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ESTONIA - JULY 2003

Haapsalu is my hometown. It's 100km south-west from Tallinn and has a population of around 14,000.
It's a tiny town, not as exciting as Tallinn, but perfect for walks and bikes...

I spent my first week there with my mom and my nieces Magda and Johanna.

www.haapsalu.ee

James on the streets of Haapsalu.

 

Johanna and I in my mom's apartment in Haapsalu.

 

Magda and Johanna showing off their flexibility.

 

Madga, mom and Johanna in the castle in Haapsalu.

 

Same place, same people. (Magda is in green, Johanna in blue)

 
 

Madga doing the splits (yikes :)

 

Magda and my cat (now mom's) Chica in mom's balcony.

 

Magda and Johanna playing cards with Chica.

 

Magda and Johanna riding bikes.

 

Mom's two bikes. I had the pleasure of riding one for a few days around Haapsalu, it was a great "weight traning" experience.

 

Paralepa Beach in Haapsalu. Water was 13C that day - warm enough for swimming for Estonians. I didn't try :) (especially since the sky was looking a bit stormy)


We spent most of our holidays in Tallinn -- a little blurb from Yahoo Travel:

"The capital of Estonia is considered one of the best preserved medieval cities in northern Europe. Its charming Old Town survived the
Soviets, as well as the country's occupation by the Danish and Swedish empires (among others). Today, the city is an important port on the
Gulf of Finland and a popular stop for cruise ships."



 


A narrow passage called Katariina Käik in Tallinn.

 

Entrance to the old town.

 

Building called the Three Sisters (it was being renovated when we were there, so I found this picture online)

 

A souvenir shop near the main town square.

 

Just a few buildings.

 

Me and my host mom Irene from St Louis. She spends her summers in Latvia and we usually manage to catch up when I'm in Estonia.

 

Marko (my brother in law), James and I with a statue of Kalevipoeg in Nõmme forest. Kalevipoeg is the main
character in Estonian national epic by the same name.

Read more about Kalevipoeg, if interested...

 

   

Same forest, different sculpture... not sure what the story is there :)

 

 

My good friend Karin with her little daughter Lisette.

 


Õllesummer 2003 - Beer Summer 2003

A beer festival something like the Oktoberfest in Munich, last a few days each summer. This picture was taken of the display saunas with a group of brave Estonians
testing out the facilities :)

 

Concert of an Estonian band called Genialistid. This show was of old childrens' songs from the 1960s and 1970s - all redone for the modern age.
It was very groovy, everyone sang along, hundreds of people at midnight... probably under the influence of alcohol since noon.

 

Same band, new background dancers - my nieces' dance group... They had a blast dancing in front of all the thousands of people close to 11:30 in the evening.

 

Jana (my sister) and I at Õllesummer.


A couple of pictures taken in Viljandi. My uncle has a farm 15 km from the town. We visited them for a day...
Forgot to take any pictures of the farm with the digital camera :)

 

 

 

On our way back from Viljandi, we stopped at this lake where James had his first swimming experience (his head is the one on the left, the right one is my brother in law, Marko).
Picture taken around 8pm.


Sometime during our holidays we spend a couple of days on the island of Saaremaa -
www.saaremaa.ee

It's a beautiful island with a lot of juniper trees and beautiful lakes. The Finns and the Swedes
seem to love it especially, they have bought up many apartments in the capital (biggest town)
Kuressaare, taking real estate prices as high as they are in Tallinn.

Karujärv (Bear Lake) in Saaremaa. We spent a few hours there... swimming a few times, improving our tan a bit, eating a few ice creams. I guess this is what holidays are made of :)

 


Kaali meterorite crater - from approx. 3000 BC

 

In the castle in Kuressaare (capital of Saaremaa)

 

Jana & Marko

 

James, Liina, Jana, Aive (my cousin), Alvar (her husband)

 

Eating breakfast at Aive and Alvar's place.

 

 

Aive and Alvar have a strawberry farm :) We picked and ate strawberries at least three times a day. I can't remember the last time I've tasted strawberries as yummy as these.

 

After sauna in Saaremaa. Somehow Marko thought it'd be funny to capture my red face on film...

 
Chica fell asleep reading the paper again...