Estonia: Maria & Jaan

It was so great to see Maria again after six years! Maria and I met when we were both studying abroad in Shanghai. Maria and her boyfriend, Jaan, are Estonian. There are 1.3 million people living in Estonia, and about 1/4 of the population is Russian. That means there are only about 1 million Estonians in Estonia. Do you have an Estonian friend? Ha! I do. Now I have Estonian friends plural. Get your own Estonian friends.

Estonia has made its way to become, hands down, one of my favorite countries. Estonians seem to have they same humor as me! Also note I shattered my camera lens the day before I arrived in Tallinn, so my mood was very somber to begin with. And still Tallinn was amazing! Let me try to explain!

Tallinn was the first city I’ve been to where I fell in love with the tourists. We shared laughs together after ascending the stairs of St. Olaf’s church (it was so brutal). Everyone is so friendly, both the locals and the tourists! Also, the tourists in Tallinn are short and stubby. I feel like I’m in a cartoon I’ve drawn myself.

They have a tower called Fat Catherine.

I cut off a middle-aged woman when walking and she merely went, “Mmmm,” and tried to walk around me.

Then there was the ‘Pen Incident’ at the Tallinn Town Wall. I was signing my name in the guestbook and I accidentally dropped the pen through a crack in the table. I asked the worker to help me retrieve it. He mumbled and descended a dark staircase and grabbed another pen that wasn’t the one I was using. Turns out people keep dropping pens into that crack and no one’s bothered to fix it! The guy must be used to people dropping pens and having to descending into the dark staircase to fetch them. Also, when paying my entrance fee, I told him I might have exact change (instead of giving him a large bill), to which he danced around in his chair. Turns out I didn’t, and he mumbled something and then gave me change for the large bill.

When I was at BocaPott Cafe, the server asked me if I play the piano and I told her I played for eleven years. She said she knew it because I had beautiful hands! First time I got complimented on my hands; usually people say I have alien hands.

Lastly, every restaurant and shop I visited seems to be playing jazz, which I love!

In any case, none of the photos below are of Tallinn. Surprisingly I have very few photos of what I’d now consider to be one of my favorite cities. Instead, the photos below are of other parts of Estonia, mostly Tartu and Lake Peipus. I’ll guide you through them, because there are so many. Let’s go!

Maria and Jaan took me to some cool castle where this woman wore these really epic traditional clothes. I do not have photos of her, but she was cool.

Here we see Jaan speaking to someone from RMK; they manage the Estonian state forests. We’re getting ready to go camping at Lake Peipus!

We are eating onion stuff because we are close to onion farms.

I think this is part of Lake Peipus! Part of the lake is in Estonia and the other half is in Russia.

The sign says that they have the best burger in town because it is the only burger in town. Ha!

Here’s the burger without the patty. It was good!

We’ve arrived and set up our tents!

These flies were everywhere! They bit us and it hurt. Maria and I are also really sensitive to mosquito bites, and the mosquitoes – in addition to these pesky flies – ate us alive!

I am so happy! I am camping in Estonia!

I am so much cooler than you.

Why does the lake look like an ocean??

That’s Russia on the other side of the lake! You can see the Russian flag.

We’ve now arrived at the Pühtitsa Convent. This is where all the nuns live!

Nun clothes hanging out to dry!

I’m getting NUN WATER with a pail!!

The Kotka hiking trail. Incredibly beautiful marshland. If you fall off the trail you DIE. Ha! Nah, but you’ll get messed up and drown and DIE.

Jaan is testing the marsh. He is going to DIE.

So supposedly these little trailers sell really good smoked fish.

A BBQ with more Estonians! Half the population of Estonia is here. There are more photos of a second BBQ here.

Jaan is cooking soy patties for Maria and I! They were scrumptious.

The Tartu Cathedral is pretty epic.

This is Gunpowder Cellar, or Püssirohukelder, and it has the highest pub ceiling in the world!!

Very cool street food thing happening here in Tartu. Tons of vegan and vegetarian options. Very very cool.


This thing was scary and I did not like it.

We ate Korean Bimbimbap.

This kid is kneeing the child’s penis.

Maria and Jaan are imitating the Kissing Students statue at the center of Tartu.

Maria & Jaan didn’t want to go with me to this upside down house thing, so I went by myself. I got dizzy and left.

Okay thanks for following me through my travels in Estonia. And a HUGE thanks to Maria and Jaan for hosting me and taking good care of me. I had some of my best traveling experiences with you guys! Bye!