bike tour / Estonian history / maritime museum / market. opera / Ribe / Tallinn

MAKING THE MOST OF IT! (days eight to twelve)

My dear Michael suffers from a condition called MDS, Myelodysplasia.  One of the results is that he is immunosuppressed and  has outbreaks of horrendous mouth ulcers.  I am not just talking the tiny things that you or I would have.  These are 2-3cm wide and very deep. They are very painful and take a long time to go away.  He had recently been started on antiviral medication to keep them at bay but unfortunately he had an outbreak on holiday.

By day seven, he was suffering pretty badly.  His lip and cheek were swollen up, he was in a lot of pain and could not eat.  He was limited to yoghurt and water through a straw.  Even more annoying for him when he was surrounded by wonderful new tastes and foods. So he was pretty miserable and frankly grumpy.  Making my trip difficult as well.

We tried to get a flight homefor him, but it seems flights to Manchester or Liverpool are only twice a week, so we had no choice but to stick it out and make the most of things.

The tourist information were very good at arranging some medical attention, but he needed to see his own haematologist at home for treatment.

In addition, I too was beginning to  feeling unwell, VERY tired, headache and achey.  I am not sure what caused this.  I had been badly bitten by insects, at some point, on my legs, neck and arms.  Maybe this was the cause of my fatigue but I slept a lot.

Still we tried to make the best of things. I ate some good food. but it is not a lot of fun when the person you are with is unable to eat the food too.
an amuse bouche of gazpaccio and flavoured butters with wonderful local bread.

this is white fish from Pardu, with vegeatables a some sort of “foam”.  delicious but I though it looked ridiculous on this oversized plate. 
 I finished with local cheese with walnuts chutney and toast.

  I went on a cycle ride to hear the history of the time that Estonia was part of the Soviet union. I saw the grey utilitarian Soviet apartment blocks where the workers lived and the sadly neglected memorial to the fallen Russian troops.

Our guide looked about twelve but was actually 25.  She was excellent, entertaining and knowledgeable.

Soviet apartment blocks built for the workers with small kitchens and bathrooms as the  workers were thought to spend most of their time at work.  Now privately owned.

  I heard the inspirational voices of mass choirs rehearsing at the Song festival ground….a place that inspired a peaceful  revolution.   I saw the presidential Palace,  guarded by TWO soldiers only! We visited Russian Zsar palaces and gardens and the newly opened Marine museum where a proud young guide took us  inside a submarine,
The Daleks are alive and well and living in Tallinn!
36 men lived in this small space 
 The officers mess

they slept on drop down bunks above the explosives!

We  visited the interesting market at the rear of the Train station, with it’s abundant  meat, fish, cheese and charcuterie halls, clothes stalls, hardwares and a second hand market.  Like all markets the prices here were cheaper and we understood how people exist on the average salary of 500euro per month.

I love that you can even buy headstones here.

price of fish.

 I also took the free walking tour around the old town to hear more older  history of Estonia and look over the amazing city.  I heard how the KGB bugged every room in the Sakos Viru hotel, built for the 1972 Olympics and left their 23rd floor offices within 12 hours when communism collapsed. This is now a museum.

Briefly….as I understand it, … Estonia had been invaded over the centuries by Germans, Danes, Swedes and  Russians.  Then in 1918 the Estonians fought a war against the Russians  and declared themselves independent on 24th February 1919….a very important date.

However in 1940  the Russian Soviets sent troops and navy to Estonia to “protect” them from the advancing German Facist army.  This was seen as an invasion by Estonians and a lot of Estonian politicians and intelligentsia who were seen as a threat to the Soviets were departed to Siberia by the Stalin..

The Facist Germans than invaded Estonia shortly afterwards and stayed until 1944 when the Russians again “liberated” Estonia.  One of the great resentment of the Estonians is that the Soviets are alleged to have carried out the bombing of Tallinn on 9th and 10th March 1944 causing death injury and great damage to the city.  Amazingly most of the old town was preserved but the Russians have never admitted responsibly for this raid.

