Monday, 13 August 2018
Happy Left Handers' Day! I only recently discovered that there is actually a special day for this and since I am left handed myself, I thought I might mention it. I quite like the fact that I am left handed as I have no problem being a little bit different from everyone else. I enjoy the fact that I am creative, someone who thinks outside of the box and can multi-task with ease. It comes naturally.
A few years ago while I was in Tallinn I had a fascinating encounter with some of my relatives. I was sitting in a cafe with my third cousin Natalja and her daughter Katriin when we all simutaneously picked up our spoons and began stirring our coffee's at the same time. This in itself was no big deal until Natalja pointed out that we were all doing it with our left hands! I had no idea they were both left handed. I was truly amazed! Not even in my immediate family is anyone left handed, apart from one uncle, so to realise this was truly amazing. Natalja is the grand-daughter of my grandfather's cousin Ralf which shows this gene is particularly strong in that side of the family. I was delighted to discover this!
A few facts about left handed people:
1. Make up roughly 12% of the population.
2. Use the right side of the brain the most.
3. Better at 3D perception and thinking.
4. Better at multi-tasking.
5. Have good leadership qualities.
6. Left-handed people are often quite athletic, roughly 40% of the top tennis players are lefties.
Left-handed people tend to make more use of the right side of their brains.
Famous left handed people:
Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Leonardo da Vinci, Mozart,
Albert Einstein, Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama,
Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe, Keanu Reeves, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Prince William are all left handed too..
For more information, please refer to the official website Happy Left Handers Day!
Thursday, 9 August 2018
Pure food comes from a clean environment. Our nature inspires our food industry to produce clean and nutritious products. This is the slogan for Estonian food industry: fresh air, clean water, pure food. Now the claim is backed up by a recent EU study.
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) 2017 study which looked into residual pesticides, Estonia has the second cleanest food in Europe.
The percentage of residual pesticides in Estonian food is over two times less than the EU average (18% vs 42,1%), only bettered by our good Nordic neighbours Finland.
Pure food comes from a clean environment. According to World Health Organisation Estonia is ranked fourth by urban air quality. Over half of our territory is covered with forests of which 45 percent are organic collection areas. Our nature inspires our food industry to produce clean and nutritious products.
Our climatic location also gives us an advantage. Most plant pests do not survive sub-zero winter temperatures, so in a way cold is our best pesticide. It means, we do not have to use strong insecticides common in tropical climates.
Source: Estonia has 2nd cleanest food in Europe. For more information, please click on the EFSA website: https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/180725
Monday, 6 August 2018
The Estonian film Viimne Reliikvia (The Last Relic) is a cult classic. The film was produced in 1969 and in 2000 the Estonian Film Foundation declared Viimne Reliikvia to be an important part of Estonian cultural heritage. In 2002 the film was digitalised and once again became a bestseller and usually appears on Estonian television at least once a year.
For those seeking to learn Estonian, these clips from the film may help you with your meeting and greetings.
Friday, 3 August 2018
During the 100th anniversary year of the Republic of Estonia, the country will celebrate re-independence day with a week of summer celebrations from August 17 to 25.
The Grand Celebration Week will start on August 17 with the first poetry festival in Rakvere and will conclude on August 25 with a night of ancient bonfires.
One of the highlights of the week will be the global sing-along on August 19, that will bring together people from various parts of the world to sing the songs they love. Tour d'ÖÖ (“Tour of the Night”) is also holding a cycling tour during the centenary year, which will encircle all of Estonia during the Grand Celebration Week. For more information, please refer to the official web site: https://www.ev100.ee/en/
Thursday, 2 August 2018
On Saturday Tallinn will become the second European capital after Copenhagen to host a full-distance Ironman triathlon event, attracting thousands of foreigners to the Estonian capital for a five-day sporting event programme.
"At least 3,000 foreigners will be coming to Tallinn for the week to either compete or cheer on [the triathletes], taking part in the inaugural Ironman Tallinn triathlon and other events," chief event organiser Ain-Alar Juhanson said at an event press conference on Monday according to a press release. "Everyone is welcome to come cheer on [the participants]! Tallinn and Estonia will become konwn as an Ironman competition location, and in addition to international recognition as a capital of sports, the Ironman taking place here will have a huge economic impact."
"Hosting the Ironman Tallinn competition is an incredible opportunity for a variety of reasons — a new and huge international sporting event is coming to Tallinn which will introduce the city of Tallinn and Estonia to the entire world," said Tallinn Deputy Mayor Vadim Belobrovtsev. "Organising a triathlon is likewise a new experience, but all obstacles thus far have been resolved in cooperation with various organisations and partners."
Juhanson said that the triathlon competition routes were planned so as to impact locals' everyday lives as little as possible. He noted that not a single public transport route would be suspended, but that ten stops in the city would be temporarily relocated.
Locals have also been ensured that they will be guaranteed access to and from their homes even along the race route, but organisers are asking visitors and residents alike to take into account when planning that movement through and around route areas may be slow or delayed due to changes in traffic patterns as well as passing competitors.
One Ironman competition, days of events
On Saturday, 4 August, more than 1,400 athletes from over 50 countries will compete in the full-length Ironman Tallinn triathlon, swimming a single loop of 3.8 km in Tallinn Bay, biking two loops west of the capital city and back totalling 180 km and running four loops totalling 42.2 km through Tallinn's medieval Old Town before finishing in Freedom Square.
The main event will be preceded on Wednesday, 1 August by Pom'bel Ironkids children's competitions and Friday, 3 August by the Seve Ehitus 4.2 km charity run and followed on Sunday, 5 August by the Telia 4:18:4 triathlon.
From 1-5 August, a competition centre and sports market will be open to athletes and visitors in Tallinn's Freedom Square.
Tuesday, 31 July 2018
Friday, 27 July 2018
XXV Viljandi Folk Music Festival 26-29 July 2018
It's that time of year again when people travel near and far to attend the Viljandi Folk Festival. The four day event is held in the centre of Viljandi in the castle park and showcases Estonia's cultural identity through music. Much emphasis is placed on values, traditions, heritage and local identity and seeks to adapt spiritual values collected over centuries and millennia with modern life – all of which keeps traditions alive and in doing so strengthens our national character.
Viljandi Folk Music Festival has become one of the largest festivals of its kind in the Baltic and Nordic countries.
For more information, please refer to the official website: https://www.viljandifolk.ee/en/
Thursday, 26 July 2018
The two bear cubs who appeared in a Saaremaa backyard last Thursday evening have been found and returned to the mainland of Estonia, where they're presumed to have come from.
As reported on ERR, the cubs, whose mother was nowhere to be seen, seemed quite accustomed to humans and ate freely out of jars of food and even people's hands, after being attracted to a backyard at Lii village, where a family was having a barbecue.
Opinion was divided on whether the cubs were old enough to survive in the wild on their own and there were several theories about how they had got to the island and what had happened to their mother.
On Wednesday evening they made another appearance at the village of Küdema, about 15km from Lii village. Estonian Rescue Board personnel were called and after a struggle lasting several hours, were captured.
The cubs were then taken by ferry to the mainland, a journey which went without any hitches according to Saaremaa region Rescue Board manager Margus Lindmäe, and were released in a 'large forest' somewhere on the mainland.
A full report and footage of the bear cubs and their return to the mainland is due to be shown on ETV's current affairs show 'Aktuaalne Kaamera' on Thursday evening.
There are at least 500 brown bears in Estonia, though largely on the mainland. Bears have very occasionally been spotted on Saaremaa, the largest offshore Estonian island, in the past.
