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Better Know A Holiday: St. John's Day (And Eve)

Better Know A Holiday: St. John's Day (And Eve) Jun 24th, 2013 at 1:00PM: f_jensen_at_sdr.vinge, Flickr AKA: Fete Nationale du Quebec (Canada), Kupala Day (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland), Festa Junina (Brazil), Foguera de San Xuan (Brazil), Jaanilaupaev (Estonia), Saint Jonas' Festival (Lithuania), Jani (Latvia), Dia de Sao Joao (Portugal), Sant Joan (Spain), Johnsmas Foy (Scotland) When? June 23 (Eve) and 24 (Day) Public holiday in: Quebec, Canada; Turin,...

5 Countries That Are Great Alternatives To Their Crowded Neighbors

5 Countries That Are Great Alternatives To Their Crowded Neighbors Mar 30th, 2013 at 10:00AM: It's the great hypocrisy in the mind of every traveler that they want to tour a place free from other tourists. Grumbling that a place is overcrowded isn't without grounds, though. Who hasn't wanted to pull a Dr. Manhattan on the tour groups that take group photos with every single person's camera? And boy, what we wouldn't give to disappear the backpackers pretending to make out with statues...

Gifts From Estonia

Gifts From Estonia Mar 6th, 2013 at 12:00PM: When you ditch your wife and kid for a week to go off to Estonia in the middle of the winter, you better bring some cool stuff back. Luckily, it's pretty easy to find interesting gifts from Estonia. I managed to get a variety of low-cost presents that gave them a taste of what the country is like. And I mean "taste" literally. As you can see, I mostly brought back food. Estonian cuisine has...

A Medieval Monastery In Estonia

A Medieval Monastery In Estonia Mar 5th, 2013 at 1:00PM: Estonia had an interesting time in the Middle Ages. Along with the other Baltic States of Lithuania and Latvia, they were the last bastion of paganism in a continent that had become entirely Christian. Various Christian kingdoms decided this was a good excuse for conquest and launched the Northern Crusades. From 1208 to 1224, the Germans, Danes, and Swedes attacked Estonia and eventually...

Chasing The Estonian Army - And Finding A Different One

Chasing The Estonian Army - And Finding A Different One Mar 4th, 2013 at 12:00PM: Machine gun fire thudded through the snowy woods. Mart looked up from the missile shelter we were inspecting; an excited look appeared on his face. "It came from that way, let's go!" He started running through snow up to his calves. I followed. The snow immediately trickled down the tops of my hiking boots, melted and gave my feet a cold bath. I kept running. At least I wasn't wearing...

Eating And Drinking In Estonia

Eating And Drinking In Estonia Feb 28th, 2013 at 1:00PM: I always enjoy dipping into a new cuisine, so when I headed off to Estonia I was curious as to what kind of food I was going to get. Would it be like Russian cuisine? Scandinavian? A bit of both since the country is sandwiched between those two areas? Turns out it's a mix with its own local twist. At least that was my impression. I was only in the country a week and so take all my...

Estonian Art And Literature: Big Ideas In A Small Country

Feb 25th, 2013 at 12:00PM: For a country with only 1.3 million people, Estonia has a hell of an art scene. There are several good museums and galleries and a lively round of readings and exhibition openings. One of the biggest names in the Estonian art scene is Raoul Kurvitz. He's been big for a few decades now, producing a steady output of installation pieces, experimental films and paintings. Right now KUMU, the Art...

A Vintage Submarine And Icebreaker In Tallinn's Seaplane Harbour

A Vintage Submarine And Icebreaker In Tallinn's Seaplane Harbour Feb 22nd, 2013 at 10:00AM: Tallinn has been an important port and Estonia's connection with the world since before recorded history. Because of this, the city has not one, but two museums dedicated to the sea. The Maritime Museum is housed in Fat Margaret, an old cannon tower that once protected the harbor. It has the usual assortment of old photos and gear, along with a very cool exhibit on sunken ships. The other...

The Secret Tunnels Under Tallinn

The Secret Tunnels Under Tallinn Feb 20th, 2013 at 2:00PM: Tallinn is an old city, and like many old cities it has its share of secrets. Stories of ghosts, buried treasure and hidden tunnels add to the atmosphere of the medieval streets. For a couple of years, one of those secrets was revealed when the city opened up the Bastion Tunnels. These corridors were built by Estonia's Swedish rulers in the 1670s and ran under the earthen bastions that...

Exploring A Snowy Traditional Village In Estonia

Exploring A Snowy Traditional Village In Estonia Feb 18th, 2013 at 1:00PM: After so many years living in Spain, it was nice to visit Estonia and experience a real winter again. That numbness on the tip of your nose while the rest of your body is bundled up and warm, the way sounds get muffled by the snow, the intricate designs the icy branches etch into the sky – winter is a good season when you don't have to experience it for too long. The best way to...

Tallinn's Medieval Old Town

Tallinn's Medieval Old Town Feb 18th, 2013 at 10:00AM: Tallinn is a medieval wonderland. The capital of Estonia isn't on a lot of people's bucket list but anyone at all interested in history, architecture or art will love this place. The central attraction is Old Town, a medieval walled city filled with old buildings and fortifications. The sheltered bay and the easily defended Toompea Hill made it a natural place to settle. Sometime about 1050...

Naughty Bilingual Sign In Tallinn Airport, Estonia

Naughty Bilingual Sign In Tallinn Airport, Estonia Feb 17th, 2013 at 2:00PM: I think I'm going to like Estonia ... This country of 1.3 million people only has a little more than 900,000 people who speak Estonian as their native language yet they're confident enough with their national tongue to make a bilingual joke right as you enter the airport in the capital city of Tallinn. Language was politics in the old Soviet republics, and for the long decades during which...

Celebrating Chinese New Year In Estonia

Celebrating Chinese New Year In Estonia Feb 11th, 2013 at 12:00PM: When you think of Chinese New Year, the snowy capital of Estonia isn't the first place you think of for celebrating it. Yet Tallinn put on a big show to greet the new year as part of their annual Fire and Ice Festival. The Chinese community in Tallinn is pretty small, but the Chinese embassy is reaching out to this Baltic state and helped fund a grandiose program of entertainment to welcome...

Gadling Gear Review: ioSafe Rugged Portable hard drive

Gadling Gear Review: ioSafe Rugged Portable hard drive Dec 29th, 2011 at 11:00AM: 2011 may go down as (yet another) "year of the cloud", but that doesn't mean the cloud is the solution to everything. On my travels, I rely on Dropbox, Google Music, Amazon Music and Sugarsync to provide instant access to my files, but the "instant" part relies heavily on having access to reliable and speedy Internet access. Since speedy Internet can be just as hard to find in downtown Las...

Tallinn, Estonia, to open secret tunnels crossing the medieval Old Town

Tallinn, Estonia, to open secret tunnels crossing the medieval Old Town Oct 8th, 2011 at 11:00AM: Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is one of Europe's most beautiful medieval cities, and it's getting an increasing number of visitors. Starting next year there will be more to see as the city opens up secret tunnels from the 17th century connecting the city wall, shown above, to the rest of the Old Town. Parts of the walkway along the medieval walls will also be opened and some of the wall...

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