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Old 09-04-2011, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,990 posts, read 11,570,502 times
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So what do you guys think about Eesti? I've looked it up and it certainly looks like an interesting country, very different from most of the former Soviet areas. From what little I know about the country, it seems a lot like Minnesota or Michigan with a European flair. You know, plenty of lakes, four-season climate, forests, laid-back culture. Plus, Estonia's economy is growing rapidly and its language has a really interesting sound.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:10 PM
 
Location: 30-40°N 90-100°W
13,856 posts, read 22,973,253 times
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It's known for having a flat-tax, which it might be set to dump, and being one of the freer nations of the world.

Estonia holds first post-Euro poll | Irish Examiner
List of freedom indices - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rising Restrictions on Religion - Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Rising Restrictions on Religion - Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

However it also has fairly high rates of homicide and suicide while being mediocre in life satisfaction or happiness.

International Human Development Indicators - UNDP
List of countries by intentional homicide rate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In More Religious Countries, Lower Suicide Rates
WHO | Suicide rates per 100,000 by country, year and sex (Table)
List of countries by suicide rate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nation Rank Report
Life Satisfaction | Global HPI | Explore | Happy Planet Index (http://www.happyplanetindex.org/explore/global/life-sat.html - broken link)
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:16 PM
 
Location: rain city
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Estonia is a lovely place. Very Scandanavian.

What's your question?
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:04 AM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
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What's it like? The culture, food, weather, sports, lifestyle? Is it accepting of "outsiders?" I'm interested in visiting there someday, along with the other former Soviet countries (except Belarus).
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:23 AM
 
Location: Chicagoland
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Sort of like Finland's poorer, Sovietized brother. Estonians are closely related to Finns, have historically been ruled by Germans, Swedes and Russians, and there is a large Russian (or Russophone) minority left over from Soviet times.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:24 AM
 
Location: rain city
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So visit.

Estonia has many visitors. Estonia actively promotes tourism. English is reasonably common in Tallinn. Tallinn is very popular with Brits and Finns as a weekend getaway. Tons of tourists.

If you want to visit as a visitor why would you need need insider info on Estonian "culture, food, weather, sports, lifestyle?" You want to be a tourist there is no need to spelunk societal depths. Just go visit.

Estonia is very civilized. People are nice, tourism is widely promoted, there are lots of places to eat and drink and socialize. Plenty of places to stay. It's all good, you'll love it. Relax.
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:15 AM
 
Location: Yorkshire, England
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I've never been but my cousin's married to an Estonian woman - very quiet and tidy person, fairly typical Estonian from all I've heard. Estonia has also been the most successful country at reinventing itself after the Soviet period. It's definitely somewhere I'd like to go one day. Also, apparently there is an Estonian word 'Jäääär' literally spelt with 4 'ä's, meaning "by the side of a frozen lake" - I'm sure a kind of country with a word like that has plenty of interesting quirks.
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
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I have been to Estonia a few times, and last time spent almost a month there. I absolutely loved it. Tallinn is such a beautiful city but we also travelled around the country , into the "Old Believers"" area ( which is populated by Orthodox Russian speaking people, some of the villages were still like I would imagine Russia to have been in the late 1800s) and I loved Tartu, which was a really friendly , young and bustling University city with mostly students.

Estonians were friendly but extremely reserved ( like the Finns), the language like Finnish is really difficult to learn but I made an effort and it seemed appreciated. Most young people spoke English but anyone over 35 seems to speak mostly German or Russian.

I was staying in the Russian part of Tallinn ( I did a home exchange) and it was interesting to see the segregation between the Estonians and the Russians. At the time we were there, there had been some protests and vandalism at some old Russian memorials and not suprisingly I suppose with their history there does still seem to be some tensions. We did feel the Russians who basically used to have the best jobs were being slowly pushed aside and there were definitely some strong lines being drawn between the two different groups.


Tallinn is very geared to tourism but once you get away from the tourist centre you can see the Soviet past in terms of architecture and urban planning. There was a lot of building work when I was there and you could see a modern and wealthy Estonia emerging at least in the Capital. Some of the beautiful old traditional wooden houses were being neglected, some even pulled down for modern development which seemed a real shame.

Estonia apparently has done very well in terms of the Computer industry and is now at the forefront of counter-cyber terrorism , selling its services to Europe and the US.

It felt like a country on the rise, which was at some point going to catch up with Finland. But as soon as you got out into the country side the country was definitely a lot poorer and a lot more out of step with modern times and felt a lot more "Soviet era" in many respects.

I must admit I hope to go back sometimes in not too distant a future. The people we exchanged with were absolutely lovely, very kind and generous and for nayone going to Talliin I would recommend a trip to the National Opera. I have been to some of the best Opera houses/festivals in the world from La Scala and Bayreuth to the Garnier Opera house and the Estonian National Opera was even better.

I have never seen such a people so so enthused and passionate about singing. We saw concerts and folk musich everywhere and instead of a National Stadium the Estonians have a "Singing Bowl" ( the fight for independence was called the "singing revolution" as hundreds of thousands of people gathered to Tallinn from all over the country and sang agaisnt the Russian regime). Even the lowliest of chorus singers in the Opera had a perfect voice. Absolutely amazing.

I would recommend the "Museum of the War of Independence" which gives you a fascinating insight into the road to independence and life under the Soviets and the Rocca al Mare Open Air Museum outside the city which is also a wonderful place to spend a day and come to grasp with old traditional life in Estonia.

Estonian War of Independence | The Estonian War Museum ? General Laidoner Museum
EVM | Museum | Museum

There were a lot of wonderful restaurants in Tallinn , from traditional Estonian to Sushi. It truly is a little gem of a city .
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Old 09-07-2011, 05:14 PM
 
15,042 posts, read 13,637,675 times
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Quote:
I was staying in the Russian part of Tallinn ( I did a home exchange) and it was interesting to see the segregation between the Estonians and the Russians. At the time we were there, there had been some protests and vandalism at some old Russian memorials and not suprisingly I suppose with their history there does still seem to be some tensions.
Most likely it's about the WWII monuments.
Estonians wants them to be removed out of sight, since they were occupied by Russians, Russians on another hand think that they didn't make any mistake, since a lot of Estonians were fighting them in fascist uniforms during the war.
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Old 09-09-2011, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Scotland
431 posts, read 577,563 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northstar22 View Post
So what do you guys think about Eesti? I've looked it up and it certainly looks like an interesting country, very different from most of the former Soviet areas. From what little I know about the country, it seems a lot like Minnesota or Michigan with a European flair. You know, plenty of lakes, four-season climate, forests, laid-back culture. Plus, Estonia's economy is growing rapidly and its language has a really interesting sound.
Estonia is a bit like Finland, a lot like Russia and not at all like Minnesota or Michigan.
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