This pretty, tiny country is one of the three small Baltic countries that Russia wants “back,” although these little nations are independent today, after being under Russian control for only a few years during WWII. Our cruise ship (where I was the “destination lecturer”) spent the day at harbor while we passengers flooded the streets of Estonia, eager to buy some of the embroidery, linens, and other items that caught our collective eyes.
I couldn’t resist taking a ride around town, and thanks to a very outspoken guide, our group saw the hated, large, multi-storied cement apartment buildings (Russia built them) and saw other structures which came in for unpleasant comment. We were assured that Estonia did not want Russian control to return.
Unspoken, was the message: hope for the U.S. and other friendly countries to prevent Russia from moving in. He then changed the subject to point out historic steeples, seaside attractions, and stores in which he thought we’d enjoy spending our travelers’ checks.
He was so perceptive. Prices were right, selections were plentiful, and the loveliness of embroidered tablecloths and napkins were irresistible. I treasure mine today, years later. On one similar trip with me, my daughter “bought out” the town, and wants to do a rerun, despite today’s concerns about Russian intent, perhaps à la the Ukraine.
This time, too soon, we were sailing west, to pick up the towns in Germany and France that we’d missed on the trip to Estonia. (You’ve probably noticed that ships often make port schedules so that there aren’t duplicate stops, yet everything gets “seen,” either going or coming back.)