronto from Dec. 15th until Jan 2nd. So be sure to be in town so that I can see everyone.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What I'm listening to.

When Nick and Dal were around we discussed our musical tastes a bit. I've been on a binge of downloading since I moved here for some reason. So here's some stuff that I've really been listening to a lot lately. Feel free to comment if there's something you think I should pick up (or download):

- Anything by Elliott Smith or Ryan (not Bryan) Adams
- My Morning Jacket: It still moves
- Bright Eyes: I'm wide awake, it's morning
- Aesop Rock: Fast Cars Danger Fire And Knives
- Ocean Colour Scene: Anthology
-The Go-Betweens: Oceans Apart
-The White Stripes latest album
-Antony and the Jonsons: I am a bird now
-Nick Cave: Abattoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus
-Jim WhiteDrill a Hole in That Substrate and Tell Me What You See