This Saturday I head out with Hubster and our two little girls (one is almost 8, the other 5) on a trip that’s been nearly a decade in the making. We’re going to visit my Mother-in-Law’s hometown of Tallinn, Estonia.
Well, truth be told I’m sure she considers Toronto her hometown (you surely didn’t know this, but Toronto is home to the largest population of Estonians outside of Estonia). But that’s not really relevant to this story.
No, the fact is, she was born in Tallinn; fleeing with her recently-widowed mother (and 70,000 other terrified civilians) in 1944 when Nazi and Soviet troops clashed in Estonia. And her mother always retained strong ties to her family and community back in Estonia – through the dark years of Soviet occupation and the uncertain times of the bloodless Singing Revolution until this summer, when she passed away peacefully.
It had always been Granny’s wish to take her grandchildren and great-grandchildren back to Estonia to teach them about their heritage. But her health unfortunately deteriorated and she decided instead that it would be her legacy to sponsor a trip for all her descendants. So now we’re preparing for that trip – the main part of which is to honour her at a memorial service.
I know, I know. You’ve probably heard of Estonia (or think it sounds familiar) but you don’t know where it is. So let me put it in perspective:
Tallinn is nicely tucked in right across the sea from Helsinki, and Estonia’s actually considered more Scandinavian than Baltic or Soviet. The language is of the Finno-Ugric group, and very close ties have been maintained with Finland and Sweden throughout Estonia’s history.
We’ll spend a week in Estonia, mostly in Tallinn, the capital city. We’re hoping to spend the time immersed in the local culture and cuisine (I am heartily afraid of the disproportionately large percentage of herring – I hate fish), picking up some of the language along the way.
We’re going to fly first to London (yes, again!) to visit my sister and her hubby – partly because it was a lot cheaper, and partly to break the flights up a bit. We’ll spend a few days in London, then head off to Tallinn, then back to London for a few more days.
All in all, we’ll be gone 14 days, and this time, I’m going to write about the Esto cuisine, since I already covered the English grub in April.
Just don’t expect me to try the herring!