Monday, 28 November 2016

Rakvere produces another outstanding Christmas tree

In recent years the city of Rakvere has become famous for its annual Christmas tree. This year creative minds joined forces once more to produce another finely crafted Christmas tree resembling the Eiffel Tower. The tree made form spruce features many gears and cogs enabling it to move and change colour. 

Delfi News has released a video and photo gallery for you to learn more: Rakvere Christmas Tree

Friday, 25 November 2016

A pleasant weekend in Tallinn

I last visited Estonia in early September. I was there during the Tallinn Marathon weekend and managed to catch up with a few relatives, do a bit of shopping as well as watch some of the events. It was nice being in Tallinn whilst the marathon was on as the city was teeming with activity. As I walked through the streets I kept hearing announcements spoken in Estonian on the loud speaker, (not something I hear everyday) and it just made me feel good. It was a really nice weekend away.

Tallinn Marathon . Freedom Square.

Whenever I visit Tallinn I like to do something new. Over the years I have explored many wonderful places but there is still so much to see. For example, I have walked past the Town Hall building dozens of times but have never gone inside.  This time I did and it was well worth the visit.

Inside Tallinn's Town Hall

Tallinn's Town Hall building contains many finely crafted items such as tapestries, paintings 
and ornate wooden furniture. Really stunning.

Old meeting room.

Old visitors books. Tzar Nicholas II is mentioned.

St. Nicholas church is another place I  had yet to explore properly I have photographed the exterior of the building so many times yet never went inside. I can now tick that off my 'to do' list.

Now officially a museum, St. Nicholas church contains some of Estonia's 
most precious works of art. 

No trip to Tallinn is complete without a visit to Fat Margaret Tower and it's another one of those places I have walked past and photographed countless times yet never went inside. I made a point of doing so during this trip.

Fat Margaret Tower is now part of the Estonian Maritime Museum.
For a small fee visitors can explore the multi level museum then walk up to 
the roof level and gain a great view of the city and port.

I have visited the Danish King's Garden several times over the years but it was only recently that I became aware of its history. According to legend, this is the spot where the Danish flag fell from the sky during Danish invasion in 1219. This event turned the course of the battle in favour of King Valdemar II.

The Danish King's Garden is famous for its monk sculptures.

Interesting fact: every year on 15 July, Dannebrog or the Day of the Danish Flag 
is celebrated in the garden.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Primary school education in Estonia ranked eighth best in the world

According to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, Estonia’s primary education system ranks eighth in the world.

The Global Competitiveness Report looks at data on different areas in almost every country on earth and then compiles the data into a picture of the economy for those countries. Then, they are ranked according to the 12 pillars of competitiveness, which include health and primary education, the macro-economic environment, the efficiency of the labour market, infrastructure, and so on.

To read the full Estonian World article, please click here: 

Monday, 21 November 2016

Jüri Ratas Confirmed as the New Prime Minister of Estonia

The Riigikogu confirmed Center Party chairman Jüri Ratas as Estonia’s new prime minister on Monday. Ratas was confirmed with 53 votes in favor. Of the members of parliament present, 33 voted against the new government. There were seven abstentions.

To read the full ERR News article, please click here: Jüri Ratas confirmed prime minister

Sunday, 20 November 2016

President Kaljulaid tasks Jüri Ratas with forming new government

Looks like Jüri Ratas is set to be the next Prime Minister of Estonia.

President Kersti Kaljulaid met with Centre Party chairman Jüri Ratas in Kadriorg today. Kaljulaid said that she was convinced Ratas would be able to form the country’s next government.

To read the full ERR news article, please click here: President Kaljulaid tasks Jüri Ratas with forming new government

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Christmas Markets Report 2016: Tallinn among the 11 most affordable cities in Europe for a festive weekend break

Christmas Markets Barometer

If you are planning a break in Europe to visit a Christmas Market, the best advice is to head to the Baltic where prices are cheapest.  As the countdown to Christmas gets underway Post Office Travel Money’s annual Christmas Markets Barometer reveals that prices for tourist items are still great value, despite the weaker pound, and designer goods may be cheaper than in the UK.

