Friday, 9 December 2016

The Guardian: 10 of the best winter city breaks in Europe picked by readers

Great to see Tallinn on the list! It comes as no surprise however, Tallinn is absolutely stunning during the winter months. In a few short weeks I'll be there myself, enjoying the winter splendour! Can't wait!

To read the full Guardian list of the best places to visit this Christmas, please click here:
10 of the best winter city breaks in Europe: readers’ travel tips

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

2017 Grammy nominees include multiple Estonians I ERR News

Estonian conductor Tõnu Kaljuste

The nominees for the 59. Grammy Awards were published on Tuesday, and upon closer inspection the list included both better- and lesser-known Estonian names and involved an Estonian music label, a number of Estonian musical ensembles and works by an Estonian composer as well.

Nominated in both the Album of the Year and Best Country Album categories is "A Sailor's Guide to Earth" by Sturgill Simpson, whose guitarist is Estonian Laur Joamets.

Nominated in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category is Christopher Theofanidis' "Bassoon Concerto," performed by Martin Kuuskmann, Barry Jekowsky and the Northwest Sinfonia, from the album "Bassoon Concertos - Theofanidis, Hummel, Mozart," released by Estonian Record Productions.

Nominated in the Best Classical Compendium category is conductor Tõnu Kaljuste's "Gesualdo," performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and including two works by Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür.

Nominated in the Best Orchestral Performance is "Ibert: Orchestral Works," performed by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under the conduction of Neeme Järvi.

A full list of the categories and their 2017 nominees can be found here. The 59. Grammy Awards will take place on Feb. 12, 2017.

Source: ERR News 2017 Grammy nominees include multiple Estonians

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Estonia ranked 3rd in the world in the latest OECD PISA education survey

Estonian education is among the best in the world, up to 3rd place globally and ranked No.1 in Europe. The OECD’s PISA 2015 tested around 540,000 15-year-old students in 72 countries and economies on science, reading, maths and collaborative problem-solving. The main focus was on science, an increasingly important part of today’s economy and society.

The top OECD countries are Singapore, Japan, Estonia, Finland and Canada.

This is an excellent result for Estonia!  To find out more, please click here.

Monday, 5 December 2016

It's always great to hear from readers!

Last week I received a lovely email from Joanne Mullen who wrote to say how much she enjoyed reading my blog.  I always really appreciate it when readers take the time to get in touch and give me feedback. It always makes my day!

Thank you so much Joanne for you kind words!

Joanne: -
'I love your wonderful blog!

I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful work you put into your blog on Estonia.  It's consistently well written, interesting and your passion for the country shines through in every word.  You probably don't get enough thanks for it, so I just wanted to say a personal thank you!'

Monday, 28 November 2016

Rakvere produces another outstanding Christmas tree

In recent years the city of Rakvere has become famous for its annual Christmas tree. This year creative minds joined forces once more to produce another finely crafted Christmas tree resembling the Eiffel Tower. The tree made form spruce features many gears and cogs enabling it to move and change colour. 

Delfi News has released a video and photo gallery for you to learn more: Rakvere Christmas Tree

Friday, 25 November 2016

A pleasant weekend in Tallinn

I last visited Estonia in early September. I was there during the Tallinn Marathon weekend and managed to catch up with a few relatives, do a bit of shopping as well as watch some of the events. It was nice being in Tallinn whilst the marathon was on as the city was teeming with activity. As I walked through the streets I kept hearing announcements spoken in Estonian on the loud speaker, (not something I hear everyday) and it just made me feel good. It was a really nice weekend away.

Tallinn Marathon . Freedom Square.

Whenever I visit Tallinn I like to do something new. Over the years I have explored many wonderful places but there is still so much to see. For example, I have walked past the Town Hall building dozens of times but have never gone inside.  This time I did and it was well worth the visit.

Inside Tallinn's Town Hall

Tallinn's Town Hall building contains many finely crafted items such as tapestries, paintings 
and ornate wooden furniture. Really stunning.

Old meeting room.

Old visitors books. Tzar Nicholas II is mentioned.

St. Nicholas church is another place I  had yet to explore properly I have photographed the exterior of the building so many times yet never went inside. I can now tick that off my 'to do' list.

Now officially a museum, St. Nicholas church contains some of Estonia's 
most precious works of art. 

No trip to Tallinn is complete without a visit to Fat Margaret Tower and it's another one of those places I have walked past and photographed countless times yet never went inside. I made a point of doing so during this trip.

Fat Margaret Tower is now part of the Estonian Maritime Museum.
For a small fee visitors can explore the multi level museum then walk up to 
the roof level and gain a great view of the city and port.

I have visited the Danish King's Garden several times over the years but it was only recently that I became aware of its history. According to legend, this is the spot where the Danish flag fell from the sky during Danish invasion in 1219. This event turned the course of the battle in favour of King Valdemar II.

The Danish King's Garden is famous for its monk sculptures.

Interesting fact: every year on 15 July, Dannebrog or the Day of the Danish Flag 
is celebrated in the garden.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Primary school education in Estonia ranked eighth best in the world

According to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, Estonia’s primary education system ranks eighth in the world.

The Global Competitiveness Report looks at data on different areas in almost every country on earth and then compiles the data into a picture of the economy for those countries. Then, they are ranked according to the 12 pillars of competitiveness, which include health and primary education, the macro-economic environment, the efficiency of the labour market, infrastructure, and so on.

To read the full Estonian World article, please click here: