Friday, 30 May 2014

15 Quotes by Anton Hansen Tammsaare

It's not easy to find quotes by A.H.Tammsaare written in English. Although he was a very intelligent man who could speak six languages - French, German, Finnish, Estonian, English and Russian - he only wrote his works in Estonian. For those of us who can't speak Estonian but want to explore the works of Tammsaare, here are fifteen of Tammsaare's most famous quotes taken from his novels including Truth & Justice and I Loved a German.

1. "Maybe we should never read in the morning, what is written from the heart at night; morning and midnight, they either  misunderstand or do not understand each other at all."
(Võib-olla ei peaks kunagi hommikul seda lugema, mis südaöösel kirjutatud hommik ja südaöö ei mõista teineteist või nad mõistavad võõriti.) 

2. "If a man is married to the right woman, he will not fail to meet important deadlines."
(Kui mehel on õige naine, siis teeb ta kõik õigel ajal.)

3. "While I am writing these lines, I believe quite strongly that I loved you before we met; only that I did not know that it was you, whom I love." 
(Ma usun neid ridu kirjutades üsna kindlasti, et ma armastasin Teid juba enne meie tutvumist, ainult et ma veel ei teednud, et just Teie see olete, keda ma armatan.)

4. "A student must be sober because it is more difficult to learn than to teach." 
pilane peab kaine olema, sest õppida on raskem, kui õpetada.)

5. "Young people's words can never be taken seriously, because they are bad at reading people, especially when the matter is they themselves."
(Noorte inimeste sõnu ei või kunagi tõsiselt võtta, sest nemad on halvad inimesetundjad, eriti kui küsimuses on nad ise.)

6. "Riches are closer to the truth than poverty."
(Varandus seisab tõele lähedamal kui vaesus.)

7. "Land and nation, as a wife, must be won every day, lest they slip into another's hands."
(Maad ja rahvast, nagu naistki, peab iga päev uuesti võitma, kui ei taha, et nad libisevad mõne teise kätte.)

8. "Free are those, whose mouths are already full with the soil. Free are angels in heaven."  
(Vabad on need, kel suud juba mulda täis. Vabad on inglid taevas.)

9. "There is no better medicine than hard work, if you want to sleep well."
(Raske töö on parim ravim, et magada hästi.)

10. "Nothing is impossible as soon as a person starts thinking seriously about it."
(Miski pole võimatu, niipea kui inimene hakab sellest kord tõsiselt mõtlema.) 

11. "Everything I have learned can be reduced to this: I want to be what I am not."
(Kõike, mida olen õppinud, tunnen ainult sel määral, et tahta olla see, mis ma ei ole.)

12. "Suffer with joy, youngster, love would not come if there were no pain."  
(Kannata aga rõõmuga, noorik, ega armastus muidu tule, kui valu ei ole.)

13.  "The right mistress's voice is sweeter than another man's rye."
(Õige perenaise hääl on magusam kui teise mehe rukis.)

14. "The greatest happiness is love."
(Suurim õnn on armastus.)

15. "A poor man can see days of toil all around him."
(Päevi saab vaene inimene igal pool näha.) 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Tallinn's Newest Attraction - Rappelling!

A new adrenalin attraction has opened in Tallinn known as "Rappelling" which sees participants descend from the roof of Tallinn's TV Tower from a height of 175 metres.

The TV Tower has the highest open observation deck in Northern Europe and provides a spectacular view of Tallinn as you are lowered from the 22nd floor.

The price of the 30 minute adventure is 35 per person or 30 if you are part of a group of three or more. For an additional 10 visitors can hire a helmet with camera that enables them to record their experiences to share later with family and friends.

How Rappelling works:

Rappelling participants travel up to the 22nd floor of the TV Tower then descend down to the ground using two ropes; one for descending and one for safety. In addition to this, steel ropes are also in place to keep the person safely on course.

Harnesses are put on indoors over the top of your regular clothes and full instructions are given before you step out onto the ledge.

Anyone can do Rappelling, it's easy and does not require any particular level of fitness or prior experience. Participants must weigh under 100 kg and be at least 14 years of age.

Up to four people can particpate at a time.

Rappelling is open every day from 12 - 6:30 pm.

Bookings can be made at:

Further information can be found at their website:

The Three Most Popular Estonian Films from 2013

Kertu, Tangarines and Elavad Pildid (Living Images) were the most popular Estonian films from 2013. If you are yet to see these films, perhaps you may be tempted once you watch their trailors. All three films have won awards.



