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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.