In Tallinn, I went on the most interesting tour I’ve ever been on. It was as much theater as anything.
Organized through Blue Drum Tours, Olavi Andla, arrived to pick us up in an old Russian bus, dressed like a KGB officer.
Before we knew it, the bus wouldn’t work so some of the folks on the tour had to get out and push. Clearly fakes, but all in good fun. We learned about gas masks and ate funny little sausages that tasted like cardboard. Olavi said they were typical of the food he ate growing up.
He continued to play the part, exposing us in a very humorous way to what it was like when the Russians were in control of Tallinn. He truly made history come alive.
Tallinn is a small charming city on the Baltic Sea, originally a location for many summer homes for the wealthy people of St. Petersburg. It has a historic center city, now drawing tourists. It’s quite charming–not having been destroyed during wars.
I enjoyed seeing the historic town center along with a school in a very contemporary architecture, and, of course, an American presence. Interesting to see the McDonalds logo right by the entrance to the old city.
Our Blue Drum tour took us to a museum of a graveyard of Soviet statues.They were piled about randomly behind a museum, abandoned as the country moved beyond the days of the Soviet Union. These statues were removed from city parks and public spaces when the Estonians took back their country.
We also saw a ballroom where the KGB officers met to party and to receive awards.
Our host was a wonderful actor, playing his role of KGB officer in charge of us. He also talked about growing up in Russian Ruled community.
He said it was a “really big deal” when his Dad got a can of Coke. They saved it to share at Christmas. And he said, their language has no “future tense” because they didn’t believe they had a future.
They do now although a bit worried about recent Russian actions to retake former countries that were part of the USSR. The feeling was optimistic.
Blue Drum does a variety of kinds of events in several locations in this part of the world. If you get a chance to participate in one, I’d say, “Do it.” If our tour was any indication, you will enjoy yourself and learn about the history and culture of the area too.