I traveled to Estonia in July of 2008. Estonia is a former communist republic of the Soviet Union and a recent member of the European Union. The country is relatively small and food and other products can seem expensive. I spent most of my time in Tallinn, the countries capital. Tallinn is a beautiful city with a picturesque lower downtown. The country is doing quite well, seemingly recovering from it's tortured recent past. 

Estonia was first settled in 2,000 B.C. by a people closely related to the Finno-Ugrian language family. Estonia would be an independent nation until the 13th century A.D. In 1193 the Pope called for a crusade against the Baltics and the country was overrun by Danish and German knights by 1220. The situation oscillated many times until the Swedish kingdom took control of the majority of the country in 1561. Their rule lasted until 1710 when Estonia was given over to the Russian empire after Sweden lost to Russia in the Russo-Swedish War. Russia would rule the country until 1918 when Estonia regained it's independence during the Russian Revolution.

Freedom lasted until 1940 when the country was taken by the Soviet Union under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union. In the course of the war, Estonia fell under the occupation of Germany for three years. In 1944 Stalin retook the country, and it became part of the Soviet Union for the next fifty years. Estonia would not see independence again until 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed and the Cold War ended. Since the reestablishment of independence the nation has been rapidly transforming and adapting to the modern world. Today Estonia boasts the most successful economy of the former Soviet Baltic region.

Tallinn 2008

Tallinn's upper City

Tallinn's Lower City