Thursday, 22 February 2018

100 Things I Love About Estonia

With Estonia's centenary just around the corner, I thought I'd take this opportuntiy to list 100 things I love most about Estonia. As a proud and patriotic Estonian I am really looking forward to the EV!00 celebrations and thrilled that this special day will be soon upon us. I hope you like the list!

1. The beautiful colours of the Estonian national flag. Whenever I see something with this colour combination in the shops, I often buy it!

2.  Nature. Vast, unspoilt, beautiful.

3. The well preserved Estonian archives.

4. My Estonian ID card

5. Black bread. (Must leib is my favourite!)

6. The Anton Hansen Tammsaare Museum in Vargamäe.

7. Walking past Pikk Hermann Tower at the right time to hear the Estonian national anthem play.

8. Estonia sayings. Eg.  'A good neighbour is one where you can just barely see the smoke of their chimney from your window.'

9. Digital society.

10. Handwoven belts

11. Piparkook.

12. Küüslauguleib.

13. Tammsaare's Truth & Justice.

14.  Watching a game of kiiking.

15. Country houses.

16. The Estonian Song and Dance Festivals.

17. Tallinn's Christmas market.

18. Walks in the forest.

19. Eating wild berries picked from the forest.

20. The beautiful melodic sound of the Estonian language.

21. Tallinn's stunning 13th century architecture.

22. Vana Tallinn (the drink).

23. The beautiful wooden painted doors in Tallinn.

24. Music by Ott Lepland.

25. The traditional village swing.

26. The Estonian Open Air Museum.

27. Jaanipäev.

28. Hedgehogs.

29. Clean air.

30. Tartu. My grandmother's hometown.

31. The invention of Skype.

32. TransferWise.

33. Tallinn Old Town Days.

34. Pirita.

35. The Raeapteek. The oldest pharmacy in Northern Europe dates back to 1422. The Raeapteek is where my great-great grandfather completed his apprenticeship in 1860. I love visiting old places knowing my ancestors have been there before me.

36. Music by Curly Strings.

37. Tallinn's pedestrian crossings. The timer display is really great for knowing how long you have left to cross the road!

38. Traditional wooden weaving machine.

39. Nordic snowflake designs.

40. National costume.

41. Drinking Glögi at Christmas time.

42. Estonian proverbs.  'Vana arm ei roosteta' (old love does not rust).

43. Jaan Kross novels.

44. Kalev chocolates.

45. Beautiful old wooden houses.

46. Patterns from Estonian mittens.

47. The film Vehkleja (The Fencer).

48. Setumaa.

49. The Song Mother tradition.

50. Estonian national costume fabrics.

51. Estonians reverence for old traditions as well as new technologies.

52. Kuressaare Castle.

53. Estonia's vibrant start-up scene.

54. Maiasmokk Cafe. Famous for its mazipan, it has been a great place to eat out for generations.

55. Estonian Folk art.

56. Old Estonian manor houses.

57. Tallinn's Bastion passages.

58. Wandering around Tallinn's Old Town and discovering new things.

59. Beautiful Estonian homes with large gardens, cute wooden fences and apple trees.

60. Tartu University. One the finest in the region.

61. Estonian initatives such as World Cleanup Day.

62. Kasmu - a lovely place where the the forest meets the Baltic Sea.

63. Cornflowers and all the cute things you can make with them.

64. Tartu's Gunpowder Cellar Restaurant.

65. Spending time outdoors in the countryside.

66. Lemon pepper.

67. Seeing storks perched high in their nests (mainly in South Estonia).

68.  Homewares featuring traditional Estonian patterns/designs.

69. Folk hero Kalevipoeg.

70. The village of Nõo. It may be a small place but it's where my family are from.

71. The fabric of Nõo parish.

72. Kadriorg.

73. The Estonian History Museum.

74. St. Martin's Day Fair held at Tallinn's Saku Suurhall.

75. School caps.

76. Traditional recipes.

77. Estonian song - Isamaa Ilu Hoieldes.

78. Eating Kaneelirullid (cinnamon rolls).

79. The Eesti Pank Museum.

80.  Luke Manor.

81. Climbing up St. Olaf church to gain an excellent view of the city.

82. Estonian proverb - 'Hommik on õhtust targem' (morning is wiser than the evening).

83. Cute Estoniab girls names containing double vowels. Eg. Luula, Liisi, Tiia and Juulia.

84. Estonian National Museum. (Eesti Rahva Muuseum)

85.  Muhu handicrafts.

86. Estonians shared desire to go back to their roots. Genealogy is very popular today.

87. Reading historic novels with familar place names and discovering how life was in Estonia centuries ago.

88. Tallinn Airport. It may be small but it's full of innovations and interesting things to keep you occupied while you wait for your flight.

89. The peacefulness  of driving through the Estonian countryside and not seeing another living soul for miles.

90. Saaremaa.

91. Fields with countless bales of hay.

92. My complete set of Estonian kroon banknotes.  It was sad switching to the Euro but necessary.

93. Tallinn's airport library. I don't often borrow books but I always donate a few whenever I pass through the terminal.

94. Browsing the shelves at Rahva Raamat and Apollo to see the latest books, DVDs and CDs.

95. Estonian stamps.

96. Visiting Estonian villages and seeing old practises in everyday life. Eg. A woman sweeping with a broom made out of sticks, or a door mat made from tree branches. Authenic!

97. Open Farm Day.

98. Visiting old taverns with interesting history like the one in Viitna. Catherine the Great used to pass through Viitna Tavern (Viitna Kõrts) on her way from Russia and there is a famous story about a mirror.

99. Reading old Estonian folktales.

100. Photographs by my great-grandfather Arthur Lestal. He captured life in Estonia during its first period of independence.