Key findings include:

Tallinn – capital of Baltic State Estonia - is this year’s bargain choice for a Christmas Markets break out of 11 European cities surveyed, thanks to a combination of cheap packages and reasonable prices for food and drink in the city

It is a clean sweep for Eastern European cities with Riga, another Baltic capital, in the runner-up spot and Prague third cheapest.

Budapest is lowest-priced when it comes to meals, snacks and drinks costs, but pricier packages push the Hungarian capital down to sixth place. Munich and Lille in Western Europe have move ahead of Budapest.

Savvy shoppers could shave a third off the cost of an Apple iPad Air 2 by buying it in Munich or Vienna instead of the UK, and picking up a 100 ml bottle of Marc Jacobs ‘Daisy’ Eau de Toilette in Budapest reaps a saving of over 45% (£35).

To read the full report, please click here: Christmas Markets Report 2016

Monday, 14 November 2016

Estonia Ranked No.1 in the World for Internet Freedom

Great result! Despite the fact that internet freedom has declined for the sixth consecutive year across the globe, this is definitely not the case in Estonia. In Estonia the government interferes in citizen's lives as little as possible.

To read the full Freedom House report, please click here: Freedom on the Net 2016

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Happy Father's Day! Head Isadepäeva!

In Estonia, Father's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in November. On this day I will be thinking of my dear father in Australia and wish all other fathers a wonderful day!  If you would like to make your father a tasty treat for Father's Day, here are some ideas from the Nami-Nami website. Isadepaevalauale

Here's an interesting fact for Father's Day. According to Statistics Estonia, the average age of a man at the time of his first child's birth has risen from 28 years in 1989 to 33 years in 2015. That's a five year increase from one generation to the next.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Tallinn Christmas Market 18.11.2016 – 07.01.2017

The dates for the world famous Tallinn Christmas market have been released. The Christmas market located in Tallinn's Town Hall Square on Raekoja Plats will be open every day from 18th November 2016 until 7th January 2017. Opening hours are 10 am to 7 pm and hot Christmas drinks are available until 11 pm.

Stallholders will be offering a broad range of handicrafts not found in regular shops and local caterers will be offering Estonian Christmas cuisine ranging from black blood pudding and sour cabbage to ginger breads and warm, invigorating Christmas drinks.

Now that Estonia's national airline Nordica has teamed up with the Polish carrier LOT, it is even easier get a direct flight to Tallinn than ever before! 

For more information about the Christmas market, please click here: Tallinn Christmas market

Thursday, 3 November 2016

National identity card for Australians? Digital government lessons from Estonia

As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s digital transformation agenda gathers pace and renewed urgency in the wake of the botched 2016 Census and the new Digital Transformation Agency gets going, the PM would be wise to seek a meeting with government tech heads in Estonia, where 99 per cent of the country’s services are accessible online.

Anna Piperal is the Managing Director of E-Estonia Showroom, a government-funded investment agency that travels the world showcasing Estonia’s digital prowess and its achievements, marking it out as one the most successful e-societies on Earth.

Ms Piperal was recently a keynote speaker at Civica Expo in Sydney but took time out to speak to Government News about how Australia could learn from how Estonia has transformed itself into an exemplar of digital government.

To read the full Government News article, please click here:
National identity card for Australians? Digital government lessons from Estonia

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

How to correctly pronounce Estonian vowels (a e i o u õ ä ö ü)

When it comes to learning Estonian, people often have trouble correctly pronouncing the vowels. Some are long in length whilst others are short then there are the vowels that native English speakers are simply not used to.  If you need a bit of help, here's a good video that will not only help you with the vowel sounds but increase your vocabulary as well. Enjoy!