Soviet Flashback. 8/26/18

Today we are in Tallinn, Estonia. John has recuperated a little and I am only a little sick at this point. Ah, Viking cruises, on four cruises we have four units of sickness. When we travel on our own we are rarely sick. Maybe we should either stay home or only travel on our own.

Anyway, Tallinn is a lovely town with lots of medieval buildings. We do a walking tour with Eneken, a very tall Estonian. One thing we learned from listening to The History of English podcast is that Estonians are not related to Latvians or Letts who are Slavs. Estonians originated from around Siberia and split into three distinct groups after they crossed the Urals-some went to Finland, some to Hungary, and some to Estonia. So their languages are similar.

Lower town of Tallinn

Eneken tells about the school system where children are taught four languages, Estonian, English, Russian, and German. Tallinn is about 30% Russian, a holdover from Soviet days. Russians are made up of modern Russians and Soviet Russians. The older generations still hold suspicions of each other. The Soviets (makes clear that it is not Russians) deported thousands of Estonians to Siberia due to un-Soviet thoughts. Estonia only free since 1991 and the populace seems very patriotic.

Tallinn town square
During our first free time, John stops into a bar where…
he gets a beer for the traditional picture.

During our second free time and because we are not sure there will be enough time to eat lunch we stop at the Peppersack for a snack and bathroom break.

Medieval Peppersack
Pizza pastry

We get back to the ship with about 45 minutes turnaround until our next outing, Soviet Flashback.  We walk back down the long pier and encounter a vintage Soviet bus.

John with vintage bus

This excursion is a tongue in cheek look at life in Soviet Estonia. Our “General” lines us up and checks our passports and makes us march around the bus in an exaggerated fashion. He is quite funny.

Our Soviet General

On the bus he shows us pictures of Katyusha rockets and his beloved leaders, Stalin and Brezhnev, and we applaud. Then we all have a shot of vodka and a gherkin.

General with rocket pictures

After pulling into a parking lot we de-bus and he gets serious and talks about his experiences. His grandfather was deported to Siberia and our guide had to hide in the forest to avoid being drafted by the Russian army where he would have gone to fight in Afghanistan.

Relating poignant moments

After the liberation he worked with the Peace Corp. volunteers where he learned, among other things, John Denver’s Country Roads. We all sing together on the way back.

Singing Country Roads on the way back to the ship

We have a great time on our Soviet Flashback tour and now have a couple of hours until dinner. Amazingly we stay awake. I guess we are over jet lag.

Dinner tonight at the Chef’s Table is called “La Route des Indies” and is centered around spices. It is a really tasty dinner.

I am including a picture of our sesame and curry roll because I did such a good composition
Our Amuse Bouche is a carrot and cardamom cream with a Garofoli Komaros, Marche, Italy
First course is a delicious tuna tataki served with Portuguese Vinho Verde
Palate cleanser ginger and tarragon granita
Main course beef tenderloin with warm spices, mushrooms and purple potato purée with an Australian Shiraz/cabernet
Finally an apple tarte tatin with an Italian Moscato and a dollop of ice cream