Part of the charm of this country, (and its immediate neighbors, Latvia and Lithuania,) results from the odd circumstance of its history under domination by the Russians. During
that period, of all the Soviet republics, only those three had prior experience of independent statehood and Western style democracy. When the Soviet Union broke up, Estonia quickly privatized business,
restored the farms, and created a market economy like we have in the West. Americans are at once comfortable with the systems in place in Estonia, while simultaneously being charmed by what is obviously
Old World, Old European influences.
At the time of our visit, there was little to see, other than relics of a history Americans would not immediately recognize. We spent an afternoon in Tallinn, the capitol, meandering through dozens of little craft shops and boutiques. We bought two small, hand painted clowns, which sit on the coffee table
in our living room. Each time we pass those clowns we momentarily slip back to Estonia, enjoying, once again, the feeling of joy in a population who appreciates freedom in a way no people who have not
endured military domination can possibly understand.