Monday, 15 October 2018

Tallinn to take part in the Tall Ships Races 2021

To celebrate the 65th year of the Tall Ships Races and Regattas, it was announced that the 2021 route will take place in the Baltic Sea. Between 27 June - 3 August 2021, the international Tall Ships fleet will visit five countries for a series of races and spectacular maritime celebrations.

The Tall Ships Races 2021 offers a total of around 1,500 nautical miles of racing in the Baltic Sea. This region has been a popular sea area with Tall Ships from around the world, with up to 100 vessels taking part in previous Baltic race series.

The event will start on Sunday 27 June and continue through until Tuesday 3 August with three fantastic races and a Cruise-in-Company. The race series will take the Tall Ships to five different ports across five countries – Klaipeda in Lithuania, St Petersburg in Russia, Tallinn in Estonia, Mariehamn in Åland and Szczecin in Poland.

For more information, please click here: THE TALL SHIPS RACES 2021: FIVE PORTS ANNOUNCED

Friday, 12 October 2018

New study reveals Estonians are the world's biggest bookworms

A new study from researchers at the Australian National University and University of Nevada in the US has revealed which countries are the world’s biggest bookworms and Estonia tops the list!

Researchers surveyed adults across 31 countries, between the ages of 25 and 65, and asked them how many books they had in their home when they were 16.

On average Australians owned 148 books per household compared to 114 in the US. In Estonia that number is significantly higher at 218 books per home. Furthermore 35% of those Estonian surveyed revealed they in fact owned 350 books or more.

Estonians top the charts with an average of 218 books per house when they were 16.

We love our books!

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Trailer ‘Coming home soon - The refugee children of Geislingen’

Thousands of Estonians were left displaced after World War Two. Many sought refuge in Germany to escape the horrors of the second Soviet Occupation. Helga Merits' new film Coming Home Soon - the refugee children of Geislingen provides an insight into the plight of the Estonian people as they tried to rebuild their lives.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Happy World Post Day / Postage Stamp Day!

If you are like me and enjoy collecting stamps then you'll be pleased to know that the 9th of October is World Post Day. Eesti Post releases many beautiful Estonian stamps throughout the year including this special silver stamp commemorating the Republic of Estonia's 100th birthday.

All of Eesti Post's stamps can be purchased online and shipped anywhere in the world.

For more information, please click here: Eesti Post

Friday, 5 October 2018

Kehra Mill turns 80

For the past eighty years the paper and pulp mill in Kehra has stood tall, a prominent feature in the small community. In honour of the mill's 80th birthday, Kehra museum has an exhibition running until December 1 on the mill's history. Kehra Mill was established in 1937 and on the 25th August 1938 a new sulfate pulp mill was inaugurated at the plant. President Päts was in attendence on the day as was my great-grandfather Arthur Lestal who took numerous photographs of the event. Many of the photographs on display at the exhibution were taken by Arthur.

Photographs taken by Arthur Lestal at the Kehra Mill in 1938.

People waiting at Kehra railway station for the arrival of President Päts.

Inauguration of the new sulfate pulp mill.

Newspaper articles from the opening in 1938. 

Kehra Mill was originally 100% stated owned until it was purchased by the Tolaram Group of Singapore in 1995. The mill was then renamed “Horizon Pulp & Paper” Ltd.

For more information: Horizon / Kehra Mill

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Teet Daaniel becomes the first Estonian to swim the English Channel / La Manche

On the 27th September 2018 Teet Daaniel completed this third of seven ocean challenges by swimming across The English Channel. Previously he successfully swam across the Strait of Gibraltar from Europe to Africa and the Catalina Channel near Los Angeles. 

Teet left the shores of Dover at 1:30am and swam 34 kilometres to reach France. Battling temperature changes and tides, the challenge took 14 hours to complete.

To learn more, this ERR News report includes video : Teet Daaniel ujus esimese eestlasena üle La Manche'i väina

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Congratulations to Andrei Nazarov and Ksenija Balta who were married in Tallinn today!

Andrei and Ksenija are two of Estonia's finest athletes. They are a winning team both on and off the field. Today they tied the knot in Tallinn with close family and friends.  

Congratulations cousin Andrei! I wish you and your new bride  every happiness in the world!

To see the photo gallery of their special day, please see the Delfi news article:
FOTOD | Hõissa, pulmad! Ksenija Balta ja Andrei Nazarov tegid jumala palge ees oma pikaaegse suhte ametlikuks

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Researchers find last bunker of alleged last Forest Brother - ERR NEWS

Members of a group studying the history of the anti-Soviet resistance movement of the Forest Brothers have apparently found the remains of a bunker in Southeast Estonia they believe to have been the last hiding place of August Sabbe, who was the last known surviving Forest Brother. Sabbe died in 1978.

A group of researchers found Sabbe's last hiding place in Southeast Estonia, following a local tip. The group was set up five years ago with the aim to further study the Forest Brothers movement using archaeological methods.

Archaeologist Mauri Kiudsoo told the Baltic News Service that they found an underground bunker in Estonia's southeast that dates back to the 1970s that is likely to be Forest Brother August Sabbe's last hiding place. Sabbe died when the Soviet authorities tried to arrest him in 1978.