Source: ERR News Saaremaa bear cubs caught, released on mainland
Tuesday, 24 July 2018
Estonia has many splendid manor houses but it is not every day that one comes on the market at a great price. Konovere Manor has been recently reduced and available at the bargain price of just 677,000€.
Konovere Manor is located in central Estonia in Rapla county which is about 70 km from Tallinn and 50 km from Pärnu. The property has been renovated and consists of ten bedrooms with spacious rooms, high ceilings and ornate fireplaces. The main building is 684m², with an ancillary building of 253m² plus barn and stables. The estate is just over 22 hectare.
Konovere Manor offers much appeal for anyone seeking a beautiful home in the Estonian countryside. For more information, please click here: Konovere mõis, Konuvere küla
Saturday, 21 July 2018
Friday, 13 July 2018
Eneko García-Amezaga is a world traveller and has produced a series of videos of some of the most interesting places he has seen. He was recently in Estonia and completed an 11-day road trip, driving 2,200 Km around the country. He visited Tallinn, Paldiski, Haapsalu, Hiiumaa and Saaremaa Islands, Matsalu National Park, Pärnu, Soomaa NP, Viljandi, Põltsamaa, Võrtsjärv lake, Otepää, Sangaste, Valga, Võru, Rõuge, Suur Munamägi, Tartu, Mustvee, Lake Peipus, Kuremäe, Narva, Narva-Jõesuu, Ontika, Rakvere and Lahemaa National Park. The result of his adventure is this wonderful video - enjoy!
Thursday, 5 July 2018
Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson and Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner made the world's first 5G video call on 27th June 2018 using the Elisa telecommunications network. The 5G video phone call used a 3.5 GHz frequency and was 10 times faster than mobile internet.
To learn more about 5G technology, please click here: https://www.elisa.ee/et/elisast/5g
Monday, 2 July 2018
While the world is currently football crazy over the world Cup, I thought I'd take a moment to pause and take a look at Estonia's national team. It would be great to one day see them play in the Wold Cup tournament.
Here are 12 facts about Estonia's national football team:
1. Estonia's first international football match was held against Finland in 1920 ending in a 6–0 defeat.
2. Estonia has only competed once in the Olympic Games. That was in 1924.
3. After Estonia regained it's independence in 1991, it's first FIFA recognised match was against Slovenia on 3 June 1992. The match was held in Tallinn resulting in a 1–1 draw.
4. Estonia has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup or UEFA European Championship.
5. In 2012 Estonia reached the UEFA Euro qualifying play-offs, later losing to Ireland.
6. Ever two years Estonia participates in the Baltic Cup championship. Estonia has won the tournament 3 times.
7. The team's biggest win took place in Tallinn on 26 July 1928 with a 6–0 win against Lithuania.
8. Their biggest defeat was on 11 August 1922 with a 10–2 loss to Finland.
9. Andres Oper holds the record for most goals (38).
10. Martin Reim holds the record for the most caps (157).
11 Ragnar Klavan is team captain.
12. Estonia's current FIFA ranking is 94. In 2012 it was 47.
Thursday, 28 June 2018
While Germany grieves over their shock exit at the World Cup, let's think about something a bit more pleasant and remember the time when Estonian goalkeeper Mart Poom did that amazing goal back in 2007. It was a game in English football, Sunderland v Derby County when the match went into one minute of overtime. Sunderland was one down and Poom comes to support the team with their last attack and brilliantly scores!
Mart Poom is currently goalkeeping coach for the Estonian national side and was voted the greatest Estonian player of the last 50 years. He's considered a legend in his old English Club, Derby County.
Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Friday, 22 June 2018
For Jaanipäev, Estonians love to head to the islands to party! Saaremaa is a popular choice and the queue at the port can often be a long wait but for two observers it can be a bit of fun. This short film by Aleksandr Heifets and Jaak Kilmi won the 1st Place Award at the EstDocs Short Film Competition in 2016.
