Having been informed that the shops in Tallinn may not take dollars or euros, we dutifully got 200 Estonian Kroon and headed to shore. Our first purchase was a small trinket priced at 4 euro or 60 kroon. I handed the lady a 100 kroon note and she fumbled around a while looking for change and said “can I give you 35 kroon and the rest in dollars?”. Ok, I said. Upon which I received a handful of dimes and pennies. “That’s all the change I have” she said.
In the afternoon we met with three of the people involved in the Estonian Independence movement featured in the documentary “The Singing Revolution”, then headed to an outdoor cafe in the main square to sample the fine local beer, A. Le Coq.
Estonia has been around a while, first mentioned by Tacitus in his book Germanica in 98 AD. However, it’s always been under the control of others — Germans, Russians, Swedes, Poles, etc. until 1918 when it won independence after WW I. This only lasted until 1940 when the Russians moved in, then the Germans in 1942, then the Russians in 1944. The Russians finally left in 1991. The people here love their freedom and have done quite well economically. Estonia ranks #1 in the world in % of seats in national government held by women (47%), #4 in Freedom of the Press, and #12 in Economic Freedom.