Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Jaan Kross' ''A Book of Falsehoods'' now available in English

If you are like me and have been eagerly awaiting the release of the final installment in the Between Three Plagues trilogy by Jaan Kross, then you'll be pleased to know it's finally available in English. After a few delays with the translation release date (it was originally scheduled for last year) readers can now continue the journey of Balthasar Russow in this epic historic novel.

Jaan Kross' A Book of Falsehoods : Between Three Plagues Volume 3 can be purchased from all good book sellers. I purchased my copy at the Book Depository.

Monday, 30 January 2023

January 30 is Estonian Literature Day

Today, for the first time in Estonia, we celebrate a new national holiday - the Day of Estonian Literature. On this day we commemorate the birthday of acclaimed Estonian writer Anton Hansen Tammsaare who has contributed so much to Estonia's literary culture.

Statue of Anton Hansen in Tallinn's Tammsaare Park.

Anton Hansen Tammsaare's most classic work is Truth and Justice and it is interesting to note that over the generations,  many people have named their children after characters from his books. I once met a woman who lived in Albu who named her son Pearu. She seemed quite proud to have given him that name!

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Estonian roast pork recipe

Roast pork is a family favourite in Estonia. I last made one on Christmas Eve then realised it's been a while, so I did another one last night. The combination of flavours - pork, cabbage and potatoes is classic Estonian.  It's absolutely delicious!

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Natural wonder: rare ice eggs found on the west coast of Estonia

On the shore of Kabli beach in Pärnumaa a very rare phenomenon can be seen when conditions are just right. Ice eggs, or ice balls as they are known, form when the temperature falls slightly below freezing along the shallow and slightly sloping sandy beach. A slight swell in the water then creates a gentle back and forth rocking motion that results in small pieces of sea ice collecting into smooth and round egg like shapes. Estonian nature is so beautiful!

Ice eggs at sunset

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

How tennis began in Estonia

With the Australian Open currently taking place in Melbourne it made me wonder about the history of tennis in Estonia. The first tennis club in Estonia was formed in Narva-Jõesuu (formerly known by the German name Hungerburg) in 1909. The sport was initally played by the Baltic Germans then became increasingly popular with Estonians. By 1913 the Kalev tournament had all Estonian participants including the multi talented Eduard Hiiop who was an accomplished skater, gymnast, athlete and cyclist. 

Estonia has produced many fine tennis players over the years including Anett Kontaveit, Jürgen Zopp, Kaia Kanepi, Kristian Lasn and Maret Ani who are considered some of Estonia's best.

More information about the history of tennis in Estonia can be found here Eesti Tennis 100

Saturday, 21 January 2023

Saturday is sauna day in Estonia!

When it's cold and miserable outside the sauna is the perfect place to be to warm up and revitalise. I have a sauna at home and haven't been using it enough lately but I will set time aside today. It has so many health benefits. Sauna design has really come along in recent years and I'm curious to experience them firsthand during my future trips to Estonia.

Interesting fact: Lammasmäe Holiday Centre now has a new sauna that is believed to be the world's first peat sauna. You can learn more about it here.

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Who were the Baltic Germans?

If you know anything about Estonian history, then you will have heard about the Baltic Germans who used to have a major influence in the region. Where did they come from? How long did they stay? Why did they leave and what did they leave behind? The Estonian TV program "Uudishimu tippkeskus" (Center for Curiosity) recently explored this topic and you can watch a short video about it here.

Monday, 16 January 2023

Tallinn's PROTO Invention Factory

If you are looking for something interesting to do during your next trip to Tallinn then take a look at the Proto Invention Factory. This unique family-friendly attraction opened its doors in October 2019 and offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in an interactive fantasy world using cutting-edge technology. The world that opens up through virtual reality goggles creates a direct sensory experience for the visitor. Visitors are taken back to a time where they can drive the world’s first car and steam locomotive, walk on the bottom of the ocean, and fly over the clouds in the world’s first hot air balloon. All the games and activities take place in the historic Noblessner Foundry building located in north Tallinn. More information can be found here.

Tuesday, 10 January 2023

Tickets for the XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival are now on sale!

The 13th Youth Dance Celebration will take place in Tallinn this year from Friday 30th June 2023 until Sunday 2nd July 2023. Tickets can now be purchased online from the Laulupidu website.

