Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Parnu to Tallinn

We drove from Parnu up to Tallinn. The route is filled with speed cameras and mostly courteous drivers. We returned the car to the airport. Then we walked to what I call Hotel YouLemmeStay. It's a 4 star hotel, but the staff seems to have never heard of a microwave and especially not for guest use.

We went to the nearby mall. I was impressed. It was huge and there were numerous electronics stores. I was ecstatic to find a free water closet. Then we walked to Kadriorg Park. It wasn't as easy as it could have been.

On route, tracks are being laid, possibly for a tram. A new huge entertainment complex is just beginning to be built. The construction was hard on the scooter. Then there was a pedestrian overpass. With a lot of a lot stairs. We took a long detour around the stairs.

We made it to Kadriorg Park. We realized that you can pretty much walk right up to President Toomas Hendrick Ilves's front door. That door is being guarded by two goofy soldiers. We speculated that they were the B Team since the president was out of the country. We knew because there was no flag above the presidential palace.

Ilves- who is in Tblisi, Georgia- is a vocal critic of recent Russian agression. Some pundits believe that the Baltics are under threat from Russia. Ilves has called for permanent NATO troops in Estonia as a deterrent to Russia. Currently, NATO is honoring a 1997 agreement with Russia to not station troops permanently in the region although there have been troops temporarily placed and NATO military exercises in the Baltics.

Estonians proudly display their flag much more than the two other Baltic states. This is not only nationalism, but there is a sense of ethnic pride. The large Russian minority have endured discrimination although economic inequality between Estonians and Russians has decreased. Some argue that Estonia could be in Vladimir Putin's plans for a Greater Russia. President Ilves believes that Estonia's Russians would rather stay in Estonia because wages and the standard of living are much higher.

The book store at the mall had a much bigger section of Russian-language books than English books, but was still a paltry amount compared to the Estonian selection.

The walk to and around the beautiful Kadriorg Park drained the scooter's baterry and there was some pushing involved. This scooter has a mechanism that protects it from rolling down a hill. So it locks when any speed is built. We made it back to the hotel and have been relaxing since.

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