Tuesday, 19 June 2018
Estonian Saunas recently published an article of the steps involved to make sauna whisks. Just in time for Jaanipäev, now is the time to head to the forest and make your own!
Birch is the most common tree to use for making whisks followed by oak and juniper.
Sauna whisks are called viht or vihad (plural) in Estonian.
Step 1: Collect the branches after spring when the leaves are fresh, but also when they have grown long enough to reach their biological maturity.
Step 2: Carefully gather your forest materials. Avoid those that are toxic or too thorny.
Step 3: Tie the bundles. In order to get the right ‘candle flame’ shape, take branches of roughly the same size and focus on ensuring the tops are lined up, not the bottoms that will be trimmed later anyway. Where branches bend, point them into the centre of the whisk so that it forms a solid shape. At the bottom, make sure that you pull leafs away to keep a clear handle.
Step 4: Preserving the whisks. This can be done three ways - drying, freezing and salting.
Step 5: Beat it. Use the whisks! Fresh whisks are best. For your preserved whisks, the best technique to prepare them for use is to fill a sauna bucket with cold water and then submerge it for an hour. After that, take it into the sauna and submerge it into hot water. If you are sure of time though, submerging it one for 20 minutes in hot water is good enough.
To read the full Estonian Saunas article, please click here: Here’s how sauna whisks are made in the forests of Estonia
Estonia swept the podium at the 2018 European Fencing Championships in Novi Sad, Serbia on Monday, where Katrina Lehis, 23, was crowned European champion of the women's epee, while Kristina Kuusk, 23, took the silver and Julia Beljajeva, 25, took the bronze. What a fantastic result!
Click here to read the full ERR News article: Estonia sweeps European epee championship
Friday, 15 June 2018
Construction work for the planned Mündriku Residence flats in the Põhja-Tallinn neighbourhood of Kalamaja has unearthed thousands of artifacts from the Middle Ages, ranging from chess pieces to leather shoes.
"Of the entire property, only the first section has been explored, and the amount is unbelievable," Sirle Matteus, design manager at YIT Eesti, told ERR's Novaator, adding that this was the largest collection of medieval finds yet discovered in one place.
A preliminary archaeological study had been conducted at the time the building permit for the property located at Väike-Patarei 1/Jahu 6 was sought, but nothing extraordinary had been found there at the time.
Thus it was surprising when valuable items began turning up as construction work began at the site in April. "Archaeologists discovered the layer of interest in April," the design manager recalled. "It was previously thought that this had been completely destroyed in the course of previous construction work. As it turned out, this layer was in fact intact. And that was just the beginning."
Since then, more than 10,000 items have been catalogued, despite the fact that by mid-June, only half of the 6,850-square-metre property has been dug through.
Of particular interest have been the discovery of wooden items. "Wood typically decomposes in the environment, but for some reason the conditions were favourable at this property and wooden items have been well preserved as well," Matteus explained.
A couple dozen archaeologists are continuing to work on the site, and cooperating with them are a number of specialists from across Estonia helping to identify and date the items. Specialists are also helping store and conserve the artifacts as well.
Items found at the site so far include: chess pieces, dice, arrowheads, cannonballs, religious-themed items, dishes, spoons, writing instruments, various tools, including knives, hats, a comb, and leather shoes for men, women and children that were primarily made of leather, without a heel and with pointed toes.
Excavation work at the site is expected to wrap up by the end of summer.
Source: ERR NEWS Thousands of medieval artifacts unearthed at Kalamaja construction site
Kaisa Pitsi entered her film “Ode to Kringel” in the 2012 EstDocs Short Film Competition in Canada. The film received an honourable mention and inspired many viewers to go home and bake a kringle of their own. Let's see what delights will feature in this year's competition!
Thursday, 14 June 2018
From 14 - 17 June 1941 the occupying Soviet forces deported over 10,000 people from Estonia. These people were forcibly removed from their homes, loaded into cattle wagons and sent to remote parts of Russia. Among the victims were over 7,000 women, children and elderly people. Over 6000 Estonians were murdered or perished in the harsh conditions in Siberia.