Estonia then again became part of the Soviet union, collectivising farming and industrialising the country. Imposing a repressive regime on the people and importing thousands of Russian workers who still live in Estonia and who,  it would seem, are now  presenting difficulties. There seem to be ethnic tensions.   Several times we were told the situation with the Russians who live in Estonia was “very complicated”.

Another mass deportation to Siberia, of Estonians who presented any perceived threat to the regime, took place in 1949.

With the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union. Estonia again took it’s independence and has been an independent free market country for 21 years.

The Estonians seem very proud of their country.  They seem to have a great work ethic and are trying very hard.  They joined the euro in 2011, but thier economy seems to be doing well despite the recession and problems with the euro..
For our last night Michael had bought tickets for the Opera at the Lovely Opera house.  We were not going to miss that. So drugged up with pain killers we sat enthralled through a three hour performance of Carmen.

Nowhere was the reserved character of the Estonians illustrated better than at the Opera.  Michael got told off by the usher for gently tapping his hand on his knee in time to the music.LOL!  The Estonian around us sat stony faced through the stirring music and passionate story of jealousy, betrayal and revenge .  We could hardly contain ourselves,and the Americans behind us, did burst into applause at some points but at the end all the cast and orchestra got was muted applause! 

As soon as we arrived in the UK, Michael went straight to the local hospital  Now following treatment he has had his first solid food and a warm drink today,  his mood is much improved….and so is mine LOL!

Love from Bolton.



7 thoughts on “MAKING THE MOST OF IT! (days eight to twelve)

  1. Oh, Denise! I'm so sorry to hear that Michael and you weren't feeling well in Estonia. But please do explain why he was wearing the dashing hat in the first photo – part of the treatment for MDS or was he planning to commandeer a ship to take him back to the UK? Lots and lots of interesting information in this post. I've never understood how men can survive in a submarine. I would get claustrophobic after a day. When we toured a sub in the USA, the sailors explained that their skin goes a funny shade of white after months without sunshine. Submariners are in a class by themselves. And sleeping on top of explosives – I would have nightmares.Big hugs from Paris – I'm happy to hear that you're safely back home. Rest and get better!Mary Kay


  2. LOL!Mary Kay….At the Maritime museum there was a display of uniforms and Michael took the Admirals hat and put it on, in a vain attempt to be cheery, as he has a large head and hats never fit! You can see the pain on his face…. think at that point, even 28 days in a submarine to get home seemed attractive!.. However the good news is that he has lost about two stone in weight (28lbs) which he really needed to do.I think the guide said they had to surface every 36 hours, but the sailors spent months in the submarine in the very cramped conditions. It's a wonder they didn't go mad, or kill each other! Michael is now having daily injections of some drug to boost his white cells, which he has responded to very well and seem to be giving him a new lease of life. I need to watch out, he might be chasing me around the garden soon! LOL! Love Denise


  3. I'm so sorry to hear you and Michael were unwell in Estonia, I really admire the way you still went out and about visiting museums, bike rides and attending the opera! Thanks as well for the interesting history lesson, it's fascinating. Many years ago a friend took me on a tour of a sub – half an hour was enough for me, I couldn't wait to get off!Glad you're both feeling better now, we'll have to arrange an afternoon tea soon before you disappear to Paris again!Love Janet


  4. Michael lost 28 pounds! Wow! In such a "short" (not to Michael) time too…I am glad he is feeling better and cute of him to sport the Admiral's hat (photo). But yes, having him not be able to eat and not feel well,is especially unfortunate during a holiday and would indeed make it difficult for you as well (and then you weren't feeling that great (mysteriously) also l! Nonetheless….a bike ride! Wow! Tours (the sub …wow…not a place I would enjoy for long) and opera…wonderful.I also very much appreciate reading what you wrote about the situation (economic and otherwise) and history of Estonia…the latter especially as to Russia. Very interesting indeed. Yes, I suppose the situation with Russians in Estonia is "very complicated". Sigh.


  5. So sorry to hear your husband was feeling poorly. It's terrible to have to go through that on vacation.Sounds like he enjoyed himself at the opera. What a pretty venue. I would like to see Carmen one day.Glad you were still able to enjoy yourself. Estonia looks like a beautiful place.


  6. Pingback: THE BEST CHIP SHOP IN THE WORLD….. | denisefrombolton

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