During Blogathon I may get new readers who have never even heard about weird little lands like Estonia or Finland.
Yep, EST and FIN are somewhere there up in the north. But just to make it clear: no, they most definitely not are part of Russia and no, there are no polar bears in either of them.
As a Finn living in Estonia I just must use the opportunity to write a few words about my new home country. One could ask why do I want to live in a former Soviet republic with 1,3 million people and terrible climate. But I guess me and my family sort of like it here.
Here are my 5 reasons, why you should come and visit Estonia, the land of warm people and appalling customer service.
- See the layers of history in Tallinn. One thing I missed when living in Silicon Valley was the history. In the Valley you'll be positively surprised if you find something older than 40 years. In Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, you have everything. There's the beautiful medieval old town, horrible-looking ghettos of Soviet era, skyscrapers of the 21st century and everything in between. It's sometimes a terrible mess but it still is way better than no history at all. The feeling of the town gives you roots. It helps you understand that you are not the first one on these streets.
- The size of the country. Estonia is tiny. It's great, it's practical. In 4 - 5 hours by car you are already in the neighbor country Latvia. Jump on the boat and take a two-hour cruise to Finland. One-hour flight to Stockholm, two hours to London. Not a big deal. Life is just too short to be spent in traffic jams.
- Wifi. It's everywhere. I mean e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. Estonians live in internet and you get used to it. I was shocked in Silicon Valley when I understood how ridiculously poor wifi connections they had there. Man, it's the Valley!
- Get a cultural shock of rude behavior. Just forget all your attempts to have small talk. They won't speak to you, those stone-faced, little-smiling Estonians. There's a total silence in a bus or a tram. They won't apologize if they bump onto you on a street. If you are lucky the cashier may greet you in a store but don't wait for good day's wishes. After you've spent here a few years you'll find the dry humor and remarkable friendship and hospitality Estonians have in them. It just takes time.
- Shoes. Ladies. I've got one word for you. Or actually three. When in Estonia - go shop shoes.