Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back in Eesti, briefly.

I spent the past two weeks in Eesti and Sweden on vacation so I'll spend a couple of entries to summarize my short time back in Europe.

The plan was to spend the first week in Saaremaa at Liisa's cottage so I decided to take an uncommon route and flew Toronto-Frankfurt-Stockholm-Kuresaare all in one leg. It was a long day and didn't go as planned thanks to US Airways (more on them in a later post) but leaving Toronto and landing in Kuresaare is quite a world of difference, but once I got there it was well worth the wait. I spent most of the first week simply relaxing by the sea, reading, catching some sun and enjoying Eesti õlu.

Unsurprisingly Saaremaa has changed little since I last visited, aside from a newer airport all seems the same and life goes slowly by. Liisa and I talked about what life would be like living in a place like Lümanda, the next day we got a bit of real life when we went to the local store to buy some milk and other small items. We were the only ones in the store not buying alcohol, it was only 10:30am. It Reform was to actually live up to it's not and make some serious changes they could tackle the drinking problem that exists in Estonia instead of ignoring it and ordering special beers for holidays.

After winding down in Saaremaa we decided to go to Tallinn for a couple of days before heading to Stockholm. Back in Tallinn I immediately headed out to a couple of my favorite haunts for food and drinks. I managed to meet up with some old friends, old colleagues and even some fellow Canadian-Estonians that were in town. There were a number of people I didn't get to see and I apologize for that, I simply had too little time in Tallinn and was there mostly over the holiday long weekend when a lot of people were out of town.

Liisa and I managed to do a couple of touristy things while there, there aren't many things in Tallinn that I haven't seen but we decided to go visit the Bronze Man in his new resting spot (a bit hard to find, much nicer location imo) and also visited the newly opened tunnels under Toompea (very interesting). We also spent some time checking out some of our favorite neighborhoods should we ever decided the real estate market has dropped enough. We caught a modern dance performance at the Kanuti Gildi Saal in Tallinn. Thankfully we knew what we were getting ourselves into so when two naked, middle aged men started dancing around stage (and at one point in the audience) we weren't as shocked as some of the people sitting close to us.

One thing I noticed was the steady price increase on pretty much everything has continued since I left. Prices on certain items (ie. food and beer in restaurants) seems to have risen 30% or more since I moved to Tallinn in 2004. It's at the point now where it's no much cheaper to go out in Tallinn then it is in Toronto, the only big difference is the deplorable service you get in most places in Tallinn (yes, I'm mean you Double Coffee).

I also managed to catch a screening of Signing Revolution, the new documentary about Estonian independence, appropriately on Taasiseseisvumispäev. I'll write more about the film at some later point, it hasn't been release wide as far as I know but if you do get a chance to see it I highly recommend it.

Overall being back in Eesti, albeit for such a short time, was great and I plan on coming back as soon as possible.

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