May we never forget this Soviet atrocity.
The first deportation raid began on the night of 13 June and early morning of 14 June. Families who had gone to bed on Friday night had no inkling to the hardship that was about to befall them. They were woken up in the dead of night by the sound of pounding on their doors. Armed Soviet soldiers read out a decree declaring them to be under arrest and subject to deportation without any legal process or court ruling. All their property was declared to be subject to seizure. They were given an hour to pack.
A few hours after the start of the deportation the first trucks began arriving at railroad cars waiting on sidings. Altogether 490 cattle cars had been set aside for that purpose. The search for persons subjected to arrest or deportation continued until the morning of 16 June. Those carrying out the deportations behaved with extraordinary cruelty: even pregnant women and seriously ill elderly people were packed into overcrowded stock-cars. Thousands perished as a result, never to see their families or beloved homeland again.
Estonia lost approximately 20% of its population due to WWII and the Soviet occupation.
The wait is finally over. It's World Cup time once again. Those past four years certainly flew by in a blink of an eye. Here we go once again...
One day it would be great to see Estonia compete in the World Cup Tournament. If Iceland can do it with a population of just 300,000 then surely Estonia can manage it too.
If you happen to be in Russia during the coming weeks may I suggest a stopover or detour to Estonia. Estonia is absolutely beautiful this time of year. You won't be disappointed!
Good luck and may the best team win!
Monday, 11 June 2018
Wednesday, 6 June 2018
I just discovered this and thought I'd share.
1. Four-member teams can participate.
2. Supplies (yarn, thread, knitting project bags) will be provided by organizers.
3. Each team have one knitting project which will be handed over from one competitor to another.
4. Every team-member walks a track about 100 meters long, while knitting with five double pointed needles no 2 mm.
5. Before the start cast 40 stitches, distribute stitches on four needles and knit the first round.
6. The yarn ball is kept in a knitting project bag, hanging on competitors wrist. The bag will be handed over from one competitor to another as well.
7. The prize goes to the team that can work on as many rounds as possible, the quality of work and finish time are important as well.
8. Walking is the only correct way to go through the distance. Running or standing on one spot will cause the loss of points.
For more information, please click here: Walk & Knit Olympics
Tuesday, 5 June 2018
Following a 12-year absence, the 18th Baltic Students' Song and Dance Festival "Gaudeamus" is set to return to Estonia's university town of Tartu just in time for Midsummer, bringing with it over 4,000 performers from across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The three-day festival will kick off on 22 June with a public performance of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" on the banks of the Emajõgi River, reported daily Postimees.
On Midsummer's Eve, 23 June, the festival will continue with a late-night dance festival at Tamme Stadium, with a program combining folk and modern dance.
On Midsummer's Day, 24 June, the main focus will be on the song festival at the Tartu Song Festival Grounds, which will feature men's, women's and mixed choirs from all three Baltic countries.
The entire program this year, which includes additional free, public shows and performances throughout the city, is focused on the summer equinox and will feature elements of ancient and modern Midsummer traditions alike from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The first ever Gaudeamus festival took place in Tartu in 1956. The most recent took place in Daugavpils, Latvia in 2014.
Monday, 4 June 2018
Today is National Flag Day in Estonia! The Estonian Students’ Society adopted blue, black and white as the colours of their student fraternity on 4 June 1884. On this day we celebrate the 134th anniversary of the consecration of our beautiful flag!
A special ceremony was held at Pikk Hermann Tower this morning. Photos of the event can be seen via the ERR News website. Gallery: Estonia celebrates 134th birthday of national flag with ceremony
Now that May has finished it has been officially confirmed as the hottest in Estonia for at least fifty years.
The outstandingly warm temperatures were caused by an unusual flow of air from west to east, which separated the colder air in arctic regions from the warmer air characteristic of lower latitudes.