According to Kiudsoo, the underground bunker located on the edge of a former wetland is dug into the sandy ground and well-hidden. Its layout suggests that Sabbe built the bunker on the site of an earlier one, likely dating back to the 1950s.

The bunker the group found couldn't be that old, as plastic and rubber were used to waterproof the bunker's roof. The condition and estimated production years of those materials make it impossible for the structure to have been built any earlier, Kiudsoo said.

The roof of the bunker fell in after a logging tractor hit the building in the mid-1980s. According to Kiudsoo, the archaeologists also discovered a leather wallet under a tin stove inside.

"We will definitely go on exploring the bunker next year," Kiudsoo said.

August Sabbe, born in 1909, is believed to have been the last Forest Brother, surviving and remaining in hiding until the late 1970s. The KGB finally tracked him down as he was fishing on a river shore on 28 September 1978, almost exactly 40 years ago.

Sabbe died trying to escape, drowning in the river. According to some accounts of the event, it is possible that his captors drowned him.

Source: ERR News

Friday, 21 September 2018

New film:"Tuulte tahutud maa” / "The Wind Sculpted Land

The Wind Sculpted Land is a film about Estonian nature. It features flooded meadows, bogs, beautiful coastlines, together with wild animals and flocks of migrating birds that are actually small worlds of their own. The film was made during 2015-2018 and took more than 400 days out in the field filming birds, animals and different landscapes.

The Wind Sculpted Land is a truly magical journey of Estonia´s unique and scenic nature. The film is part of a film programme dedicated to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.

You can watch the trailer below.

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!

Monday, 20 August 2018

Estonia is the most united nation in the world

Last night Estonians from around the world sang together to celebrate 100 years of independence. More than 52,000 people joined the choir online via a special app and thousands gathered at the Song Festival Grounds in Tallinn. It was truly a remarkable events that united all Estonians.

Today we celebrate the Day of Restoration of Independence. 27 years ago Estonia restored its independence. It is a day cherished by all. I only wish my grandparents lived long enough to see their beloved Estonia free again. I will celebrate this day in their honour. Long live Estonia! Elagu Eesti!  

Friday, 17 August 2018

Three books to add to your collection in honour of EV100

Now that Estonia's Grand Celebration Week is underway, it's a good time to take a look at some quality keepsakes to mark the occasion. During my last trip to Estonia in May I purchased all three of these books. They make an excellent addition to any Estonian's home.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, TEA Publishers has produced the ultimate Estonian reference book. Republic of Estonia 100 is a comprehensive encyclopaedia containing everything that defines and characterises Estonia. The book is divided into 6 chapters with a general introductory chapter followed by History, Population, Nature, Economy and Culture. The 160-page hardcover volume provides an overview of how the Republic of Estonia was created, how it lost its independence, what life was like in exile and in occupied Estonia, as well as how independence was restored. 

Republic of Estonia 100 is illustrated with more than 1,000 new and historic photographs and numerous maps, charts and tables. Over 250 authors, compilers, editors, consultants and illustrators contributed to the production of this book. Copies of Republic of Estonia 100 are available in both Estonian and English.

If you take pride in your parish colours then you are sure to find this book interesting. Eesti Kihelkondade Värvid was written by Reet Piiri from the Estonian National Museum. The book is a great reference tool for sourcing parish colours and makes it easy to get the tones right by providing all the colour codes.  Great for all craft projects!

Estonians have a deep connection to nature and the forest which is why it has a strong presence in Estonian folklore. Tales of  supernatural beings, crafty animals and people living in the forest have entertained Estonians for generations. In honour of the Republic of Estonia's 100th birthday, Deep in the Forest has been published in English and features a collection of 100 fairytales relating to the forest. Many of the fairytales that appear in the book were written in the mid to late 1800s and are an enjoyable read.  I highly recommend!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Special Event - Estonia 100 Grand Celebration Week - August 20

Põlvest põlve - from generation to generation.

Open-air performance ‘Saja-aastane öö’.

Time: 20 August at 10 p.m.
Place: Pärnu Vallikäär
Entrance: Free

The performance features folk dancers, musicians, acrobats, fire-swallowers, and members of the Defence League to celebrate the restoration of Estonia's independence.

For more information:

Monday, 13 August 2018

Video: Kihnu culture

Home to a community of 600 people, Kihnu is an island rich in history and culture.

August 13 is Left Handers' Day!

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

Estonia ranks 2nd for cleanest food in Europe

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:

Monday, 6 August 2018

Learn Estonian with "Viimne Reliikvia"

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

Estonia 100 Grand Celebration Week 17 - 25 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:

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Inaugural Ironman Tallinn to bring thousands of foreigners to Estonia - ERR News

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

Viljandi is the place to be this weekend!

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:

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Two lost bear cubs gatecrash a family BBQ in Saaremaa

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.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Ever dreamed of owning your own Estonian manor house? Konovere Mõis is on the market!

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

Friday, 13 July 2018

Beautiful ESTONIA ~ Cinematic Aerial Drone by Eneko García-Amezaga

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

World's first 5G phonecall took place in Tallinn on 27 June 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: