Sunday, May 31, 2009

Three days of Sunshine

Summer has unofficially arrived in Estonia, with three straight days of unbelievable sunshine.
Off course three days doesn't make a summer but its a great start and for the last few days the sun hasn't gone down until nearly midnight and at no time does it go completely dark.

Yesterday we spent the night in the countryside in a small village called Naistevälja. In many ways it's typical of any far flung Irish village with a group of houses hosting the same families for countless generations surrounded by an army of green fields. However unlike the typical Irish village, this villages was bathed in sunshine and even I managed to get a tan and no I don't mean lobster red.
The bonfire burnt ferociously, the food was sizzlingly and the beer tasted ever so sweet.

Now im back in Tallinn the sun is still shining, but without that cooling country breeze.
The countryside would have been idyllic had it not been for the mosquitoes that seemed to devote their very existance to bite the hell out of me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Three Days in Riga

Tiiu and I went to Riga, Latvia on Sunday for three days. The highlight was supposed to be the Depeche Mode concert on Monday evening, unforgivably the show was cancelled. I didn’t mind the four hour coach drive, paying for a two day stay or the awful food that the hotel passed as breakfast, but what made me bloody angry was the lack of notice given and the disappointment felt by Tiiu as she had been looking forward to this for such a long time.
After swearing and cursing at everything and anything Latvian for a couple of hours I finally calmed down and tried to make the best of the rest of the trip.

Putting this fiasco aside, the trip did have some memorable and slightly odd moments, such as visiting the German WWI Zeppelin hangars which have since been converted into markets, where the strawberries were cheap, tasty and devoured along the sun kissed banks of the Daugava river.
I spent ninety minutes in a museum that seemed to pass in five, however to Tiiu (or perhaps I should say Una) it seemed like five hours, rather than minutes. I’m still thanking her for putting up with the visit, oh did I mention that it was a war museum?
I suppose that might explain the bored look on her face.

The weather was perfect, on the journey back we were upgraded to a luxury coach where I managed to pass the time studying Estonian. But the proverbial icing on the cake was when I was given a 20% discount on a new jacket. Ironically I pratically had to be forced into taking the discount.
You know the old story “when something seems to good to be true, its because it isn't true“ well this time it was true. A store card that gives 10% of everything , but on the day of purchase you receive 20%.
And the cost of this store card?
Two Lats, about three and half Euro.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Võitle Eesti Võitle

Võitle Eesti Võitle (Fight Estonia Fight)

That was the chant at this evening Under 19's football match between Estonia and Spain. Over the last few weeks I've been playing and watching more and more football, no longer am I just an armchair supporter. Recently I went to a top of the Estonian league clash between FC Flora and Viljandi. It wasn't exactly Premiership quality and there were nearly as many people on the field than there was watching, but it's all about meeting the locals and taking part in their way of life.

After all how can I complain about anything over here if I don't give it ago. This very reasoning part of my inspirations to learn Estonian, after all how can I criticise the Russia's minions living here, who refuse to learn the language if I do the very same?

But I digress.
Football Football Football, that is the topic of the day.

Tonight's match ended with Spain walking away with a 3 - 0 win. By half time it was clear that Estonia were never going to score, I knew this and so did the Spanish as they obviously lost interested as they went through the motions of the second half. However what kept improving was the fans interest not only in this game, but also football in general. Up to the final whistle the record crowd of 6.800 in the 8,000 seat stadium cheered on their team as if they had just qualified for the world cup.
Last Thursday it was Germany's turn to teach Estonia a proverbial lesson in football with a 5 - 0 win, but even then over a 5,000 people turned up, setting the previous record attendance until tonight.

With the disappearance of snow and the advent of good weather, indoor football was replaced with the outdoor game. Last Saturday I spent two and a half very fast hours playing on a school pitch. This morning should have been the same, but some drastic happened to change all that.
It Rained.
Okay that doesn't sound so dramatic when you are living in Ireland, butI have only seen rain on three brief occasions since I left thoseshores and todays shower seemed like a monsoon to my shocked mind. So I didn't venture out.
Next week I'm taking part in tourament, but more about that next week.

Oh yes there is that minor matter of the Champions league final on Wednesday, but surely MAn. Utd are going to win that as well.
Aren't they?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Long Time no Speak

For one reason or another I haven't blogged for nearly three weeks.

The most productive excuse were hours spent studying Estonian, sometimes for as much as eight hours a day.
Off course there were some less noteworthy excuses, namely the hours spent playing "Medieval Total War". Unproductive they may have been but I now have a first class understanding of twelfth century European geography, as my armies sacked Rome, looted Budapest and generally pillaged their way across Europe.

What I should have been talking about over these last few weeks were,
- The Eurovision Song Contents
- My Iomega multi-media drive (PC to TV)
- Playing outdoor football
- A boozy grilling party
- Cycling through forests
- A night at the museum (no, I don't mean the movie)
- The Watchmen and Star Trek
- Learning to cook really spicy food
- Armageddon
- The Ambassadors reception
- Becoming a citizen of Tallinn
- and the complete lack of rain.

Yes there is much to talk about, but it won't be today as I easing myself back into the blogging routine.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Best Book Ever?

"The Forgotten Soldier" by Gus Sajer

This book is excellent and questionably the best book that I've ever read. Perhaps I should stop reading altogether as there cant be anything out there to surpass it.

But what is in question, is should I review and revalue the scores I gave all my earlier books? Simply giving this book a perfect score of 10 out of 10 wouldn't be fair, as its predecessor's scored just one or two points less, yet they are by no means that close to this literary achievement.

Anyway now that you know that I loved this book, click on the BOOK REVIEW link on the right hand side to find out what this book is actually about.