Usually at this time of year low pressure areas from the Atlantic move into Estonia, bringing damper, windier and less sunny conditions than has been the case.
This year however that system is moving at higher latitudes than normal, and northern Europe has been dominated by blocking high pressure areas of warm air. In a further inversion of the norm, southern and eastern parts of Europe have been experiencing low pressure areas, with thunderstorms and even hail in places.
The situation is forecast to continue through June as well, with blocking high pressure areas keeping average temperatures three to five degrees higher than normal for the time of year.
Whilst welcome in most quarters, the record-breaking May weather means there is a greater fire hazard in forested areas than is usual.
Source: ERR News May hottest in Estonia in over half a century
Thursday, 31 May 2018
Once again I had the pleasure of visiting Estonia this year. My sister and her family were visiting from Australia and naturally she wanted to include a trip to our ancestral homeland. We spent a wonderful week in Estonia, dividing our time between Tallinn and Tartu. We had fantastic weather each and every day of our stay - beautiful blue sky and not a drop of rain. We couldn't have wished for more.
Although we visited many of our favourite old spots, I did manage to do a few new things including a tour of the new Carved Stone Museum in Tallinn and National Museum in Tartu. The two hour train journey from Tallinn to Tartu was very comfortable. Visiting Nõo was of particular importance to us as our family used to live at Luke Manor and were born inside the steward's house. It was from Luke that my family made the move to Tallinn during the mid 1800s with many of them pursuing careers as pharmacists.
Here are some photo highlights of my trip.
The Estonian Parliament building and Pikk Hermann Tower.
City wall near the Danish King's Garden.
The new Carved Stone Museum
Located within the Bastion Passages Tallinn.
Europe's oldest pharmacy - The Raeapteek.
A new touch screen computer reveals old Raeapteek documents.
My great-great-grandfather Alexander Lesthal worked as a pharmacist
at the Raeapteek from 1862 - 1865.
Tartu Town Hall.
The University of Tartu.
No trip to Tartu is complete without a meal at the Gunpowder Cellar.
I'm really looking forward to seeing the restoration of the steward's house.
The beauty and tranquility of Luke Manor Park.
The new location of the Estonian National Museum.
Tagurpidi Maja. The Upside Down House Museum is located
across the road from the Estonian National Museum.
And like always, I returned home with a suticase full of Estonian goodies. This time I bought a dozen loaves of delicious rye bread, some new books, commemorative stamps, smoked almonds and Kalev chocolates!
Monday, 21 May 2018
Estonians are proud of their parish colours. They are deeply engrained in our roots, history and culture. Parish colours not only appear in our national costume but are often used in day-to-day items around the home. As part of EV100 celebrations this summer, Estonians are encourage to embrace their parish colours, pick up a paintbrush and get creative! It would be such a joy to see the finished product!
Our ancestors have valued the colours of their parishes and captured them in the skirts of their folk costumes. The arrangement of the stripes is not by chance and the colours also have their own meaning. Much red has been used, which was considered to have magical qualities, healing properties and the ability to ward off evil.
Various colours were obtained from forest plants and flowers, which people of old used to know and distinguish well. Parochial skirts were never similar to others and maintained their specific regional quality. This is also the case with our people, who may not always know their exact parochial origins, but are nevertheless connected to their roots and parentage. Parish colours thereby tell us about our history, origins, beliefs and the influence of local nature, all of which is beautifully recorded in the colours of Estonian folk costume skirts.
For further reading, please click here:
Sunday, 20 May 2018
Tallinn, known for its digital government and successful tech startups, is often referred to as Europe's innovation capital. Now celebrating five years of free public transport for its citizens, the government is planning to make Estonia the first free public transport nation. Allan Alaküla, head of Tallinn European Union Office, shares some valuable insights for other cities.
Estonia to Become the World's First Free Public Transport Nation