I've spent a few days exploring the capital city of Estonia. The highlight is definitely the part of the city known as the Old Town, consisting of cobbled streets and winding alleyways. Its pretty touristy though, with souvenir shops everywhere one looks.
The other highlight was a visit to the Museum of Occupation. Estonia has been invaded many times over its history. Starting in the middle ages, Germans, Dutch, Poles, Swedes, and Russians have taken over the place. It was part of Tsarist Russia when the October Revolution took place in Russia in 1917 and Estonia enjoyed a brief phase of independence in the 1920s. However, in the late thirties the Russians took over again. The museum focuses on this occupation, the one by Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1944, and then the Russians again from 1945 until Estonia gained independence in 1991.
Judging by the museum, the first Russian occupation was a pretty nasty one with many people being taken away and tortured. Because of this, the Nazis were welcomed as liberators when they arrived. In fact, the museum gives a relatively rosy picture of the Nazi years which made me a bit uncomfortable. I guess its not a very nice position to be in: being ruled by Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany. Which is worse? Estonians were hoping the western democracies would come to their aid but that didn't happen. During the second Russian occupation, the policy of the Soviets was to try to 'Russify' the place, sending lots of Russians there and this policy has left its legacy: Russians are today a large minority in Estonia and there seems to be some resentment that they are there.
R.I.P. James Dean 30 September 1955.