Elavad Pildid 

Estonian Films Grow in Numbers | News | ERR

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Estonian Invented Stigo Scooter Wins Prestigious EDF Pulse Award in France

Ordinary Day of an e-Estonian

Estonia has emerged as one of the most advanced e-societies in the world. It's an incredible success story that grew out of a partnership between a forward thinking government, a pro-active ICT sector and a switched on tech-savvy population. This video reveals the huge benefits to be had by using ID cards to complete everyday transactons and services.

The World Famous Depeche Mode Baar - Tallinn

There are few bars around the world that can truly call themselves world famous. However, one such bar in Tallinn stands out from all others due to one unique quality - it only plays music by British electro band Depeche Mode.

Opened by devoted fan Dan Buinenko in 1999 the Depeche Mode Bar, otherwise known as DM Baar, attracts curious visitors from all over the world.  The bar features concert footage played non stop, a Zombie Room showcasing autographs from visiting celbrities and the band Depeche Mode themselves have visited several times and donated memorabilia.

The bar is only a short walk away from the Town Hall Square at Voorimehe 4.  It's an interesting place to stop by and perhaps to enjoy one of their unique cocktails named after the band's popular songs such as "Personal Jesus" and "Master & Servant".

The Depeche Mode Baar has featured on Lonely Planet's top ten most weird bars and restuarants.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Saturday, 24 May 2014

The 33rd Tallinn Old Town Days Festival 24th May - 1st June 2014

One event I've always wanted to attend in Estonia but just haven't been able to when it's on, is the Tallinn Old Town Days. The festival celebrates the beginning of summer and sees the Old Town come alive with people dressed up ancient clothes, live music, market stalls, games and street performers including the odd fire eater or two! It's a week of fun, full of cultural activities for both locals and visitors to enjoy. 
Old Town Days has been an annual event in Tallinn since 1982.

Each day of the festival has a particular theme that makes the event quite unique.

Saturday May 24 - Opening Day - starts with a large and spectacular concert on the Town Hall Square.
Sunday May 25 - Church Day - many of the Old Town churches will be offering organ music concerts.
Monday May 26 - Traditions - this is the day for the traditional Old Town Days conference inviting people to think about the vital themes concerning the Old Town.
Tuesday May 27 - Health Day - offering many different health, sport and movement events.
Wednesday May 28 - Theatre Day.
Thursday May 29 - Music Day - the streets will come alive with actors and musicians.
Friday May 30 - Museum Day - giving people a chance to educate themselves through the special programs.
Saturday May 31 - a day of old time action featuring knights competing with each other in horse riding and with swords and bows.
Sunday June 1 - Children's Day - a day where the whole city is filled with events for families to enjoy.

For further information including full programme details, please refer to the website:

Friday, 23 May 2014

Estonian Air Launches New Youth Fares

Estonian Air have launched a great new product enabling young people aged between 12 and 25 years of age to travel at a more affordable price. Whilst other commercial airlines require anyone over the age of 12 to purchase an adult ticket, Estonian Air has revolutionised youth air travel by creating a unique product just for them.  Young people now have the opportunity to see the world for less!

Key product features:

Fares apply to all young people aged between 12 and 25 (inclusive).

Be ready to provide your proof of age when purchasing the ticket and when boarding.

Tickets can be purchased through the Estonian Air website and from authorised resellers.

Fares are applicable to Economy Class tickets and includes one piece of checked-in baggage.

Youth Fare is valid for a maximum of nine passengers. For larger groups, please contact the airline directly.

What a great idea!

Estonian Air - 'let your dreams fly'.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Estonian Conductor Tõnu Kaljuste Brings Home his Grammy Award

Congratulations to Tõnu Kaljuste who recently won a Grammy at the 56th Grammy Awards. He won Best Choral Performance for his work on the Arvo Pärt's album Adam's Lament.

Tõnu Kaljuste is a world renowned Estonian conductor and leader of one of the most important music festivals in Estonia - the Nargen Festival. In a few days time Kaljuste will take part in a historic US tour together with Arvo Pärt, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra.

More details can be found at:

Monday, 19 May 2014

Tallinn is set to be the warmest capital city in Europe today - 31 degrees!

It came as a surprise this morning to read that Tallinn will be the warmest capital in all of Europe today. Seems almost unbelievable. Typically when you think of hot sunny European weather, cities in Spain, Cyprus or Italy quickly spring to mind but never Tallinn. Although a regional and not a national capital Iraklion on the Greek Island of Crete will be a mere 18 degrees in comparison. In most parts of Germany, the temperature is forecast to be in the low 20s. So if you're in Tallinn today, take pride in knowing you are enjoying Europe's best weather!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Prince Harry in Tallinn

This is a good little video covering the Prince's arrival in Tallinn.
I find the sound of incessant camera clicking quite amusing!
Is he staying at The Three Sisters? Nice choice!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Longest Sprat Sandwich in the World was Made in Tallinn Today!

