Sunday Special – Estonia


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Cliffs at Saaremaa Island, Estonia – Photo credit: Margus6Varahommik ja Panga pankCC BY-SA 3.0

This small Baltic country of Estonia has history that goes back for centuries and centuries with a Finno-Ugric language ancestry.  Throughout these times the Estonian’s faced German, Danish, Swedish and Russian control. In 1918 they became an independent nation but were forced into the Soviet Union in 1940. 1989 they demanded independence and gained it officially in 1991, with much credit going to their peaceful Singing Revolution of the 1980s. In 2004 they joined the European Union and switched to the euro in 2011. Today it is a tourism hot spot with plenty to offer. 

  • Capital city of Tallinn boasts an outstanding Old Town which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Sight
  • Experience “White Nights” from May through July when the sun barely sets
  • Take in the Suur and Väike Taevaskoda (Small and Large Heaven’s Hall) along the Ahja River for some hiking and seeing some caves
  • The Lahemaa National Park on the northern coast is filled with beautiful landscape and perhaps you will see moose, foxes and other animals
  • The south’s Soomaa National Park showcases a primeval forest and quiet nature
  • Get your adrenaline flowing with activities such as repelling, rafting, ATV rentals, go-karting and even a precarious walk along the ledge of Tallinn’s TV Tower 
  • Visit any of Estonia’s plentiful islands, many just a quick ferry ride away
  • Take in all forms of popular music at any number of clubs offering rock, jazz, alternative, electronic and more. Music festivals are popular as well.
  • Admire the architecture of old in the many lighthouses, manor houses, churches, castles, and forts throughout the country
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Katariina Passage in Tallinn’s Old Town – Photo credit: -jkb-Tallinn Katariina KäikCC BY-SA 3.0

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Panorama of Tallinn’s walled Old Town – Photo credit: Ivar LeidusTallinn Toompea Upper Old Town 2013CC BY-SA 3.0 EE

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Sunday Special – Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Situated along the beautiful Neretva River lies Mostar, a city of cultural importance to the southern region of the Herzegovina area. Despite being one of the most heavily bombed cities in Bosnia during the Croate-Bozniak War, following the breakup of Yugoslavia, it has rebounded by rebuilding much of what was damaged. Today it is a popular destination for travellers (summer and fall mainly) and is said to have a festive and spirited vibe.

Among the most well-known and well-loved landmarks in Mostar is the Stari Most (The Old Bridge). In 1993 huge sections of it fell into the river during the war. Easily considered the heart of the city this 16th century Ottoman bridge was restored years later. Portions of it were even retrieved from the bottom of the Neretva. It is the pinnacle of the river and the pride of the city. It also is where Mostar Diving Club members gracefully dive 24 m/78.9 ft into the Neretva’s chilly 12C/53.6F waters.

Mostar’s Old Town is another popular area of the city. Admist the Medieval Ottoman style architecture that is prevalent you can find some pretty mosques and houses, such as the The Koski Mehmed pasa Mosque and The Biscevica House. And for something completely different and random, there is a Bruce Lee statue in the city as well.

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Stari Most (The Old Bridge) in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by Mark Ahsmann

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Interior of Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, Mostar – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Stephen Hense

Sunday Special – Timisoara, Romania


On my list of yet-to-visit locations is Romania and one of the places within this Eastern European country is the city of Timisoara in the west of the country. Nicknamed “Little Vienna” due to it’s architectural similarities it is a known for being a beautiful city with many gardens and squares, often filled with beautiful flowers. Historically dating back to the 1200s BCE, this city has been an area of importance through the centuries. It has a number of museums where you can learn its storied past. A pedestrian-only area in the city’s core, a mild climate, varied architectural designs plus shopping, food & nightlife makes this city a must-see. And I can not wait to see it!

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Fountain in Timisoara, Romania – Photo is Public Domain

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Union Square & Orthodox Church, Timisoara – Photo Credit: Taken and owned by Voytek S via Wikimedia Commons

SUNDAY’S SPECIAL SPOT – PRAGUE


I have been enamoured with the Czech city of Prague for many years. I love the blending of old and new – architecture and culture of time past in a world making fresh marks around it. Prague is no exception (from the photos I see). I look forward to the day I can view it with my own eyes.

Established well over 10 centuries ago, Prague is now a modern city of over 1.3 million inhabitants. A popular destination in Europe it boasts medieval architecture, old churches, modern skyscrapers, a diverse music scene, year-round festivals, deletable food and best of all – good ole Czech Republic beer! There is even a beer museum!

View of Old Town, Prague

View of Old Town, Prague

Some have gone as far as comparing Prague’s beauty to that of Paris. I guess I will just have to visit and decide for myself.

 

Photo credit – Wikimedia CommonsPetritap (own work)