Posted by: Bob Fisher | May 13, 2009

Videomemories of Estonia

Expecting the unexpected … finding new energy

Never knowing what to expect is, for me, one of the greatest joys of travel even though that state of pre-meditated bliss can be risky.

Having said that, however, I can now tell you that one of the greatest and newest European destinations — a nation where you will feel a renewed sense of meaningfulness — is Estonia!

Below are links to a few quick video glimpses of highlights of Estonia.

A Duel in Tallinn

Estonia is a nation with a complex history in which many “powers that would be” occupied the region that today is a proud, vigorous, and young nation. As a citizen of the capital city Tallinn said to me, “Estonians never forget; but they always forgive.” In the post-Soviet boom in which this nation finds itself, being able to “let go” is part of the creative energy that lies at the heart of contemporary Estonian culture, especially its business culture.

But there is also in Estonia, a great respect for Medieval times, an era when the region was equally significant and flourishing. The study of Medieval history is enjoying a renewed focus around the world and nowhere is it more “in focus” than in Tallinn. Street theatre of various kinds (Medieval style of course) can be seen throughout the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town.

To view this short video click here.

The Best Pub in Estonia

It’s called The Gunpowder Cellar) and is probably the funkiest and most historic “let the good times roll” venue in Europe. And the music, the dancing, the food, and the fun folks of the Estonian university city of Tartu make this the hottest night spot in Europe.

The band was the best! Have you ever heard “Obadi, Obada” sung in Estonian? Me neither. So when you go to Estonia and Tartu, take your dancin’ shoes.

To view this short video click here.

A Viking Cruise in Estonia … with Fiddler!

Marju is a member of Viis, a musical ensemble that is dedicated to the preservation of Estonia traditional music. As we sailed slowly upriver on the historic Peipsi Viking barge, she not only entertained us but created a whole other level of cultural authenticity to our visit to this fascinating Baltic nation. In her fiddle playing I could hear the antecedents of Celtic music.

For more information on The Peipsi and this wonderful Viking heritage centre, click here. Marju and company can be reached at viis.est@gmail.com.

To view this short video click here.

Tallinn Townhall Jazz

The Town Hall in Estonia’s capital city of Tallinn is a glorious sight. At the heart of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Old Town, the elegant building is at the heart of the city both literally and figuratively. Re-constructed from a 14th-century structure in 1404, you will find it next to the marketplace, an equally stunning site. It is an exquisite example of medieval architecture and the only preserved Gothic style city hall in northern Europe. As a flourishing trading centre of the Hanseatic League, Tallinn was also a centre of culture and art.

Privileged to be received as the guests of the Tallinn City Government, we were treated to a evening of fine food, fine wine, and fine jazz … all in an historical context that was timeless and replete with profound meaning. (For more information on the Town Hall, click here.

To view this short video click here.

Thoroughly Modern and Musical Estonia

Estonia and its principal cities of Tallinn (the capital) and Tartu are renowned for preserving and promoting music. This is a nation in which everyone sings and the rhythms of life in post-Soviet Estonia are upbeat and progressive. But the past has not been forgotten; Estonians have achieved a remarkable blend of their distinct history and culture from medieval to modern times.

The gala dinner took place at the wonderful restaurant Maardu Manor in Tallinn. (See Maardu Manor .) The menu: vegetable strudel with goat’s cheese; stewed lamb’s tongue with potatoes and oven-baked tomato, broccoli and rosemary cream sauce; and hot chocolate cake with Volga ice cream and cherries.

The entertainment was provided by two of Estonia’s most famous and popular musical artists: piano player Rein Rannap, a legend of Estonian rock-music. He was the founder of one of the most prominent Estonian rock-group in 1970-s – Ruja; and the well-known and very popular singer singer Maarja-Liis Ilus.

To view this short video click here.

Youthful, Hopeful, Respectful Estonia

Imagine if you approached a group of teenagers in your city and asked them to sing for you. Imagine if they agreed without hesitation; and then discussed amongst themselves what they should sing. Imagine if they chose a traditional folk song that in words, music, and intent paid homage to the traditional values of their country.

In its post-Soviet “reincarnation” Estonia (and especially the capital of Tallinn) is all about the future and about vision. This is what I discovered among the young people of Estonia everywhere I went.

To view this short video click here.

Resources

Visit the official Estonia Tourist Board at www.visitestonia.com

Visit the official Tallinn Tourist Board at www.tourism.tallinn.ee

Visit the official Tartu Tourist Board at www.visittartu.com

Be sure to visit The Singing Revolution, the story of how Estonia liberated itself through song.

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Responses

  1. […] For more information on Estonia, see Videomemories of Estonia. […]


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