Today is Tallinn Day!

To mark the occasion, the opening event was the creation of the world's longest sprat sandwich at the Town Hall Square. The sandwich which measures 20 metres and took up ten tables was made by cooks from 20 nearby restaurants and cafes and then shared with the general public.

What is Tallinn Day?

In 1248 Tallinn gained  Lübeck city rights and was granted admission to the Hanseatic League of European cities. Tallinn Day commemorates this historic event with a day full of fun cultural activities.

If you're in Tallinn today, be sure to check out some of the events. In Freedom Square tonight there will be a concert commencing at 7pm with live performances by Ott Lepland, Chalice and the Estonian National Youth Symphony Orchestra. Sounds great!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Boy and the Butterfly (Poiss ja Liblikas) By A.H.Tammsaare

Since making the wondeful discovery a few weeks ago that I am related to Anton Hansen Tammsaare I have taken a greater interest in his work. If you are like me and grew up in an English speaking country and was never properly taught the mother tongue of your Estonian family, then reading the works of Tammsaare can be quite challenging. Unfortunately, not many of Tammsaare's writings have been translated into English which is a great shame because he was a master of his craft.

Besides the many novels and articles he wrote, Tammsaare also penned a collection of short stories and fables, some of which have been translated into English. For the past week I have been searching online for an English translation for Poiss ja liblikas, the Boy and the Butterfly. It was difficult to find and when I managed to locate it I found it was obviously not translated by a native English speaker, so I took my hand to it and edited it, making it read much smoother.

Poiss ja liblikas was written by A.H. Tammsaare in 1915.

The Boy and the Butterfly

A host of spring flowers ran riot in a meadow sheltered from the north wind by a forest tract. They waited to be picked - but in vain; and so some of them were shedding their petals already. A bee buzzed by, but no picker was he, nor the butterfly that hovered above them.

The flowers were beginning to lose hope and turned to God in despair. And so God sent them a boy who loved flowers and delighted in picking them.

When the boy came to the meadow the flowers were overjoyed and cried in chorus "Pick me!" "Pick me!" And their heavy fragrance filled the air.

Exhilarated, the boy approached the first flower and stretched out his hand to pick it, when all of a sudden a butterfly rose up in flight - a coloured thread of silk, a gaudy piece of velvet that gleamed like a jewel with a snowflake's deceptive lustre.

It flew a few paces then settled on a flower, spreading out its wings in the sunshine.

"Let me catch you!" shouted the boy, forgetting all about the flowers.

"Go ahead!" the butterfly replied. "Catch me if you can!"

"I won't hurt you, I'll just take a look and let you go again!"

"Catch me - catch me if you can!"

"I promise not to touch you - only let me have a look at close hand."

First catch me  - then do as you please!"

And so the boy did his best to catch the butterfly.

He began by approaching it stealthily; but hardly had he taken a step when the butterfly flitted to another flower, just out of reach, fluttering its pretty wings as it to tease its pursuer.

The boy was getting impatient. Then began an unflagging chase; this way and that, to the north and to the south, a leap to the left, another to the right - over hummocks and bushes. Away he went in zigzag pursuit of the butterfly that one moment was flitting among the low growing flowers and the next was floating up high.

On and on they raced - one on his nimble feet, the other on its silky velvet wings that glittered like jewels in the sun. The fugitive did not tire, nor did the pursuer slacken his pace.

Until at last the butterfly rose higher and higher and flew away far over the forest that sheltered the meadow from the north wind.

Flushed and breathless the boy stopped, and with a beating heart he followed the flight of the butterfly, as if hoping it would turn back. As he stood there, gazing beyond the forest trees, a heavy fragrance was wafted to his nostrils by a passing breeze and he became aware again of the forgotten flowers that were waiting to be picked. Deeply affected by the fragrance, he turned with agitation and was about to stoop down and pick the nearest flower when he stopped in dismay, and his cheeks blanched. He had carelessly trampled over all of the flowers in his mad pursuit of the butterfly.

With a heavy heart, the boy dropped to the ground and cried bitterly, for he loved flowers passionately and would have picked them with pleasure.

The moral to this fable is to pursue those good things which are within your grasp, and not to get distracted by something that might be captivating but is nevertheless illusory.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Inside the Anton Hansen Tammsaare Museum in Tallinn

If you want to catch a glimpse inside the life of one of Estonia's greatest writers, then a visit to the Anton Hansen Tammsaare museum in Tallinn is a must. Anton lived in apartment number 4 with his wife and two children from 1932 until his death in 1940.  Some of his greatest works were produced whilst living in this building therefore it has significant historic importance. In honour of his tremendous contribution to Estonian literature, the Anton Hansen Tammsaare museum was opened on the 30th January 1978 - the 100th anniversary of his birth.

The museum is divided into two sections; located in the old apartment number 3 is a literary historical display, tracing the life and work of A.H.Tammsaare. Next door, in apartment number 4 is the former home of the Hansen family. The five room apartment has been restored according to the period in which the writer lived.

The museum consists of over 6000 rare and interesting items including books from Anton's private collection, his violin and death mask. Visitors can also purchase copies of his works at significantly reduced prices compared to other bookshops and sometimes in different languages.

Located at 12A Koidula Street, the museum is easy to reach by tram number 1 or 3 from the city centre and is only a short walk away from Kadriorg. Well worth the visit!

The building originally consisted of four apartments and now functions solely as a museum.

Museum entrance

Literary historical display

Books from Anton's private collection.

The front door to the Hansen family home.

The maid's room

Dining room

Living room

Children's bedroom

Eerik Hansen's playing table featuring a letter he wrote to Santa.

Living room


More information can be found at:

Sunday, 11 May 2014

"Ema Süda" - an Estonian Poem for Mother's Day

In the vast majority of countries around the world, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. For all the Estonian mothers out there here is a nice Estonian poem for you. Ema Süda /A Mother's Heart was written by Lydia Koidula in Tartu in 1865 then later recorded as a song by Maarja.

English translation.
A Mother's Heart

There is a place within this world
where faith and love and joy lie curled
and everything that's fine and rare
will always find a refuge there.

Do you know a mother's heart?
Constant and sound from the very start!
With your joys it loves to share
and your sorrows will help you bear.

When people change from good to bad,
friendship and praise is not to be had
when all around is contempt and hate
faithless and loveless is your sad fate-

A mother's heart is always there!
A place you will always share,
cry away dashed hopes and fears
on mother's breast through all the years!

Some dearest treasures I may lose
and after mourning find repose,
time for me my grief will sever
but mother's heart I'll miss - forver!

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Happy Europe Day!

On this day my thoughts are with the people of Ukraine. Their country has suffered greatly at the hand of Russia and the old Soviet regime and I hope they manage to find a sound political solution to end the current crisis soon.

In the 21st century, it is truly mind boggling that a country would invade and occupy territory of a neighbour in Europe. It should never happen.  You would think, as a human race we would have evolved enough by now, be wiser, more intelligent than our ancestors who lived 70 years ago. The atrocities committed during the Second World War and its wake should be enough to deter any form of belligerence between countries in Europe. During this dark chapter in our history people have learnt the true value of peace, freedom and territorial integrity.

Russia is clearly a country trapped in the past, its leaders pining for an era that caused nothing but chaos, heartache and despair for its people and those dragged into its circle. A great leader, whether he's running a country, company or is the head of the household should have three essential qualities - honour, integrity and honesty. If you do not possess these qualities then people will not trust you, they will not respect you. Putin has tarnished his reputation by riding roughshod over international law, invading Crimea, fomenting violence and unrest in Eastern Ukraine and failing to honour agreements. Instead of making Russia great, he is bringing the country down and in time he will feel the consequences of this.

On Europe Day we should reflect and be proud of all the things our respective independent nations have achieved. Unlike Russia, who believes the best time has been and gone, we in the rest of Europe strongly believe that the very best is yet to come!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Peter I House Museum Tallinn

Inspired by this old family photograph taken in 1922, I recently visited this quaint little cottage located on the grounds of Kadriorg. It was only a few months ago that a relative told me that it is known as Peter's House, and having heard some of the stories associated with it, I was eager to pay this place a visit. The cottage was built by Peter I in 1714 after he purchased over a hundred hectares of land in Tallinn to commission the construction of his new summer residence - Kadriorg Palace.

Although Kadriorg Palace was Peter I's offiicial summer residence in Tallinn, he often enjoyed staying at this cosy cottage and mingling with the locals. Years aftwards, watchmen of the house used to share true life stories describing events of Peter's visits to the house. 

Peter I.
The Russian emperor visited Kadriorg eleven times until his death in 1725.

After Peter died, the buildings here were left derelict for years until Tsar Alexander I 
visited in 1804 and ordered everything to be repaired.

The house has been open to the public at intervals throughout its history.
In 1941 Peter's House was officially opened as a museum. 

Everything in the house is original. 
All of the furniture has remained from Peter's time at the house.

Peter often sat at this table.

Dined with family and guests here.

Catherine the Great slept in this bed.

Peter the Great's hand cast and shoe.

Peter the Great's house is definitely worth a visit. It's an enjoyable step back into the 18th century.

More information can be found at: