Sunday, 16 September 2018

Tammsaare's 'I Loved a German' (Ma armastasin sakslast) now available in English

If you enjoy the works of Tammsaare and are in need of English translations then you will be thrilled to learn that Ma armastasin sakslast (I loved a German) was recently translated into English. Over the years, many of Tammsaare's novels have been translated into various languages but it has taken 83 years since Ma armastasin sakslast's original publication in Estonian to reach an English audience.

A. H. Tammsaare’s 'I Loved a German' is a gripping love story in which the classic love triangle takes a very untraditional form. The plot is centered around a young Estonian university student who falls in love with Erika, a young Baltic German woman. The Baltic Germans had lost their former aristocratic position in society since Estonia declared its independence. The young German earns her keep as a tutor for an Estonian family, and is not economically well-off. The young man, Oskar, starts courting the girl frivolously, but then falls head-over-heels in love with her.

Before long, the prejudice that an Estonian and a Baltic German are of socially unequal standings starts to haunt the couple. When Oskar goes to ask Erika’s grandfather – a former manor lord – for the girl’s hand, the meeting leaves a deep impression on his soul. All of a sudden, Oskar finds himself wondering if perhaps he doesn’t love the woman in Erika, but rather her grandfather; meaning, her noble descent. Perhaps the 'slave’s blood' of farmhands who had been in the service of Baltic Germans for centuries is manifested in his love, instead?

Anton Hansen Tammsaare is one of Estonia's most beloved authors. His novel Truth and Justice is considered Estonia's best novel of all time. I loved a German can be purchased online at the Wordery: I Loved a German

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

World Cleanup Day 2018

One day. One planet. One goal. Millions of people in 150 countries will unite on Saturday to clean up our world, in the biggest civic action in human history. World Cleanup Day is a great Estonian initiative!

The movement was born 10 years ago in Estonia, when 4% of the population came out to clean the entire country of illegally dumped waste, in a matter of hours. This captured the imaginations of people worldwide, who were inspired to follow suit with the same ambitious ‘one country, one day’ formula.

As Estonia celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, World Cleanup Day 2018 is the country’s gift to the world.

For more information please refer to the official website:

Sailing a Sauna from Helsinki to Tallinn!

This is not something you see every day!

Monday, 27 August 2018

A look at Tartu railway station

One of the things I enjoy doing the most when in Estonia is visiting the places my family used to frequent when they lived there. Much has changed in the country since the 1940s but many things have remained the same or improved in some way. I love visiting places like Maiasmokk Cafe, The Raeapteek and St.Olaf Church. Places I have a connection to which still stand today. 

I love old railway stations with their timber interiors and old world charms. For me they represent the Golden Age of the railways. Unfortunately, too many stations throughout the world have become too modernised or get demolished and replaced with ugly glass structures. They lose their character. However, this is not the case in Tartu station. It has been refurbished and maintains many of its original features.

Tartu railway station was established in 1876 when the Tapa–Tartu route was created. The station building was opened in 1877.

The station consists of  two platforms with lengths of 260m and 330m.

The station has received a complete overhaul and was re-opened to passengers in 2012.

High ceilings with beautiful timber interiors.

Services from Tallinn to Tartu are operated by Elron. The journey takes approximately two hours. 

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Victims of Communism Memorial opened in Tallinn

On 23 August, the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, a new Communism memorial was opened in Tallinn.  The memorial lists the names of more than 22,000 people who lost their lives under the communist regime, the majority of them perished far from home, and are buried in unmarked graves. The memorial is located in the Tallinn's Maarjamäe area.

In the summer of 1940, Estonia's military elite and the heroes of the War of Independence were the first to fall victim to Soviet terror. The Red Army then systematically destroyed the fabric of the Republic of Estonia by robbing it of its statehood and defenders.

The Victims of Communism Memorial was built to coincide with Estonia's centenary. It consists of two parts: "The Journey" and "Home Garden." The first consists of a memorial corridor inscribed with the names of more than 22,000 victims. This corridor represents the mercilessness and brutality of the totalitarian regime. The "Home Garden" represents peace and safety, it includes a park with apple trees and bees along the parkside wall.

The wall is inscribed with famous lines from the Juhan Liiv poem "Ta lendab mesipuu poole," (He flies towards the beehive) likening Estonians to bees returning to their hive:

"Ja langevad teele tuhanded
veel koju jõuavad tuhanded
ja viivad vaeva ja hoole
ja lendavad mesipuu poole."

Every family in Estonia lost someone due to the Soviet occupation. Mine was no exception. Lest we forget.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

ERSP - The Estonian National Independence Party

As the Soviet Union was a single-party state ruled by the Communist Party, the mere idea that there could be other parties was inconceivable. Yet in August 1988, the first alternative party in the USSR was founded – the Estonian National Independence Party. Watch this short film to learn more about this historic event that took place 30 years ago!