Wednesday, 19 July 2017

An Estonian in Budapest

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere then no doubt you are enjoying the summer and busy planning your next getaway. Last year I spent my summer holiday in Hungary. It's a country I've always been curious about but only recently set time aside to visit. As Estonian belongs to the Finno-Ugric  language group I wanted to see if I could detect any similarities but there are few. The only time I thought Hungariam resembled Estonian was when I heard it in the background on the TV and the melody of the language, the rising and falling of the pitch, reminded me of Estonian.

I must admit I knew very little about Hungary before my trip. In primary school I had a good friend, Suzanne, who was Hungarian and I remember she often ate desserts with lots of cinnamon. Once I arrived in Budapest I was very pleasantly surprised. It's a very popular city with tourists. I heard a lot of foreign languages spoken on the street and everyone seemed to speak English. Budapest is a very vibrant city full of intersting places to visit. Unfortunately in the three days I was there, I didn't have time to see them all. But there's always next time!

Castle Hill
Budapest is divided into two section by the Danube River - 'Buda' and 'Pest'.
I stayed in Pest.

The impressive Parliament Buildings.

 They contain the Hungarian Crown Jewels.


This underground station was the only thing I found that
vaguely resembled an Estonian word. 

Budapest has many charming old train stations. Some lines of the underground still 
use trains dating back to the 19th century. The wooden interiors and individual light 
fittings really felt like I was stepping back in time.

Chain Bridge
The stone bridge with the lion bridgeheads was the first permanent 
connection between Buda and Pest.

The Danube Promenade
60 pairs of steel sculpted shoes can be found here to commemorate 
the Jews who were shot here during WWII.

.
Heroes' Square and the Millennium Monument
This is a nice part of town featuring many interesting buildings, sculptures and gardens.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Impressive interior. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower
 to gain an excellent view of the city.

Quaint church

Budapest has many lovely parks and gardens.

The Rubik Cube was invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor 
of architecture Ernő Rubik.

Hungarian post box.

No trip to Budapest is complete without a cruise along the Danube river.
There are many different tours to choose from that depart regularly.

Budapest was an absolutely lovely city that surpassed my expectations.
I will defintely return one day!

This year I will spend my summer holiday in beautiful Poland. My brother has been living in Krakow for the past two years and we will hire a holiday cottage for a week. I am especially looking forward to visiting the salt mines, Zakopane and the enchanting Polish folk art village of Zalipie. Can't wait!

Dutch & Latvian team to design Estonia's first movable pedestrian bridge in Tallinn


A team comprising Witteveen+Bos, plein06 and Novarc Group recently won a global competition to design Estonia's first movable pedestrian bridge in the old harbor of the Tallinn capital. Their winning scheme, “New Balance 100” — whose name pays tribute to the country's ongoing centennial celebration — was chosen for its aesthetic form and technical balancing solutions. According to the team, the bridge is currently scheduled for completion in late 2018.

To learn more, please click here: Estonia's first movable pedestrian bridge in Tallinn

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Lydia Koidula & the 100 kroon Estonian banknote

A banknote collector recently contacted me with an interesting question. He asked if I had an English translation for the text written on the back of the old 100 kroon Estonian banknote. I must admit I didn't know the answer off the top of my head, but I soon found out!


The extract is taken from the poem 'Unenägu' (Dream) written by Estonian poet Lydia Koidula. 


English translation
United stand the ends of the bridge (Silla otsad ühendatud)
Bearing a single fatherland (Kandes ühte isamaad)
The truth´s temple hallowed … (Tõe templiks pühendatud …)
Dream – when shalt thou become true?! (Nägu – millal tõeks saad?!)

'Unenägu' (Dream) was written by Lydia Koidula in 1881.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Juhan Liiv's poem 'Ta lendab mesipuu poole' (He flies to the beehive)

Juhan Liiv (30 April 1864 - 1 December 1913) is one of Estonia's most famous poets. His poem  'Ta lendab mesipuu poole' (He flies to the beehive) is often sung at the Estonian Song Festive. It's a soul touching song loved by many. The below image features text taken from the first verse.


English translation:

He flies from flower to flower
And flies toward the bee tree;
And the frock shines up -
He flies toward the bee tree.
And thousands also fall on the road:
Thousands are coming home
And they will endeavor and care
And fly to the bee tree.


Juhan Liiv - Ta lendab mesipuu poole (1910)

Ta lendab lillest lillesse
ja lendab mesipuu poole;
ja tõuseb kõuepilv ülesse —
ta lendab mesipuu poole.
Ja langevad teele ka tuhanded:
veel koju jõuavad tuhanded
ja viivad vaeva ja hoole
ja lendavad mesipuu poole.

Kuis süda mul tuksud sa rahuta,
kuis kipud sa isamaa poole!
Kesk kodumaad — siiski nii koduta,
mis ihkad sa tema poole!
kuis püüad sa välja kahtlusest,
kuis ikka leiad sa tema eest,
kuis rõhub rusuja voole
sind, tungides tema poole!

Oh sina, kes oled sa väljamaal,
kuis õhkad sa isamaa poole!
kes väljamaal oled raskel a'al —
kuis ihkad sa tema poole!
Ja puhugu vastu sul surmatuul
ja lennaku vastu surmakuul —
hing tõuseb isamaa poole!

Ei ole sa, süda, väljamaal,
kust ihkaks sa kodu poole.
Sa oled kodu, kesk isamaa raal
ja otsid teed tema poole.
Teed otsin, oh teed otsin ma
ja suren ja ärkan tund tunniga:
kuid kuhu mind viskab ka voole:
hing tõuseb säält sinu poole.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Estonian Youth Song and Dance Festival 2017


So much joy filled the streets of Tallinn over the weekend during the 12th Youth Song and Dance Festival. There were many smiles, flowers, Estonian flags and beautiful clothes seen everywhere that it was easy to get carried away by the amazing atmosphere. 


This year's theme of the Youth Song and Dance Celebration is 'Mina Jään'  - Here I`ll stay.


Nearly 40,000 performers shared their love of song, dance and the Estonian homeland at the festival.


Estonian youth choirs from 17 countries participated in the event.


The beautiful tri-colour Estonian flag waved with pride.


Despite the rain on Saturday and the cancellation of the second show, some dancers decided to carry-on and did a spontaneous performance at Freedom Square. 


Performers range from the age of 7 - 27 years.


The song and dance festival is a truly wonderful Estonian tradition dating back to 1869. In 2019 we will see some more amazing performances at the adult version of the festival. 2019 will mark the 150th anniversary of the Estonian Song Festvial 

If you missed this year's song festival, you can watch it here: