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We went on a walking tour! You won’t believe what happened next! (by Alex)

by on July 11, 2017

(Did the headline make you want to read the blog?  It’s CLICKBAIT!)

Today we took a walking tour of Tallinn. Tallinn’s old town is divided into two sections. We started the tour in the lower town. This is where the commoners lived until relatively recently. We are staying in the lower town.

There is a very out of place statue called the ‘Freedom Statue.’ This statue is very controversial. This is because it is, let’s be honest, it is not the prettiest statue in the world.

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After some issues when building the statue (not accounting for the fact that Estonia is cold in the winter), it cost about €11,000,000. The Estonian tax payers loved this.

The square where the statue is has a sign that was advertising “EU 2017” and lots of European Union flags. Apparently, it is Estonia’s turn to be president of the European Union. (Side note, the website that they said to go to had a big banner saying, ‘Presented by BMW.’ I sense a potential conflict of interest.)

We then proceeded to see Parliament. Our guide told us about the Estonian ID card here. It has a chip, similar to a chip and pin card. You can buy a reader for your computer and then access everything you need online. Some examples are voting, managing companies, and even paying. It is also very secure. You need either multiple passwords (to avoid the situation of one password for everything in your life) or biometric authentication. You can also pay your taxes in about 90 seconds. Please don’t get jealous.

Estonia is also famous for their cybersecurity. The NATO Cybersecurity HQ is in Tallinn, along with being internationally recognized as one of the best places to find cybersecurity experts. They pride themselves on that, along with creating Skype (Denmark and Sweden also claim to have made Skype).

The parliament is a very beautiful light pink color on the top of one of the biggest hills.

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There is a Russian Orthodox church right across the street.

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We also went to one of the best viewing platforms in Tallinn. We could see both the old town and more modern areas.

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The guide told us a story about the tall white hotel in the distance that was the only place to stay when Estonia was under Soviet rule.  It was bugged by the KGB. Everyone, including foreigners, knew that the building was bugged. As a result, (apparently) someone ran out of toilet paper and said in a loud voice that they wisedh that they had more toilet paper. Five minutes later, there was toilet paper outside of her door. It is like an Amazon Echo but faster and free!

We finished our tour soon after and had lunch. We had some amazing pancakes (crepes). We got a meat and cheese and a chicken and cheese. I preferred the meat and cheese as it had less cheese than meat.

Of course, we also got an Apple Vanilla pancake, which was amazing.   But I won’t show a photo because it didn’t photograph very well.

We returned to our apartment, and got a fun surprise. We accidently bought ultra-sudsy dish soap as supposed to what we were supposed to get (Dad says it’s hard to know what you’re buying when it’s in Estonian), so there were suds everywhere.

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After that, we went to a museum about Estonia. I was underwhelmed. It is pretty new and they’re clearly trying to make it a super fun interactive museum. However, they asked questions with ‘answers’ that did not make sense.

There were a couple of cool artifacts, such as a letter from a pope, but I was underwhelmed overall. We also went to the city hall. I liked the rooms as they were not overly decorated.  [David:  The letter from the pope was an “indulgence” letter from about 1100 AD]

Unfortunately, I must go to bed now. This is what we did today.

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