Friday, 27 May 2016

Trio for Rio set to make history: Estonian triplets head to Olympics

Leila, Liina and Lily Luik from Estonia will make Olympics history when they cross the start line for the women's marathon in Rio.

Twins competing in the same event is not uncommon at the Olympic level. But the Luiks are believed to be the first identical triplets to compete against each other.

The blond, blued-eyed sisters from the southern Estonian university town of Tartu, now 30 years old, only took up serious distance running when they were 24.

To read the full Reuters article, please click here: Trio for Rio

First packaging-free store in Estonia opens in Pärnu I ERR NEWS

Two young Pärnu residents recently opened Estonia’s first packaging-free store, where customers buying groceries and cosmetics must bring along their own appropriate bottles, jars, baggies or containers from home. If anyone forgets, however, they can purchase a container from the store if needed.

To read the full ERR News article, please click here: Paljas Pala

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Estonia's New National Branding is 'Just Estonishing'

Some time ago, Estonia went in search of a new national brand and Dutch marketing expert Peter Kentie came up with the new innovative 'Just Estonishing' concept focusing on the word 'est'. The use of the English superlative 'est' highlights all the best things Estonia has to offer. Kentie spent much time researching Estonia and its people to capture the essence of the nation.

To read more about Peter Kentie and his great job in rebranding Estonia, please click here

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Ott Lepland's new single "Sinine safiir" (Blue Sapphire)

I've liked Ott Lepland's work for a while now. I was so glad to finally see him perform live in Ostrova last year. He put on a great show. Here is his latest single Sinine safiir. Check it out!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Austria has a new President and he's Estonian!

Austrians saw a major shake-up in their recent presidential election. Neither of the two main parties secured enough votes to field candidates and the two main contenders came from relative political obscurity. The winner won by an extraordinarily narrow margin of 0.6%.  Independent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen was declared the winner today and will become the new President of Austria. There hasn't been an Independent leader in Austria since the Second World War. 

People abroad may be unaware of Van der Bellen's Estonian background. His mother was Estonian and his father's family of Dutch origin had lived in Russia until the Russian revolution in 1917, after which they fled to newly independent Estonia. His father Alexander became an Estonian citizen in 1934 and his family would probably have remained living there had it not been for the invasion and annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union in 1941. Like many Estonian families who fled their country due the Soviet occupation, Van der Bellen's family spent several years living in a displaced persons camp (DP camp) before making a new life elsewhere. 

Alexander Van der Bellen is a retired economics professor from the University of Vienna who then went on to pursue a career in politics. He was a member of the Green Party before becoming an Independent.

Alexander's mother lived in Graniidi Street.

To learn more click here

Three Days in Krakow

My youngest brother has been living in Poland for the past five months and I thought it was time I should visit him. As we have Estonian grandparents, we are automatically considered Estonian citizens at birth therefore eligible for EU Estonian passports. My brother obtained his Estonian passport last year and it has since opened up the world to him. Whilst most of his Australian friends have restrictions when travelling in Europe, he can work and live in the European Union for as long as he wants.  Now based in Krakow, my brother has done a lot of travelling, made many new friends and even has a new Polish girlfriend. Life is good for him right now. 

I decided to spend three days with my brother in Poland to see how he was getting on. I have been to Krakow a few times before but it comes in handy when you have a local showing you around. He showed me all the highlights of the city. We had such a great time!

Estonian passports.
Dual citizenship comes in handy when you are born in Australia.

Krakow Town Square.
The city comes alive in spring.

Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)
Located in the main square, the market has lots of interesting gifts on offer.

If you want to try traditional Polish food, then visit Kuchnia u Babci Maliny. 
(Grandmother's place)

Poland is a very Catholic country and Krakow has many beautiful churches.
I was in Krakow during Pentecost  Sunday and was surprised to see so many churchgoers. 
Every church I passed was full of people, 
I even saw people standing in church doorways just to take part in the service.

Oskar Schindler's factory.
A must when visiting Krakow. 

It is interesting to note that the film 'Schindler's List' is based on the book 'Schindler's Ark' written by the Australian author Thomas Keneally. For years Keneally has lived in the same Sydney suburb as me and a few times I've seen him in the same cafe whilst I've been out for breakfast with my family. I think it's great that Keneally's powerful book of survival and heroism has led to many people discovering the beautiful city of Krakow. The city has so much history and culture.   

Oskar Schindler's office.

Three days was definitely not long enough to spend in Krakow. Hopefully I'll be back there again soon!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Popular names in Estonia 2011 - 2015

The Estonian statistics office recently released a list of the most popular names in Estonia between 2011- 2015. The names Martin and Anna appear to be a continuing favourite whilst traditional Estonian names such as Helja, Metta, Ado and Ennu are on the decline. 

Sunday, 8 May 2016


Kes on meie ema?
Koristaja on me ema -
kraamib tube, kraamib kööki.
Samal ajal kokk on tema -
kogu perele teeb sööki.
Ärkad vahel enne koitu,
märkad: ema keedab toitu!

Veel on ema õpetaja -
koos meil tähed selgeks saavad.
Ema arstki on, kui vaja -
ravib terveks muhud - haavad.
Kui me grippi jäime talvel,
istus öösitigi valvel...
Ema õmblejaks on meile -
uued pluusid temalt saime,
vanad puhtaks pesti eile -
ema oli pesunaine.
Peseb - kraamib päeval - öölgi -
on meil virk ja väle ta.
Peale selle käib ta töölgi,
aga kus - ei mäleta...

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Dinner in the Sky Tallinn 2016

A table of 22 people suspended 50 metres off the ground, what an interesting way to experience a meal. Dinner in the Sky will take place at Vanasadam Tallinn from the 15 - 21 July 2016. 

For more information please refer to the official website:

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Estonia is the 8th greenest country in the world according to the Environmental Performance Index (EPI)

Earlier this year Yale University released its 2016 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) report naming Finland as the greenest country in the world. Iceland and Sweden came a close second and third respectively with Estonia in 8th place.  Somalia was ranked last at 180.

To read the EPI full report, please click here:

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Estonian birthday poem

Last month I was thrilled to fly back to Sydney and spend my birthday with my family. It's been 4 and a half years since I was last in Sydney so naturally there was a big family reunion! It was wonderful to see all my nieces and nephews again after so many years and to finally meet the three new additions to my family.  I absolutely love being called Aunty 'Tun-Tun'. It was a nickname given to me in 2005 when my nephew Dylan couldn't pronounce my name properly.  

During my party my sister Roma played a prank on me when the time came to present me with my gift. She said everyone in the family had contributed to buy an extremely rare custom-made gift from Estonia. Naturally I was the edge of my seat with anticipation! When I opened the box everyone had a good laugh as it was not that at all but a wooden necklace with my name on it. After my disappointment subsided my sister gave me my real gift - a beautiful ruby ring. I was thrilled! It's something I have wanted for a long time.  A gift that will last a lifetime.

It was wonderful seeing my family again but there was one person missing on my special day. I will see him next week when I visit Poland. Can't wait!