The 13th Youth Dance Celebration “Bridges” will take place on 30 June and 1 July of 2023. A total of three Dance Celebration performances will take place. During the two days of the Dance Celebration, a total of three identical performances will take place at Kalev Central Stadium in Tallinn. The approximate length of each performance is 1½ to 2 hours.

The 13th Youth Song Celebration "Holy is maa" (Holy is the Land) will take place on 2 July 2023. The Song Celebration concert will take place at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds. The approximate length of the concert will be six hours. The performers will include young children’s choirs, children’s choirs, boys’ choirs, mixed choirs, girls’ choirs, male youth choirs, wind orchestras and symphony orchestras. The concert will begin and end with performances by the combined choir. The programme includes works by Estonian composers through the ages. The concert will be preceded by the ceremonial procession of the participants through the centre of Tallinn. The procession can be watched along the five-kilometre route for free.

The song and dance festival tradition has been included in the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list. It's a wonderful sight to behold!

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

13 Inspirational quotes

A new year brings with it an opportunity to start afresh and pursue new dreams and plans or to explore different ways to achieve long-held goals. Sometimes words of wisdom encourage us to take that bold step to pursue those dreams. Here are thirteen quotes written in Estonian with English translations.

1. Miski pole aja raiskamine, kui kasutate kogemust arukalt (nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely) - Julius Caesar

2. Edasijõudmise saladus on alustamine (the secret of getting ahead is getting started) - Mark Twain

3. Enamik inimesi otsib rõõmu nii kärsitult kiirustades, et nad tormavad sellest mööda (most people seek happiness in such a hurry that they rush past it) - Soren Kierkegaard

4. Tulevik kuulub neile, kes usuvad oma unistuste ilu (the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams) - Eleanor Roosevelt

5. Rikkus ei seisne aarete omamises, vaid nendest kasu saamises (wealth is not the possession of treasures, but the benefit of them) - Napoleon I

6. Sa ei pääse homse vastutuse eest, vältides seda täna (you cannot escape tomorrow's responsibility by avoiding it today) - Abraham Lincoln

7. Õnnetus on iseloomude proovikiv (misfortune is a test of character) - Honore de Balzac

8. Kogemus on kõigi asjade õpetaja (experience is the teacher of all things) - Julius Caesar

9. Kui kaev on tühi, siis tunneme vee väärtust (when the well is empty, we know the value of water)  - Benjamin Franklin.

10. Kui sa lähed läbi põrgu, astu aga muudkui edasi (if you're going through hell, keep going) - Winston Churchill

11. Teada, mõelda, unistada. Selles on kõik (to know, to think, to dream. That's all there is to it) - Victor Hugo

12. Tarvitage, kuid ärge kuritarvitage - selline on tarkuse reegel. Õnne ei too ei kasinus ega liigsus (use, but do not abuse - this is the rule of wisdom. Neither austerity nor excess brings happiness) - Voltaire

13. Inimesed, kes saavutavad maailmas edu, on need, kes tõusevad ja otsivad endale vajalikku juhust (the people who succeed in the world are those who rise and seek the opportunity they need) - George Bernard Shaw

Monday, 2 January 2023

A great read for the holiday season - Sailing to Freedom

If you are like me and always on the lookout for a good Estonian themed book to read, I recommend 'Sailing to Freedom.' I was recently introduced to this book to by Sirje at the Estonian consulate in Salzburg who told me it's a great real life escape story that took place in 1945. I'm halfway through the book at the moment and found it to be a real page turner. I can well imagine the fear and uncertainty these people experienced because my Estonian grandparents would have felt similar emotions during this time. Thank goodness they all made it to safety!


If you are interested in other Estonian stories that have been translated into English, ERR News recently published a list of the Best Estonian books in translation in 2022

Sunday, 1 January 2023

Happy New Year! Head uut aastat!

Happy New Year everyone! Looking forward to a bigger, brighter and more optimistic 2023! This year I intend to read more, travel more and indulge in simple pleasures that bring happiness. I have been writing this blog since 2011 and have nearly 700,000 pageviews from readers all over the world. What began as a humble hobby has grown into an enduring labour of love. Thanks for reading!